There are six major styles of hearing aids. When selecting a style, it is important to weigh its aesthetic appeal with the additional features the hearing aid can contain.
Completely in the canal (CIC)
This is the smallest style of hearing aid. It sits completely in the canal and is practically invisible. Since it sits within the canal it is less likely to pick up wind noises but is susceptible to earwax clogging up the speaker. Since this device is so small it does not have any room for additional features and uses the smallest sized battery. The smaller the battery the shorter the battery life. This style works for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In the canal (ITC)
This style is slightly larger than the CIC style and sits partially in the ear canal and partially outside of it. It is able to contain a limited amount of additional features and a slightly larger battery than the CIC. As with the CIC, this style is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker. This style works for adults with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In the ear (ITE)
This model can come in one of two styles, one that takes up the entire outer ear (full shell) or one that takes up only half of it (half shell). Since this style is larger and sits outside the ear it can contain more additional features, has a larger battery and is no longer protected from picking up background noise like wind. This style is appropriate for all ages with mild to severe hearing loss.
Behind the ear (BTE)
This is the largest style, which has the longest battery life and contains the most additional features. This style contains two parts; one piece that sits within the ear canal and one that sits behind the ear. These parts are connected with tubing. This style is ideal for patients of all ages with almost any type of hearing loss.
Receiver in the canal (RIC)
This style of hearing aid is very similar to the BTE, except instead of connecting the two parts with tubing they are connected with a thin wire. This makes a slightly less noticeable hearing aid with the same length of battery life and amount of additional features.
This style of hearing aid consists of two parts like the RIC model. The part that sits within the ear canal does not block it. This enables low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally, while high-frequency sounds are still processed through the hearing aid. This style works well for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.