We help our patients make informed decisions by discussing various hearing aid types.
At Cook Hearing and Balance, we have a patient-centered approach to hearing aid selection. During the process of selecting the best device, we educate our patients on all the different hearing aid types. This empowers our patients to make informed decisions and select the best choice for their individual needs.
Completely-in-Canal and Invisible-in-Canal (CIC and IIC)
CIC and IIC models are custom-made and fit deep in the ear canal, many times seeming to be “invisible”. While offering cosmetic advantages, these tiny devices have limitations, including shorter battery life, size restrictions due to ear anatomy, proneness to wax/moisture damage, and limited controls/functionality.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) models, also known as RITE (receiver-in-the-ear), are mini BTEs that have the receiver (speaker) of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RIC instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses and looks similar to the OTE when worn on the ear. This is the most common type of hearing aid.
In-The-Ear and In-The-Canal (ITE and ITC)
ITE and ITC models are custom-made from a molding of the wearer’s ears. They rest snugly in bowl of the outer ear. Larger than the IIC and CIC, there is more room in the shell for larger-lasting batteries, buttons to adjust volume and programming, and Bluetooth components. These are usually selected by people with a moderate-profound hearing loss.
Over-the-Ear (OTE)s are ‘mini-BTEs’ with ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as an ‘open fit hearing aid’ and is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids bear a resemblance to RICs, but they are significantly larger. They are usually for people with a more profound hearing loss. Instead of a receiver, the speaker is built in to the end of the hearing aid, and sound feeds through a clear tube and into a custom-fitted earmold.