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Choosing the right hearing aid for you can be very confusing, there are many different manufacturers with a wide variety of models to choose from. Realistically, it becomes an impossible task without a thorough knowledge of the industry. At some point you will need to take advice from a professional Hearing Aid Audiologist.
Your hearing loss may suit more than one style of hearing aid, there are many different reasons why you would choose one style over another. These include cosmetic appeal, your dexterity or the shape and size of your ear canal.
The main styles of hearing aids currently available are: -
BTE - Behind the Ear
Mainly used for severe to profound hearing loss, these instuments attach to a mould in the shape of the client's ear. A tube through the mould directs the sound into the ear canal. Benefits are power, reliability and features.
Power RIC - Receiver in the Canal
Mainly used to fit moderate to severe hearing loss. The speaker (receiver) on the end of a thin wire directs the sound into the ear. A custom mould ear holds the receiver in place and seals the sound in the ear. Benefits are power, cosmetics and features.
RIC - Receiver in the Canal
Suitable for a mild to moderate hearing loss. A speaker (receiver) on the end of a thin wire directs sound into the ear. This is held in place with a dome, a small rubbery fitting that doesn't block the ear canal. Benefits are cosmetics, comfort and features.
ITE - In the Ear
Suitable for mild to severe hearing loss. The complete device fits completely inside the client's ear and are moulded to fit the ear exactly. A range of different sizes are available depending on needs. Benefits are ease of use and features.
CIC - Completely In the Canal
Suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. These are the same as ITEs just smaller to be more discrete. Some of the features of an ITE can be lost depending on the size of the client's ear. Benefits are ease of use and cosmetics.
IIC - Invisible in the Canal
Suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. Arguably the most discrete hearing aids available, very similar to CICs but with reduced features. Benefits are purely cosmetics.