What are the different types of hearing aids?

Hearing aids vary a great deal in price, size, special features, how they are placed in the ear and how visible they are when you wear them. Here you will find an overview of all types of hearing aids.

Ready to improve your hearing but not sure what type of hearing aid is best for you? You’ve come to the right place. This quick guide breaks down the basics of hearing aid types and the factors you should consider when choosing the right hearing aid for you.

 

There are many in-the-ear hearing aid types available. They all fit directly in the ear so it is important to get the right shape and fit for optimum comfort and sound quality. In the ear hearing aids are custom-made to you so they fit your ear perfectly.

These types of hearing aids are suitable for nearly all types of hearing loss. As there are no external wires or tubes, these devices can be more discreet

There are five types of in-the-ear hearing aids, ranging from the invisible-in-canal to the full-shell type of hearing aid. The smallest style is completely hidden inside the canal of the ear. The largest fits completely inside the outer bowl of the ear, with a small portion extending into the ear canal to direct sound.

Features and benefits

  • Discreet and less noticeable than other hearing aid types

  • May be easier to handle

  • Can accommodate telecoil, volume control and other extra features

  • May be more susceptible to wind noise and damage from earwax and moisture in the ear


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  • Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids

     

    These types of hearing aids (IIC) are the smallest hearing aids available.

    They offer the ultimate discretion as they are custom-made to fit inside your ear canal
    making them almost, if not completely invisible. Tiny cords are fit into this type of hearing aid
    so you can insert and remove them easily.

    These hearing aid types usually adapt automatically to the sound environment so there is no need to touch them or adjust settings throughout the day. People with limited dexterity may find these types of hearing aids difficult to adjust and remove because they are so small but this style is popular with people who prefer a more discreet type of hearing aid.

    Due to the positioning of this hearing aid type, they can be vulnerable to earwax and moisture build up, so it is important to ensure there is adequate ventilation when they are used.

    The IIC hearing aid style is helpful for people with mild to severe hearing loss.

    Speak with one of our hearing care professionals for more guidance on IIC hearing aids

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

  • Completely in-the-ear hearing aids

     

    cic-bc-380x380This type of hearing aid (CIC) is the smallest aid available before the invisible-in-the-canal hearing aid was introduced.

    The completely-in-the-canal hearing aid styles are custom-designed to fit discreetly just inside the ear canal. Most CIC hearing aid types are invisible to people you encounter throughout the day. The slightly larger size accommodates an optional button that allows you to manually control settings for different environments. The only thing visible to the eye is normally the face plate and battery drawer.

    Due to the positioning of this hearing aid type, they can also be vulnerable to earwax and moisture so it is important to ensure there is adequate ventilation when they are used.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on CIC hearing aids.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

     
  • In-the-canal hearing aids

     

    This type of hearing aid (ITC) is slightly larger than completely-in-the-canal hearing aids. itc-na-380x380

    They fit the lower third of your external ear and are custom made. This hearing aid type has a slightly longer
    battery life as it can house a slightly larger battery.

    They are still discreet, however if you are looking for almost complete discretion it is advised to
    look at the completely-in-the-canal and invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids types.

    These types of hearing aids are easy to insert and remove and are a great choice for push button controls.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on CIC hearing aids.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

     
  • In-the-ear half shell hearing aids

    The in-the-ear half shell hearing aid (ITE half shell) type is designed to fit half of your external ear. ite-hs-pt-380x380

    The shell of the hearing aid is made to fit the shape of your ear. Depending on the size of your ear, these types of hearing aids can be relatively discreet.

    The half shell hearing aids have a longer battery life than the in-the-canal hearing aids because they
    are slightly larger. They are suitable for anyone with profound hearing loss and are a good option if
    you want an easy-to-handle device.

    Due to their slightly larger size, ITE hearing aids can additional features from the in-the canal,
    completely-in-the canal and invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on half shell hearing aids.
    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

    The in-the-ear half shell hearing aid style is designed to fit half of your external ear.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

  • In-the-ear full shell hearing aids

    ite-fs-rc-380x380The full shell hearing aid (ITE full shell) type is designed to fit all-of your external ear. These types of hearing aids are the largest of the custom hearing aids. The shell of the hearing aid is made to fit the shape of your ear. Depending on the size of your ear, these types of aids can still be relatively discreet.

    The full shell hearing aids have a longer battery life than the in-the-canal hearing aids because they are slightly larger. They are suitable for anyone with profound hearing loss and are a good option if you want an easy-to-handle device.

    Due to their slightly larger size, full shell hearing aids can additional features from the in-the canal, completely-in-the canal and invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on full shell hearing aids.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

These types of hearing aids are perfect for users with a more severe hearing loss or smaller ear canals. All the components in these types of hearing aids are housed behind the ear with a clear tube that connects the hearing aid to an earpiece that fits in your ear canal.

These types of hearing aids are a lot sleeker and slimmer than older, more traditional models and are great for people with less dexterity or visual impairment. While they are still also very discreet, they are not invisible, but they are powerful.

With this type of hearing aid, you can choose the colour of the housing from a range that you prefer.

There are three types of hearing aids that sit behind the ear, BTE, RIC/RITE and Open Fit. Below you will find an overview of each style.

Features and benefits

  • Is capable of more amplification than other hearing aid types and has a larger battery life

  • Some users find them more comfortable as they do not fit deep within the ear

  • Less vulnerable to moisture and wax build up

  • Some models come with rechargeable batteries


View our Oticon Opn Hearing Aid

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  • Receiver-in-the-ear

    Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid types are much smaller than traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids. These types of hearing aids are referred to as RITE and sometimes as RIC.  

    This type of hearing aid sits discreetly behind the ear and is connected by a thin wire with a speaker or receiver placed inside the opening of the ear canal for improved sound quality.

    They are less noticeable than more traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids but are also vulnerable to moisture and earwax build-up (since the receiver sits in the ear canal). However, the receiver is exchangeable, so it can be exchanged at a hearing clinic quickly and easily. 

    We advise you to speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on RIC and RITE hearing aid types.

    Read more about behind-the-ear hearing aids

     

  • Behind-the-ear hearing aids

    bte-sa-380x380-(1)This type of hearing aid (BTE) fits discreetly behind the ear. A thin, clear tube connects this hearing aid type to an earmold that fits inside the outer ear. BTE hearing aids are robust and easy to repair. They are suitable for all types of hearing loss and ear sizes since the custom earmold can be replaced if needed when the ear grows.

    The larger size accommodates more features. Telecoil, volume and program controls are easy to manipulate, and the larger battery size provides more power.

    The BTE hearing aid type is the most versatile.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on BTE hearing aids.

    Read more about behind-the-ear hearing aids

     

  • Open-fit hearing aids

    Similar to the receiver-in-the-ear type of hearing aid, open-fit hearing aids sit behind the ear and are connected by a tube, that directs the amplified sound down into the ear canal.

    Open fit hearing aids keep the ear canal open, so sound enters the ear more naturally. This allows you to hear background noises more easily, while clearly hearing the sounds that you need to hear (such as voices) through the hearing aid. 

    Sometimes these models are available with convenient rechargeable batteries.

    These types of hearing aids do not require an ear mold.

    Read more about behind-the-ear hearing aids

     

     

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Do you suspect that you might have hearing loss? Then it’s probably a good idea to get your hearing tested. Just fill out your name and contact info, so we can set up an appointment. It’s completely free, and you are not required to purchase any products.

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What to consider when choosing a hearing aid?

1. Talk to an expert about hearing aids
Choosing the right hearing aid type can be complicated. There are several factors to consider, and it is always best to get the advice from an expert. An audiologist has vast knowledge of the different types of hearing loss and is qualified to recommend the best hearing aid type for your individual hearing loss and needs.

The process of choosing the right hearing aid starts with measuring your hearing loss with a hearing test.

Tip!
Choose a hearing clinic with qualified audiologists who can provide expert advice based on your specific needs. A specialised hearing clinic will have several hearing aid types and brands so you can find the optimal solution for you.

Click Here to Book a Free Hearing Test

2. Reduce background noise
Hearing aids with background noise reduction assist the user in situations that are noisy. It reduces the volume of loud background noises, making it easier for the user to hear important sounds like speech.

All hearing aids have some amount of noise reduction available. The amount of noise reduction varies from model to model.

3. No more feedback noise
Hearing aid 'feedback' is an annoying, high-pitched sound. It can occur when sound coming from the hearing aid speaker goes back into the hearing aid microphone and is amplified again. This process causes feedback to occur. Historically, hearing aid users have suffered from these uncomfortable feedback noises. However, the latest types of hearing aids have dramatically improved feedback issues. 

Read More About Oticon Opn S

4. Rechargeable hearing aids oticon_opn_rechargeable_hearing_aids
Some hearing aids offer the convenience of rechargeable batteries. An easy overnight charge allows for hassle-free maintenance by eliminating the need to regularly replace batteries.

Having a rechargeable type of hearing aid removes the inconvenience of having to change batteries, which is a benefit to all, especially those with lower dexterity.

5. Hearing aids with 360 degree hearing ability

Hearing technology has developed dramatically in recent years. There is a new type of hearing aid that changes the way hearing aids work. Instead of only picking up sound from straight ahead, they deliver the entire 360-degree sound environment to your brain – reducing the effort it takes you to listen - which can also reduce fatigue.

Read about Oticon Opn Hearing Aids

You can speak to an audiologist who will listen to your requirements and provide the information you need to make the right decision for you.

6. Hearing aid types that fit your hearing loss
If you suspect that you might have a hearing loss then it’s a good idea to schedule a hearing test. A hearing test will reveal the severity of your hearing loss and what types of hearing aids that suits your needs.

You are welcome to fill out your name and contact info, so we can set up an appointment at a hearing clinic close to you. The hearing test takes approximately one hour, and you will have the chance to ask as many questions as you need and even try some of the hearing aid technology.

Book a Free Hearing Test at One of Our Clinics

intro-treating-hearing-loss-the-interview 

7. Connect your hearing aid to a Bluetooth device 
If you choose a hearing aid with Bluetooth, then you can connect it to your TV so that you can hear the TV audio directly in your hearing aid. This means that you get the sound directly in your hearing aid so that it is easier to hear.

It is also possible to connect a hearing aid to other Bluetooth devices, such as mobile phones and music players. If your type of hearing aid has a connectivity feature and you have an iPhone, then your hearing aids can double as a wireless headset, so that you can listen to music and have a hands-free phone conversation. 

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