What Are the Different Types of Hearing Aids?


Most people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing instruments. Just as there are many types and degrees of hearing loss, there are many hearing instruments with a wide range of functions and features to address a variety of individual needs.

Today, hearing aids and hearing amplifiers can be programmed to automatically respond to minute changes in sounds, delivering clearer, crisper sound and better speech understanding than ever before.

Here’s a brief summary of the most popular types and styles of hearing instruments available today.

  • Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC)
  • In-The-Canal (ITC)
  • In-The-Ear (ITE)
  • Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)

Different Types of Hearing Aids - In the Ear CanalThis is the smallest type of hearing aid made and is almost invisible in the ear. All the components are housed in a small case that fits far into the ear canal. This takes advantage of the ear’s own natural sound-collecting design and offers convenient telephone usage.

CICs are custom made for each ear; however, these hearing aids are restricted to persons with ear canals large enough to accommodate the insertion depth of the instrument into the ear. Also, the CIC style uses a very small battery that requires good manual dexterity. This type of hearing aid is not suitable for persons with severe hearing losses.

In-the-Canal Hearing Instruments (ITC)

A little bigger than the CIC, the ITC hearing aids also fit far into the ear canal. Canal hearing aids use a slightly larger battery than the CIC style. This style is used for mild to moderate hearing losses.

In-the-Ear Hearing Instruments (ITE)

These hearing aids can be used for a wider range of hearing losses. Due to their larger size, ITEs can accommodate larger sound amplifiers and more features such as a telephone switch. They are also easier to handle.

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Instruments (BTE)

In BTE hearing aids, the electronics are housed in a case that fits behind the ear. Tubing and a custom made ear mold direct the sound to the ear canal. Due to its robust design, this style is especially recommended for children.

BTE hearing aids can provide more amplification than smaller devices due to the stronger amplifier and the larger battery. This style is available in several colors for hair and skin tone matching.

Some of the best hearing amplifiers are also behind-the-ear form factor for its versatility and design.