Once your audiologist diagnoses you with hearing loss, the next step is to select a hearing aid. There are a wide variety of manufacturers, styles and colors to choose from, so the options can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, your audiologist is there to help you every step of the way. Below is an overview of the pros and cons of common hearing aid styles to help you get started.
Invisible in the Canal (IIC) and Completely in the Canal (CIC)
IICs and CICs are similar in that they are worn deep in the ear canal. IICs are worn so deeply they must be removed by tugging a pull-out string, while CICs are a bit shallower and can be removed with just the fingers.
- These styles are very discreet
- Offer good sound quality due to how they fit in the ear
- Susceptible to earwax impaction and moisture damage
- Small size can be an issue for wearers with poor dexterity
- Small size can also cause issues with connectivity to wireless devices
In the Canal (ITC)
ITCs sit in the lower portion of the ear bowl and are slightly larger and more visible than IICs and CICs.
- Still a fairly discreet style option
- Offer longer battery life and more features than IICs and CICs
- Also susceptible to earwax impaction and moisture damage
- Can cause plugged up feeling (more occlusion)
- Small size can cause connectivity issues
Low-profile devices are available in half-shell designs, which fill half the bowl of the outer ear, or full-shell designs, which fill the entire outer ear bowl.
- Larger size makes insertion and removal easier
- Accommodates more features like manual controls
- Can better connect to wireless devices
- Not very discreet
- More occlusion
Behind the Ear (BTE)
BTEs sit behind or on top of the outer ear with tubing that funnels sound into the ear canal.
- Suitable for all degrees of hearing loss
- Ideal for children, as earmolds can be replaced easily as they grow
- Usually offers wireless connectivity
- May be rechargeable
- Less susceptible to earwax and moisture damage
- More occlusion
- Space limitations for glasses wearers
- Not as hidden as other models
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Augusta ENT today.