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Hearing Aid Styles 2017-09-25T18:46:38+00:00

There are several things to consider when deciding on what hearing aid style is best for you. Factors such as the shape and size of your ear canal, type and severity of hearing loss, vision, dexterity and goals. During your needs assessment we will go over all options that are available to you, reviewing why one style may be better than another. The important thing to know, is that there are several options. Hearing aids are NOT one size fits all!

Behind-the-ear (BTE)/Receiver-in-the-ear (RIC)

BTEs are fit behind the ear and are attached to a tube that connects to a custom earmold in the ear. BTEs are primarily fit on children and with high power hearing aids.

RICs have become the most common hearing instruments fit as they provide great flexibility and are barely noticeable on the ear. In the RIC style the small processor and battery sit behind the ear, a wire that attaches to the speaker runs down in front of the ear and the speaker sits in the ear canal either open (not form fitted) or customized to fit full in the ear canal. This provides exceptional flexibility for all levels of hearing. The open option of the RIC is ideal for patients with good hearing in the low pitches but needs amplification in the high pitches. If amplification is a need in the low pitches as well, a custom earmold is necessary for optimal benefit. The audiologist will inform you if an earmold is needed. Some hearing aid features may only be available in the RIC style (e.g., rechargeable batteries, wireless connectivity without an additional accessory).

Custom Hearing aids (In-the-Ear/ITE, In-the-Canal/ITC, Completely-in-the-Canal/CIC)

Custom hearing aid have all the components in the ear and nothing sits behind the ear. There are several sizes available from ones that fill the entire ear (ITE) to very tiny devices that sit deep in the ear canal and are not visible at all (IIC, see below). Custom hearing aids are a good option for those who have difficulty inserting the BTEs or RICs, for those who don’t want something behind-the-ear (uses oxygen, bulky glasses, or ear malformation). Custom devices may not be the best option for those with good hearing in the low pitches, an RIC may be the better option.

Invisibly-in-the-canal (IIC)

We love fitting these fun little devices at our clinic! They are ideal for those who don’t want any of the hearing instrument visible. Not everyone has the ideal ear canal for these, but they fit most well and comfortably. Custom hearing aids and earmolds are designed from an impression we take of your actual ear canal. The accuracy of your ear impression is essential to getting a comfortable fit and good acoustic (sound) fit. Ear impressions are taken after ensuring there is no wax in the ear, inserting a piece of cotton to protect the eardrum, followed by special material that when inserted is soft, but hardens quickly to provide a form of your ear canal. The procedure is painless. Custom devices should never be uncomfortable. It is essential to report any discomfort with the custom earpiece so that we can either modify it or remake it.

Custom hearing aids and earmolds are designed from an impression we take of your actual ear canal. The accuracy of your ear impression is essential to getting a comfortable fit and good acoustic (sound) fit. Ear impressions are taken after ensuring there is no wax in the ear, inserting a piece of cotton to protect the eardrum, followed by special material that when inserted is soft, but hardens quickly to provide a form of your ear canal. The procedure is painless. Custom devices should never be uncomfortable. It is essential to report any discomfort with the custom earpiece so that we can either modify it or remake it.

Again, it’s important to make this important decision with your audiologist, who has the experience with all of the styles. Also, most states allow for at least a 30-day trial period, which allows you to make an exchange in that time if you decide you don’t like the original style that you chose. Minnesota requires a 45-day trial period. We allow 60-days.

 

Hearing Aid Manufactures We Carry