Hearing Aid Types

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Hearing aids can vary a great deal in size, price, special
features as well as how they fit into or on to your ear.


Many manufacturers are making their devices smaller as the demand for a less noticeable hearing aid increases. Everyone experiences different levels of hearing loss and some of the smaller hearing aids may not provide the power to support your needs.

Complete Hearing will work closely with you to pick the perfect hearing aid with features and sound amplification that works best for you.

Below is an example of some of the types of hearing aids currently available.

Completely in the Canal (CIC) or Mini CIC

A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal. It addresses mild to moderate hearing loss.

A completely-in-the-canal hearing aid:

  • Is the smallest and least visible type
  • Is less likely to pick up wind noise
  • Uses very small batteries, which have shorter life and can be difficult to handle
  • Doesn’t contain extra features, such as volume control or a directional microphone
In the Canal

An in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal. This style can improve mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.

An in-the-canal hearing aid:

  • Is less visible in the ear than larger styles
  • Includes features that won’t fit on completely-in-the-canal aids, but may be difficult to adjust due to its small size
  • Is susceptible to earwax clogging the speaker
In the Ear

An in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid is custom made in two styles — one that fills most of the bowl-shaped area of your outer ear (full shell) and one that fills only the lower part (half shell). Both are helpful for people with mild to severe hearing loss.

An in-the-ear hearing aid:

  • Includes features that don’t fit on smaller style hearing aids, such as a volume control
  • May be easier to handle
  • Uses a larger battery for longer battery life
  • May pick up more wind noise than smaller devices
Behind the Ear

A behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear. A tube connects the hearing aid to a custom earpiece called an earmold that fits in your ear canal. This type is appropriate for people of all ages and those with almost any type of hearing loss.

A behind-the-ear hearing aid:

  • Traditionally has been the largest type of hearing aid, though some newer mini designs are streamlined and barely visible
  • Is capable of more amplification than other styles
  • May pick up more wind noise than other styles
  • Needs professional maintenance on a regular basis
Receiver in Canal/Receiver in the Ear

The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) refer to exactly the same type of hearing aid. Depending on the manufacturer it is called one or the other. This style is similar to the behind-the-ear hearing aid with the speaker or receiver in the canal. This style keeps the ear canal open allowing one’s own voice to sound natural. This is a good choice for people with mild to severe high frequency hearing loss.

RIC/ RITE hearing aid:

  • Is less visible
  • Doesn’t plug the ear like the small in-the-canal hearing aids do
  • May be more difficult for some people to insert
  • Is a popular and comfortable choice