Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) or Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids
Receiver-in-the-Ear hearing aids, is a style that has the receiver (referred to as speaker) unit moved from inside the hearing aid behind the ear, to inside the ear canal. This makes the behind the ear component much smaller and more discreet. When looking straight at the face of the person wearing this style, the small wire is considered virtually invisible to see, which makes this style gain a lot of attention in the last few years.
The RIC style allows the hearing aid more room behind the ear to keep important features such as dual microphones, wireless connectivity and others that allow for better hearing, while still keeping an appealing invisible look. This style some argue is just as discreet and invisible as the CIC, while retaining many of the technological functions that are not able to be contained in the small CIC case. This hearing aid is appropriate for the entire range of mild to profound hearing losses. It is very comfortable to wear, even with eyeglasses. If your hearing loss gets worse, this design can accommodate the changes. The piece that goes inside your ear (covering the speaker) can be a small rubber piece called a dome, or could be a custom ear mold. Many people have recently switched to this style for its benefits in background noise reduction.
Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
Behind-the-ear hearing aids are a traditional style of hearing aid that has been around the longest. All of the internal parts of the hearing aid fit comfortably in a case behind your ear. This style of hearing aid is chosen for a large range of hearing losses, especially the more severe losses. It is also used for pediatrics because of the growing ears constantly changing shape. A custom earmold accompanies the aid on a tube, and is made to the shape of the ear, keeping the hearing aid in place and conducting the sound from the hearing aid into your ear. These hearing aids are considered to be highly resistant to dust and moisture.
Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)
Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are custom designed, fitting deepest into the ear canal of all hearing aid models. These are considered “invisible” to the eye. CIC hearing aids sit closer to the eardrum, reducing problems with “echo”, wind noise and feedback when using the telephone. The benefit to this style is utilizing the natural acoustics of the way your ear naturally funnels in sound.
There are issues with trying to get all of the electronics to fit in these tiny hearing aids, and most people have to sacrifice dual microphone ability or wireless capabilities, telecoil, etc. However, the small, hardly visible CIC hearing aids may be difficult to insert into the ear for those with poor manual dexterity, the smaller battery has a shorter lifespan, and additional appointments and casing remolding may be required for optimal fit. If you fluctuate in weight, this might not be an ideal hearing aid.
In-the-Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)
In-the-canal hearing aids are custom designed for the shape of the person’s ear canal. They are slightly bigger than CIC but smaller than full shell/In-the-ear. The size allows more technology to fit into the aid. It is smaller and fit deeper into the ear canal than the in-the-ear hearing aids. They are less visible, giving them strong cosmetic appeal. Their small size limits them to be fit only on people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
In-the-Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)
In-the-ear hearing aids are custom designed, fitting directly into and filling most of the visible portion of your ear. They are the easiest to get in and out of the ear. All hearing aid components are housed within a single lightweight plastic shell, using no external wires or tubes. When properly made, they fit comfortably and securely in the ear. They will not fall out. Many people prefer this style when they have issues using their fingers for dexterity. In-the-ear hearing aids have a wide range of hearing loss they are appropriate for.
CROS Hearing Aids (Contralateral Routing of Signals)
CROS system has greatly improved over the last few years with their technology. More and more people are finding benefits with this system. CROS hearing aids are used to treat unilateral hearing loss where there is normal hearing or aidable hearing loss in one ear, and reduced or no hearing in the other ear. The hearing aid is worn in the ear with better hearing and a microphone device is used on the unaidable side. The CROS hearing aid transmits the sound wirelessly from the ear with poorer hearing to the ear with better hearing, improving the listener’s experience. Patients with single sided deafness are amazed at this technology, in that they are able to hear around them in a 360 degree manner. This system looks like two hearing aids on the ear, and can be any style.