Canal Hearing Aids: CIC & ITC
CIC stands for completely-in-the-canal hearing aids, while ITC stands simply for in-the-canal hearing aids. Both are custom made for the wearer; the difference is that the CIC hearing aids are the smallest and least noticeable, as they are almost entirely concealed within the ear canal. ITC hearing aids are slightly bigger and more visible, but still mostly housed inside the ear canal.
CIC and ITC hearing aids are recommended for people with mild to moderate hearing loss, but not for children or people with severe hearing loss. Their small size means they are not as powerful and can be difficult to adjust, remove and insert. They come with a clear nylon string for help with removal and insertion, and they typically use #10 hearing aid batteries.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)
Going up in size from the canal hearing aids, in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are larger and fit into the bowl-shaped area that leads into the canal. They are also custom-made, and because they are bigger, they are easier to use. They use #13 or #312 size hearing aid batteries or rechargeable batteries, and are a good option for people with mild to severe hearing loss. ITE devices are also good options for patients with dexterity concerns.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
There are three general types of behind-the-ear hearing aids: conventional, open fit and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC). Each type houses a rechargeable or standard battery, a microphone, and electronics in a plastic case hooked behind the ear. They generally use #675, #13 or #312 batteries, so their volume and power are strong, and they are easy to configure and maintain. People of all ages, with hearing loss ranging from mild to profound, can use them successfully.
- Conventional BTE hearing aids: The microphone in back collects sounds and sends them to a plastic ear mold situated inside of the outer ear. They are easy to adapt to several different types of hearing assistive devices, so a wide variety of people can use them.
- Open Fit: A small, narrow tube delivers sound into the ear canal, which leaves the ear canal mostly open. Open fit enables better cleaning of the ear for people with consistent earwax buildup, and they’re less noticeable.
- RIC: Similar to the open fit, but a very thin receiver wire conveys amplified sounds to a speaker situated inside the canal.
The Open Fit and RIC hearing aids deliver great sound amplification and are easy to adjust and configure while also being cosmetically discrete.
Lyric is one of the few analog devices still on the market, taking advantage of the best parts of the technology to deliver clear sound directly to the ear. The device is placed directly in the ear by your audiologist, rendering it 100% invisible to the outside observer. And it’s designed for extended wear, which means you can keep it in all the time – 24 hours a day, seven days a week – without needing to remove it to sleep, exercise or even shower.
Telecoil Options in Hearing Aids
Many styles of hearing aids come with telecoils – tiny magnetic coils of wire that sense magnetic impulses and translate them into sound for the wearer, instead of using the microphone. This can be especially helpful for telephone conversations, watching TV and in buildings where induction loop sound systems have been installed (schools, churches, airports, theaters, etc.).