Behind The Ear (BTE)
These include the larger power BTEs for profound loss and the smaller Receiver in the Canal (RIC/RITE) models. Battery sizes vary as do the sizes of the actual hearing aids.
- Can fit a larger battery for longer life and larger amplifiers for more severe hearing losses.
- Can often be fitted the same day as your hearing assessment.
- Some do not occlude (or fill up) the ear canal so sounds are more natural, particularly your own voice.
- Can be a good choice if you have dexterity concerns.
Made for a profound loss, these durable aids have a tube which connects to a custom mold that fits inside of the ear canal and allows the amplified sound to travel from the aid to your ear.
Receiver in the Canal (RIC)
These aids are a comfortable fit for most hearing loss. The more significant the loss, the larger the receiver that fits in the canal will be. Receivers can be covered with silicone domes or custom molds. Milder losses can be fit with an open dome, giving a more natural sound.
These aids are made to fit inside your ear canal. They also vary in size from the full shell that fills the concha (or bowl) of your ear down to the very tiny completely-in-the-canal aids that are hard to see. These too have varying battery sizes.
- Visible in the ear.
- Small sizes can make these a fairly discreet choice.
- Customized to fit inside your ear canal and requires a return visit.
- Small size could be an issue if you have dexterity challenges.
- The further into the canal these are fitted the more occlusion (blocked ear feeling) you may experience.
- Need to be cleaned of wax regularly.
The largest of the in the ear hearing devices boasts more features, more power and longer battery life as the pluses to this plus-size aid.
These are the smallest in the ear instruments. Most companies have the Nano style, which appears to be a shadow in your ear canal. The downside are less features, less power and shorter battery life, but they are very cosmetically correct.
Whenever a custom device is prescribed, whether it is a canal aid or an ear mold, an impression of the ear will need to be taken. The hearing healthcare professional will insert foam or cotton dams into your ears and then inject impression material that will harden in minutes. This impression will be sent to the manufacturer with the hearing instrument order.