Hearing aids are among the wonders of modern medical engineering. Advances in design mean that there are more types available than ever before. Unfortunately, that makes it harder to understand the different types of models on the market and what their pros and cons might be. Let's look at four of the most commonly used ones.
Completely-in-the-Canal Systems (CIC)
A CIC hearing aid is a model that, as the name suggests, is entirely contained within the ear canal when inserted. These are ideal for people who are worried about the aesthetics of having a hearing aid, and they provide enough power to help folks who have light to moderate loss of hearing.
A small package means they're not capable of carrying large batteries, and that also means you'll see shorter battery life. They frequently lack advanced features like volume adjusters and directional microphones, too. On the upside, being recessed in the ear reduces the odds of wind blowing on the device and being picked up as audio.
In-the-Ear Systems (ITE)
ITE configurations use half-shell or bowl designs that fit in the outer part of the ear. These are usually easier to manipulate, and they have larger batteries, too. Unfortunately, this also makes them significantly more visible. The speaker can clog with ear wax that comes out of the ear, and that means cleaning and maintenance are essential. Individuals with moderate to several issues may have to use these models to have sufficient battery life to get through a full day.
Behind-the-Ear Systems (BTE)
With a BTE model, a tube-wrapped wire runs from a pack that's located behind the ear to a speaker piece that's placed in the ear canal. These models have the advantage of being highly customizable, and they can provide significantly more audio output and audio adjustability. Streamlined modern designs are intended to reduce the visibility of BTE hearing aids. Bigger packages, however, can house additional features, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for added control.
Receiver-in-the-Canal Systems (RIC)
These are similar to BTE systems, but a smaller wire connects the speaker to the base. They are less visible, but they can also be more susceptible to clogging from ear wax.
Open-fit models are variants of this type that aim to be even less conspicuous. They don't block the ear canal, and that can help people who are having trouble reacting to the unfamiliarity of hearing their voices transmitted through a speaker.
For more information about hearing aids, turn to companies like County Hearing And Balance.