What comes to mind when you picture a hearing device? Many people still think of the large, clunky, attention-grabbing hearing aids of the past. Thankfully, more than just the technology has advanced.
You might have heard that some hearing aid styles are better for certain types of hearing loss, or maybe you’ve seen certain styles that are more invisible than others. Today’s hearing aids are stylish and discreet as well as comfortable and functional.
You’ll encounter a lot of options online and in the clinic, not to mention a few unfamiliar acronyms. Here’s a quick overview of the styles to help you get started.
There are three main categories of hearing aid device:
1. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing devices
All of the electronics on this style sit behind the ear with a tube that extends over the ear to an ear piece sitting partway in the ear canal.
What to consider
- BTEs are often the traditional choice for people with severe to profound hearing loss because they can offer more power.
- Their larger size has room for more features and larger, longer-lasting batteries.
- Some people find them easier to handle and adjust.
- The microphone and speaker are safely away from earwax, making the device more durable and reducing the need for service appointments.
BTEs used to be the largest of the hearing aid styles, but today’s models offer sleeker designs and a comfortable fit.
2. Receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing devices
There are many good reasons RIC is the most popular hearing aid style. RICs have most of their electronics and their power supply in a small part that sits behind or on top of the ear with a thin wire connecting to a receiver (speaker) in the ear canal.
What to consider
- Smaller and lighter than many BTEs, this style of hearing aid still has room for features and rechargeable batteries.
- RICs can accommodate a wide range of hearing losses from mild to severe, and can be fit with many dome and ear tip options.
- Like some BTEs, you can take home RICs right from your first appointment.
- Because the receiver can be detached, it can often be replaced right in the clinic – no need to send it off for repairs.
The MoxiTM Move R packs a lot of features into Unitron’s smallest ever rechargeable RIC. The lithium-ion battery can go all day on a single charge, and the hearing aids are as easy to charge as your other devices. They can also be paired with up to two phones and Unitron’s TV Connector, seamlessly connecting with your favorite tech.
3. In-the-ear (ITE) hearing devices
Barely there and among the smallest styles, these hearing aids are just one piece and sit inside the ear. They come in different sizes including full shell (the largest), half shell, in-the-canal (ITC) and the smallest invisible-in-canal (IIC).
What to consider
- ITEs are the smallest style and don’t require anything worn behind the ear.
- They’re custom made to fit each person’s unique ear shape and will take some time to create.
- Comfort is important because the ITEs fill the ear or ear canal.
While ITEs’ smaller size sometimes means smaller batteries and fewer options. The latest ITE’s offer great sound performance as well as features that fit into your digital life. For instance, wireless connectivity lets you connect your hearing aid to your choice of mobile phone thanks to Bluetooth capabilities. You can also stream your favourite podcasts and videos right to your hearing aids, just as you can with BTEs and RICs.
Get expert advice
With all of these options available at Noosa Hearing there’s a model and style to suit every hearing loss and lifestyle.
“In the past, the severity of an individual’s hearing loss was the main consideration for which model to use. While it still plays a role today, most behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, and in-the-ear devices can be made appropriate for most people with hearing aids,” says Douglas Baldwin, doctor of audiology and Senior Training Manager at Unitron. “These days, the decision is more related to lifestyle and personal preferences.”
There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for hearing aids, but there’s no need to make this decision alone. Our audiologist can assess your hearing and work with you to find the right style and model to suit your preferences and lifestyle. You can even try before you buy to make sure you have the best fit.
Ready to start?