Hearing Aids : Styles

Hearing aid types typically fall into one of four main classifications:-

In the ear hearing aid

In The Ear (ITE)

1. ITE’s come in a wide range of sizes from a Full Shell which completely fill the bowl area of the ear (known as the Concha), gradually getting smaller to Half Shells down to completely in the canal CIC’s and finally more recently deep fits or Invisible in The Canal (IIC’s). Developments in the technology now mean that very powerful devices can now be made smaller than ever.

Oticon Intiga

Unitron RITE

RITE (Receiver in the ear)

2. RITE’s/RIC’s are a development of the traditional BTE’s and are one of the most popular fitting options because of their cosmetic appeal and comfort for the wearer. These devices use either a thin tube to deliver the sound to a dome that sits in the ear canal or a custom tip moulded to a clients ear canal, the most modern of this genre utilise a small electrical wire to deliver an acoustic signal to a speaker unit directly in the ear canal again using either a soft dome or a custom made tip.

Oticon DesignRITE

Unitron BTE

BTE (Behind the ear)

3. BTE's are the traditional face of hearing aids and were among the first units widely produced and they still typically provide the greatest power output.

As the name suggests these devices sit behind the ear and the amplified sound is delivered to the ear canal via a sound tube connected to a custom made ear mould.

Oticon Mini BTE

4. Specialist e.g. :
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Bone/Air Conduction Glasses for alternative sound delivery options
Bi-Cross and Cross for single sided/asymetrical hearing problems
Bone Conduction Aids for when air conduction sound delivery is not viable

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Within all of these categories there are an ever growing number of designs for hearing aids as the various manufacturers apply their own cosmetic stamp and style.
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Whilst personal preferences will always be taken into account when recommending a particular type and style of hearing aid, sometimes there will be influencing factors which can have a direct bearing on the most suitable device:-

  • Type and severity of loss
  • Physiology issues affecting choice of fitting
  • Dexterity considerations (the smaller – the more ‘fiddly’)

Remember, your Hearing Aid Audiologist is there to assist you in making the most appropriate choice according to your needs and requirements.

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