What are the different types of hearing aids?

Hearing aids vary a great deal in price, size, special features, how they are placed in the ear and how visible they are when you wear them. On this page you will find an overview of all types of hearing aids. 

Ready to improve your hearing but not sure what type of hearing aid is best for you? You’ve come to the right place. This quick guide breaks down the basics of hearing aid types and the factors you should consider when choosing the right hearing aid for you.

 

There are many in-the-ear hearing aid types available. They all fit directly in the ear so it is important to get the right shape and fit for optimum comfort and sound quality. In the ear hearing aids are custom-made to you so they fit your ear perfectly.

These types of hearing aids are suitable for nearly all types of hearing loss. As there are no external wires or tubes, these devices can be more discreet

There are five types of in-the-ear hearing aids, ranging from the invisible-in-canal to the full-shell type of hearing aid. The smallest style is completely hidden inside the canal of the ear. The largest fits completely inside the outer bowl of the ear, with a small portion extending into the ear canal to direct sound.

Features and benefits

  • Discreet and less noticeable than other hearing aid types

  • May be easier to handle

  • Can accommodate telecoil, volume control and other extra features

  • May be more susceptible to wind noise and damage from earwax and moisture in the ear


Book an appointment with a hearing aid specialist
  • Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids

     

    invisible-in-the-canal-haThese types of hearing aids (IIC) are the smallest hearing aids available. They offer the ultimate discretion as they are custom-made to fit inside your ear canal making them almost, if not completely, invisible. Tiny cords are fit to this type of hearing aid so you can remove them easily.

    These hearing aid types do adapt automatically to the sound environment so there is no need to touch them or adjust settings throughout the day. Due to their size they do not have a directional microphone which helps enhance the sounds that you need to hear, while reducing background noise.

    People with limited dexterity may find these types of hearing aids difficult to adjust and remove because they are so small, but this style is popular with people who prefer a more discreet type of hearing aid.

    Due to the positioning of this hearing aid type, they can be vulnerable to earwax and moisture build-up, so it is important to ensure there is adequate ventilation when they are used. However, because of the small size of this type of hearing aid, they are better for minimizing wind noise.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on IIC hearing aids.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

  • Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids

     

    cic-bc-380x380This type of hearing aid (CIC) was the smallest aid available before the invisible-in-the-canal hearing aid was introduced.

    The completely-in-the-canal hearing aid styles are custom-designed to fit discreetly just inside the ear canal. Most CIC hearing aid types are invisible to people you encounter throughout the day. The slightly larger size can accommodate an optional button that allows you to manually control settings for different environments. The only thing visible to the eye is normally the face plate and battery drawer.

    Due to the positioning of this hearing aid type, they can also be vulnerable to earwax and moisture so it is important to ensure there is adequate ventilation when they are used.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on CIC hearing aid types.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

  • In-the-canal hearing aids

     

    itc-na-380x380This type of hearing aid (ITC) is slightly larger than completely-in-the-canal hearing aids.

    They fit the lower third of your external ear and are custom made to your ear. This hearing aid type has a slightly longer battery life than other in-the-ear styles and features wireless streaming and a directional microphone. Having a directional microphone is a big advantage because it enhances sounds that you need to hear (such as speech), while diminishing background noise. 

    These hearing aids are rather discreet, but if you are looking for almost complete discretion then it is advised to look at the completely-in-the-canal and invisible-in-the-canal hearing aid types. These types of hearing aids offer complete discretion but do not deal with noisy environments as well as larger styles of aids.

    These types of hearing aids are easy to insert and remove and are a great choice for push button controls.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on ITC hearing aid types.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

     
  • In-the-ear half shell hearing aids

    ite-hs-pt-380x380The in-the-ear half shell hearing aid (ITE half shell) type is designed to fit half of your external ear. The shell of the hearing aid is made to fit the shape of your ear. Depending on the size of your ear, these types of hearing aids can be relatively discreet.

    The half shell hearing aids have a longer battery life than the in-the-canal hearing aid type because they are slightly larger. They are suitable for anyone with a more severe hearing loss and are a good option if you want an easy-to-handle device.

    Due to their slightly larger size, ITE half shell hearing aids can have additional features compared to the in-the canal, completely-in-the canal and invisible-in-the-canal types of hearing aids.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on half shell hearing aid types.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

     
  • In-the-ear full shell hearing aids

    ite-fs-rc-380x380The full shell hearing aid type (ITE full shell) is designed to fit all of your external ear. These types of hearing aids are the largest of the custom hearing aids as they have larger amplifiers which provide greater sound amplification. The shell of the hearing aid is made to fit the shape of your ear. Depending on the size of your ear, these hearing aid types can still be relatively discreet.

    The half shell hearing aids have a longer battery life than the in-the-canal hearing aid types because they are slightly larger. They are suitable for anyone with a more severe hearing loss and are a good option if you want an easy-to-handle device.

    Due to their slightly larger size, ITE full shell hearing aids can have additional features compared to the in-the canal, completely-in-the canal and invisible-in-the-canal types of hearing aids.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on half shell hearing aid types.

    Read more about in-the-ear hearing aids

     

These types of hearing aids are perfect for users with a more severe hearing loss or smaller ear canals. All the components in these types of hearing aids are housed behind the ear with a clear tube that connects the hearing aid to an earpiece that fits in your ear canal.

These types of hearing aids are a lot sleeker and slimmer than older, more traditional models and are great for people with less dexterity or visual impairment. While they are still also very discreet, they are not invisible, but they are powerful.

With this type of hearing aid, you can choose the colour of the housing from a range that you prefer.

There are three types of hearing aids that sit behind the ear, BTE, RIC/RITE and Open Fit. Below you will find an overview of each style.

Features and benefits

  • Is capable of more amplification than other hearing aid types and has a larger battery life

  • Some users find them more comfortable as they do not fit deep within the ear

  • Less vulnerable to moisture and wax build up

  • Some models come with rechargeable batteries


Book an appointment with a hearing aid specialist
  • oticon-opn-minirite
    Receiver-in-the-ear

    rite-opendome-bc-380x380Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid types are much smaller than traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids. These types of hearing aids are referred to as RITE and sometimes as RIC.  

    This type of hearing aid sits discreetly behind the ear and is connected by a thin wire with a speaker or receiver placed inside the opening of the ear canal for improved sound quality.

    They are less noticeable than more traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids but are also vulnerable to moisture and earwax build-up (since the receiver sits in the ear canal). However, the receiver is exchangeable, so it can be exchanged at a hearing clinic quickly and easily. 

    We advise you to speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on RIC and RITE hearing aid types.

    Read more about behind-the-ear hearing aids

     

  • Behind-the-ear hearing aids

    bte-sa-380x380-(1)This type of hearing aid (BTE) fits discreetly behind the ear. A thin, clear tube connects this hearing aid type to an earmold that fits inside the outer ear. BTE hearing aids are robust and easy to repair. They are suitable for all types of hearing loss and ear sizes since the custom earmold can be replaced if needed when the ear grows.

    The larger size accommodates more features. Telecoil, volume and program controls are easy to manipulate, and the larger battery size provides more power.

    The BTE hearing aid type is the most versatile.

    Speak with your hearing care professional for more guidance on BTE hearing aids.

    Read more about behind-the-ear hearing aids

     

  • Open-fit hearing aids

    Similar to the receiver-in-the-ear hearing aid types, open-fit hearing aids sit behind the ear and are connected by a thin, almost invisible wire to a speaker.

    Open fit hearing aids keep the ear canal open, so sound enters the ear more naturally. This allows you to hear background noises more easily, while clearly hearing the sounds that you need to hear (such as voices) through the hearing aid. 

    Sometimes these models are available with convenient rechargeable batteries.

    These types of hearing aids do not require an ear mold.

    Read more about behind-the-ear hearing aids

     

     

The journey to better hearing might be easier than you think

What to consider when choosing type of hearing aid?

1. Talk to a hearing professional about hearing aids
Choosing the right hearing aid type can be complicated. There are several factors to consider, and it is always best to get the advice from a hearing professional. An audiologist has vast knowledge of the different types of hearing loss and is qualified to recommend the best hearing aid type for your individual hearing loss and needs.

The process of choosing the right hearing aid starts with measuring your hearing loss with a hearing test.

Tip!
Find a hearing clinic with in-house audiologists or specialists who provide counselling based on your specific needs. A specialized hearing clinic will have several hearing aid types and brands so you can find the optimal solution for you.

Book an appointment

2. Reduce background noise
Hearing aids with background noise reduction assist the user in situations that are noisy. It reduces the volume of loud background noises, making it easier for the user to hear important sounds like speech.

All hearing aids have some amount of noise reduction available. The amount of noise reduction varies from model to model.

3. No more feedback noise
Hearing aid 'feedback' is an annoying, high-pitched sound. It can occur when sound coming from the hearing aid speaker goes back into the hearing aid microphone and is amplified again. This process causes feedback to occur. Historically, hearing aid users have suffered from these uncomfortable feedback noises. However, the latest types of hearing aids have dramatically improved feedback issues.

4. Rechargeable hearing aids oticon_opn_rechargeable_hearing_aids
Some hearing aids offer the convenience of rechargeable batteries. An easy overnight charge allows for hassle-free maintenance by eliminating the need to regularly replace batteries.

Having a rechargeable type of hearing aid removes the inconvenience of having to change batteries, which is a benefit to all, especially those with lower dexterity.

Learn more about rechargeable hearing aids

5. Hearing aids with 360 degree hearing ability

Hearing technology has developed dramatically in recent years. There is a new type of hearing aid that changes the way hearing aids work. Instead of only picking up sound from straight ahead, they deliver the entire 360-degree sound environment to your brain – reducing the effort it takes you to listen - which can also reduce fatigue. 

You can speak to an audiologist who will listen to your requirements and provide the information you need to make the right decision for you.

Contact a clinic near you for more information

6. Hearing aid types that fits your hearing loss
If you suspect that you might have a hearing loss then it’s a good idea to schedule a hearing test. A hearing test will reveal the severity of your hearing loss and what types of hearing aids that suits your needs.

You are welcome to fill out your name and contact info, so we can set up an appointment at a hearing clinic close to you. The hearing test takes approximately one hour, and you will have the chance to ask as many questions as you need and even try some of the hearing aid technology.

You can book a free hearing test at one of our clinics.

get-a-free-hearing-test

7. Connect your hearing aid to a Bluetooth device 
If you choose a hearing aid with Bluetooth, then you can connect it to your TV so that you can hear the TV audio directly in your hearing aid. This means that you get the sound directly in your hearing aid so that it is easier to hear.

It is also possible to connect a hearing aid to other Bluetooth devices, such as mobile phones and music players. If your type of hearing aid has a connectivity feature and you have an iPhone, then your hearing aids can double as a wireless headset, so that you can listen to music and have a hands-free phone conversation.