Broomfield • Brighton • Golden

Denver Hearing Aids

Hearing and Hearing Loss Issues & Problems

Broomfield • Golden • Brighton • Colorado

Hearing Aid Styles

A wide range of technology and a host of features are available in each hearing aid style. The cost of hearing aids generally depends on the technology and the number of features the instrument has and not necessarily on the style selected. Today’s digital hearing aids are typically offered in various levels, such as basic, entry, advanced or premium level. Within each level, different technology and features are available.

Basic digital hearing aids generally require the wearer to make some manual adjustments in certain listening environments, such as turning a volume control up or down, or pushing a button to change listening programs. In contrast, a premium or more advanced hearing aid responds automatically to changes in the listener’s environment, making changes based on the signals being detected by the hearing aid. The hearing aid wearer is not required to make any manual changes. As the level of the technology increases in hearing aids, so does the availability of advanced features. Examples of some of the advanced features found in today’s digital hearing aids are shown below.

There is a wide range of styles and features available in today’s hearing aids. When choosing the hearing solution that is best for each patient there are several things that must be considered:

Hearing Loss – The degree of hearing loss that is present and the power needs appropriate for treatment.

Fit – Which style of hearing aids will fit securely and be cosmetically appealing.

Feel – Considerations for the patient’s visual acuity and manual dexterity for use and care of the hearing devices.

Features – Hearing aids can offer a wide variety of automatic features and accessories for making adjustments to settings to provide each patient with the solution that works best for their needs.  These features include Bluetooth connectivity for phone and TV, rechargeable batteries, and remote controls.

Styles of Hearing Aids

Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the internal components. Many of today’s hearing aids are considered sleek, compact and innovative – offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid wearers.

Custom Fit Devices:

Hearing aids worn in the ear are usually custom-fit, based on a cast or impression of the ear. They’re available in different skin tones to camouflage with the outer ear. There are several styles – each is listed below, ranging from smallest to largest.

Invisible In The Canal (IIC)

This is the smallest of custom made devices.  They fit deep in the ear canal and are invisible from the outside of the ear.  These devices are most appropriate for a mild to moderate hearing loss.

Completely in the Canal (CIC)

This small custom device fits completely into the ear.  This hearing aid style is most appropriate for a mild to moderate hearing loss.

In the Canal (ITC)

This custom hearing aid style is molded to fit in the lower portion of the outer ear.  It is an excellent choice for individuals with visual and dexterity challenges because the components are slightly larger and are easier to handle.  Also with the increase in space, components such as directional microphones can be used to improve speech understanding in noisy environments.  These devices can be fit on hearing losses that range from mild to severe.

Full Shell or In the Ear (ITE)

This custom hearing device is the largest of the custom molded solutions.  It is molded to fill the outer ear opening.  Due to the increased size, this solution allows for a larger battery and more manual controls that can be adjusted by the patient.  This style can be fit on hearing losses ranging from mild to severe.

Behind-the-Ear Styles: BTE

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing that routes sounds down into the ear that connects to an ear tip or earmold to secure them in the ear canal. BTEs come in colors to blend with hair or skin tones, and even chrome colors to suit personal styles. Different BTE sizes accommodate different features, controls, battery types and degrees of power (larger instruments generally have more power than smaller ones). While many people choose discreet BTEs that are unnoticeable when worn, others are tempted to show off the cool designs.

Mini BTE with slim tube and tip

Mini BTEs are designed to hide behind the outer ear and have ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as “open fitting” and is recommended for mild-to-moderate high frequency losses.

Receiver in Canal (RIC)

This style of device is fit over the ear with the speaker of the instrument placed into the ear canal and coupled with a dome or an ear mold. This style of device is very discreet and allows for the ear canal to remain open and sound quality to be more natural.  This style of hearing aid is appropriate for mild to moderate high frequency losses.

BTE with Custom Earmold

BTEs with earmolds fit the largest range of hearing losses.  Since the hearing aid processor is worn behind the ear, the size and power options available are greater.  A custom mold allows for the sound to be carried into the canal without the risk of feedback.  This style of hearing aid is most appropriate for moderate to profound hearing losses.

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