Hearing loss is not created equally. As expected, hearing aids aren’t made equally either. While they all provide the ability to hear better or more clearly, hearing aids differ in many ways, such as size, function, fit and utilization.

The type of hearing aid someone chooses is largely determined by an individual’s age and lifestyle.  There are six common types of hearing aids that individuals can choose from.

Types of hearing aids include:

  • Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids: IIC hearing aids are custom-fit to the individual. These aids are inserted deeper into the ear than other styles, so depending on the shape and size of the ear canal, the devices seem more “invisible” when worn. People with mild to moderate hearing loss are good candidates for IIC aids.
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC) devices: Like IIC devices, CIC aids are custom-made devices. The CIC hearing aid fits entirely inside the ear canal except for a small, plastic grip or handle that enables the wearer to insert and remove the hearing aid. People with mild to moderate hearing loss are good candidates for these aids.
  • In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids: Like IIC and CIC aids, ITC aids fit inside the ear canal. Unlike the prior two types of devices, only a small portion of these custom-made aids show in the outer ear. Individuals with mild to mildly severe hearing loss are good candidates for ITC hearing aids.
  • In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids: ITE aids fit within the outer portion of the ear. Individuals with mild to severe hearing loss are good candidates for these custom made hearing aids.
  • Receiver-in-canal (RIC) devices: Just like the IIC devices, RIC aids are also nearly invisible when worn. With these aids, the receiver, or speaker, sits inside the ear canal for a comfortable open fit. Individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss are good candidates for these hearing aids.
  • Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids: BTE devices are likely the most common types of hearing aids. BTE devices are custom-made and inserted into the ear canal.

Which hearing aid is right for me?

Your hearing healthcare professional or audiologist will be able to help you determine the best hearing aid for your type and degree of hearing loss. He or she will also want to understand your lifestyle, as each type of hearing aid provides different benefits for more active people. Additionally, it is important to factor cost into the decision, as most hearing aids aren’t covered by insurance.