ITE and CIC hearing aids are custom-made to fit within your ear canal. As the name suggests, the CIC hearing aid is almost entirely nestled inside the canal, making it nearly invisible, while the ITE hearing aid fills the outer entrance of your ear.
- Discreetness: Both styles offer a discreet hearing aid solution. Particularly, the CIC hearing aid is often touted as the invisible hearing aid due to its deep placement.
- Natural sound quality: Their placement can make use of the ear's natural shape to collect sound.
- Ease of use: With all components housed within the ear, there are no external tubes or wires, making them straightforward to insert and remove.
- Reduced wind noise: Their position inside the ear canal shields them from a lot of external wind noise.
- Comfort: Since they're custom-molded to the individual's ear canal, many users find them very comfortable for daily wear.
- Battery life: The smaller size, particularly of CIC styles, can limit battery size and, therefore, battery life.
- Maintenance: Due to their positioning within the ear, they're more exposed to earwax and moisture, which can lead to more frequent maintenance and cleaning.
- Limited power: They may not always be suitable for profound hearing loss due to size constraints limiting the amplification power.
- Feedback: Their proximity to the eardrum can sometimes make them prone to feedback if not fitted correctly.
- Price: Often, the miniaturisation and customisation required for CIC aids can make them pricier than some other models.
BTE hearing aids sit comfortably behind your ear with a tube that directs sound into the ear canal. RIC hearing aids, a more recent design, have the speaker built into the ear tip instead of the main body of the hearing aid.
As this style allows the ear canal to remain open, natural sound can enter the ear, and only the frequencies you struggle with are amplified
- Natural sound: Since the ear canal isn't entirely blocked, users often experience a more natural sound quality. This design is especially beneficial for those who have normal to slight hearing loss in the lower frequencies but require amplification in the higher frequencies.
- Connectivity: Modern RIC hearing aids can come with advanced features like Bluetooth connectivity.
- Reduced occlusion effect: The open design prevents the "head in a barrel" sensation that some people experience with other hearing aid styles. This means your own voice sounds more natural, and there's less of that echoey feeling.
- Comfort: The open design often feels lighter and less intrusive, making it comfortable for prolonged wear.
- Ventilation: By not blocking the ear canal completely, there's better air circulation, reducing issues like earwax accumulation or moisture.
- Flexibility: Their design allows for a more significant range of fit and can be adapted to most types of hearing loss.
- Visibility: Although the design has evolved over the years, making them barely noticeable, the tube is on the outside of the ear, which can be a concern for those who desire complete discretion.
- Moisture and sweat: Due to their external placement, they may be more exposed to moisture and sweat, potentially affecting longevity and performance.
- Wind noise: Being positioned outside the ear can sometimes make BTE devices more susceptible to wind noise.
- Size: For those with dexterity issues, while larger aids might be easier to handle, they might also feel more cumbersome or heavy on the ear.
When selecting a hearing aid, it's not just about the device's features but also about how it fits into your lifestyle:
If you have an active lifestyle and you're often outdoors or engaging in physical activity, BTE or RIC styles might be more durable and comfortable.
If you're attending many social functions or meetings and wish for a discreet option, ITE or CIC styles could be preferable.
Those who wish to connect their hearing aids to smartphones or other devices might find RIC hearing aids with connectivity options to be beneficial.
Choosing the right hearing aid style is a blend of your hearing needs, aesthetic preferences, and daily activities.
It’s always best to consult with a hearing professional to get personalised advice on the right hearing aid for your level of hearing loss and lifestyle.
Consult with a professional, like those at Connect Hearing, to find a style tailored for you. Whether you opt for an ITE, CIC, BTE, RIC, or another model, the ultimate goal is clearer, more enjoyable hearing. Book an appointment
for a free hearing test today.