There are lots of different types of hearing aids on the market, and understanding what technology they offer can be overwhelming! We put together this handy guide to help our patients understand the pros and cons of common types of hearing aids.

Receiver In The Canal (RIC) - Recommended by SoundBenefits

Benefits:
  • The smallest of the BTE (behind the ear) option: this style has a small case that sits on top of the ear with a thin receiver wire that fits down in the ear canal
  • Very discreet
  • Most comfortable fit: this “open fit” style allows for flexibility with jaw movement and lets sound waves travel through the ear canal naturally 
  • Can be programmed to produce enough amplification to accommodate mild to moderate hearing losses with the “Open Fit” earpiece or to accommodate severe hearing losses with a custom earpiece 
  • Most manufacturers offer a rechargeable option, eliminating the need to change batteries  
  • Can accommodate manual volume control and program button options if needed
  • Most manufacturers offer streaming media and smartphone connectivity
  • Do not need repair as frequently as other devices. If these hearing aids ever do stop functioning properly, your provider can repair quickly in the office.
Considerations:
  • Frequent cleaning of receivers is required

In our expert opinion, this style is the best on the market. They offer the widest range of features and the most comfortable fit – plus, they’re incredibly discreet. Both the SB1 and SBPro are RICs.


Invisible In The Canal (IIC)

Benefits:
  • Custom fit to your ear to sit deep in the ear canal
  • Smallest, least visible hearing aids on the market
  • Can be programmed for mild to moderate hearing losses   
Considerations:
  • Not a good option for people with small ear canals or dexterity issues
  • Smaller batteries require frequent changing 
  • Small size limits amplification power and technology options  
  • "Occlusion effect" is common: patients typically feel "plugged up" and like they are talking in a barrel, especially patients with mild hearing loss or normal hearing in the low frequencies  
  • Frequent cleaning is required 
  • Frequently needs repairs  
  • Requires a professional to make a custom mold of your ear canal
  • Because ears never stop growing, most hearing aids of this style must be remade after a few years to ensure proper fitting in the ear canal

Completely In The Canal (CIC)

Benefits:
  • Custom fit to your ear to sit right inside the ear canal   
  • Can be programmed for mild to moderate hearing losses
Considerations:
  • May be too small for those with moderate to severe dexterity issues   
  • Smaller batteries require frequent changing  
  • “Occlusion effect” is common: patients typically feel “plugged up” and like they are talking in a barrel, especially patients with mild hearing loss or normal hearing in the low frequencies 
  • Due to small size, higher end technology options may not be available
  • Frequent cleaning is required 
  • Frequently need repairs
  • Requires a professional to make a custom mold of your ear canal
  • Because ears never stop growing, most hearing aids of this style must be remade after a few years to ensure proper fitting in the ear canal

In The Canal (ITC)

Benefits:
  • Custom fit to your ears
  • A good option for people who do not want larger hearing aids but have dexterity issues that prevent them from using the smallest devices
  • Can produce enough amplification to accommodate most mild to severe hearing losses
  • Many manufacturers offer manual volume control and program button options
  • Some manufacturers offer streaming media and smartphone connectivity
  • Some manufacturers offer a rechargeable option in this style, eliminating the need to replace batteries frequently
Considerations:
  • Not as discreet as smaller styles
  • For non-rechargeable devices, the small batteries need frequent changing 
  • Frequent cleaning is required
  • Frequently need repairs
  • Requires a professional to make a custom mold of your ear canal
  • Because ears never stop growing, most hearing aids of this style must be remade after a few years to ensure proper fitting in the ear canal

In The Ear (ITE)

Benefits:
  • Custom fit to your ear
  • A good option for those who want in-the-ear hearing aids but have severe dexterity issues
  • Can be programmed to produce enough amplification to accommodate most moderate to severe hearing losses
  • Can accommodate manual volume control and program button options if needed
  • Some manufacturers offer streaming media and smartphone connectivity
  • Some manufacturers offer a rechargeable option in this style, eliminating the need to frequently replace batteries
  • If the ITE hearing aid wearer chooses to use batteries, the larger batteries do not require changing as frequently as the smaller batteries
Considerations:
  • These devices are not as discreet as smaller styles
  • The profile of these devices may cause the microphones to pick up more wind noise than other styles
  • Frequent cleaning is required
  • Frequently need repairs
  • Requires a professional to make a custom mold of your ear canal
  • Because ears never stop growing, most hearing aids of this style must be remade after a few years to ensure proper fitting in the ear canal

Behind The Ear (BTE)

Benefits:
  • All hearing aid components sit behind the ear with a tube connecting to a custom earmold sitting in the ear canal
  • The larger size of these devices makes them a good option for people with severe dexterity issues  
  • Can produce powerful amplification to accommodate severe hearing losses  
  • Most manufacturers offer a rechargeable option in this style, eliminating the need to frequently replace batteries
  • With battery option, this style uses larger batteries that do not require changing as frequently  
  • Can accommodate manual volume control and program button options if needed 
  • Most manufacturers offer streaming media and smartphone connectivity  
  • Very durable and easier for the wearer or caregiver to clean and maintain
  • This style reduces the risk of damage from earwax or moisture buildup
Considerations:
  • The size and placement may cause problems for those who wear protective equipment (safety goggles, helmets, etc.) or frequently wear hats and glasses 
  • Because ears never stop growing, most hearing aids of this style must be remade after a few years to ensure proper fitting in the ear canal