There are several available designs and types of hearing aids to fit the various types of hearing loss.
They vary in size, placement, and sound amplification.
People with mild hearing loss are candidates for a CIC hearing aid.1 They’re an attractive option because they are small and less visible, as they are molded to fit inside the ear canal. CIC hearing aids are the least likely to pick up excess noise like wind, but they do not contain extra features that other types of aids have, such as volume control or a directional microphone due to their small size.
This type of hearing aid is molded and fits partly in the ear canal, specifically the outer ear bowl. The larger size of ITC hearing aids enables them to house batteries for longer battery life, which helps people with wider ranges of hearing loss.2 In addition, this style includes features, such as directional microphones and manual controls for volume, that will not fit on smaller CIC hearing aids.
In-the-ear hearing aids can be tailored into two styles, full shell and half shell, and are a great option for people with moderate to severe hearing loss. Since it's larger in size compared to canal aids, it makes it easier to handle.3 The larger size also enables larger battery and a longer battery life as well as the ability to include volume control features.
This type of hearing aid is a variation of the BTE hearing aid, but it is smaller, thinner and less visible.4 It enables lower-frequency sounds to enter the ear and higher frequency sounds to be amplified. Due to its smaller, thinner style it doesn’t block the ear canal.5 Sounds entering the ear tend to be heard more naturally and the device fits more comfortably in the ear. Open-fit hearing aids are a great option for those with mild to moderate high-frequency hearing loss since they don’t amplify low-frequency sounds that an individual is already able to hear; it only amplifies the higher-frequency sounds people are unable to decipher.
Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids are very similar to BTE hearing aids.4 The external component of the hearing aid remains behind the ear, however, a tiny wire connects to the speaker as opposed to a tube and the speaker is inside the ear rather than behind it. This feature makes RITE hearing aids less visible than BTE hearing aids. They are best for people with mild to severe hearing losses.
1Evelyn Venn-Davies, Au.D., Ph.D. of the University of Minnesota, 2Mandy Mroz, Au.D., and Susanne Jones, BC-HIS, of Healthy Hearing, 3The American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), 4The Mayo Clinic, 5Better Hearing of Austin
While hearing aids are a great first step in treating hearing loss, there are some real-life gaps between needing to hear 24/7 in every situation and managing the care of an external device.
If you identify with any of the frustrations below it may be worth exploring implanted options
Envoy Medical’s fully-implanted Esteem® active middle ear implant is the world's first and only FDA-approved completely internal hearing device designed to improve hearing of adults diagnosed with moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. The Esteem hearing implant is invisible and offers true 24/7 hearing, removing many limitations of hearing aid.