In-the-canal hearing aids are similar to ITE aids, but they’re a bit smaller and fill just the opening of the ear. They comfortably sit in the ear canal, which makes them easy to use, but they aren’t usually powerful enough for those with severe hearing loss. They deliver a fine balance of discretion, control, performance and durability.
In-ear hearing aids have their working parts in the earmould, meaning the whole aid fits into your ear.
In-the-ear hearing aids are usually custom-made from an impression of the patient’s ear, which enables us to provide a bespoke solution. They fill the area just outside the opening of your ear and can’t be seen from behind, but they are visible from the side. When opting for an ITE hearing aid, choose a provider you trust, as some manufacturers produce a generic ITE model that won’t suit the unique shape of your ear.
Receiver in the canal (RIC) or some manufacturers call them receiver in the ear (RITE) are the most popular type of hearing instrument fitted in the UK. They are light, comfortable and extremely versatile as they are suitable for losses from mild to profound. The microphone and processor sit in a tiny case behind the ear. They all benefit from directional microphone and are available in a variety of sizes, the smallest Micro RIC using a size 10 battery and almost invisible when worn.
The Mini RIC will use a 312 battery and thanks to its slight increase in size will have a switch onboard that can function as a volume or programme control. One manufacturer in particular offers a rechargeable option in association with their eCharger for those who may not be comfortable with battery changes or may struggle with turning the system off at night.
There are some RIC models that use size 13 battery, these instruments will be a little larger than the Mini versions. They are designed to cope with complexed applications such as the power requirements for severe to profound losses or two way streaming of sound and data as with the Halo2 and its iPhone compatibility.
What really gives this range of hearing aids its versatility is its ability to be customised to each user. RICs use a near invisible wire that runs down the side of the ear, this terminates with the receiver (speaker) itself. These receiver units can be available with five different wire lengths and up to five different power levels of receiver. The receiver rests within the outer third of ear canal and the fitting is completed with either a silicone dome which is extremely comfortable or a custom made ear tip.
For a more discreet hearing solution, the following hearing aid options offer a subtle aesthetic.
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) instruments are incredibly discreet and available at all technology levels. They’re so small that only the removal handle shows outside of the ear canal. As the component size has reduced, manufacturers can fit more circuitry inside their CIC system to offer a wireless option, meaning these hearing aids can be used with a streaming device.
Depending on the size and the shape of the patient’s ear, invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) instruments are completely invisible from outside the ear to provide the ultimate in discretion. Although the IIC is the pinnacle of hearing aid miniaturisation, we at Hearing Expert have to point out that this miniaturisation comes at the expense of reliability.
Very small hearing instruments such as these tend to have a shorter lifespan and can be prone to wax ingression, as they sit deep inside the ear canal. Typically, they are only available in higher technology levels, as they need to be fully automatic due to the absence of any controls.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are small plastic devices that are positioned behind or on top of the outer ear and suitable for any type of hearing loss, from mild to profound. It’s the most common type of hearing aid and one of the easiest to use.
BTEs are usually less susceptible to the effects of dirt, dust, moisture and wax and, as such, most instruments will now come with an IP (ingress protection) rating, which demonstrates their resistance to these factors. You can even get BTE instruments that are completely waterproof.
Bone-conduction hearing aids are less common, mainly due to the specific type of hearing loss they are designed to address. They work on the principle of conducting sounds through the bones of the skull, where the cochlea (inner ear) will pick them up and process them. These instruments are typically fitted when there is a conductive or mixed hearing loss, where the inner ear may be performing normally or only exhibit a mild to moderate loss.
Bone-conduction instruments are available in three types of formats: Bone-Anchored, Bone-Conduction Headband and Bone-Conduction Glasses.
Just like mobiles phones, hearing aids have become increasingly smarter in this technological world. While they used to be bulky with a limited battery life, they are now smaller and more efficient than ever.
Today, most quality hearing aid manufacturers produce a wide range of streaming technologies to further assist hearing-aid wearers in challenging and noisy situations. If you pair the right devices with your hearing aids, those difficult listening environments can become a lot easier.
A traditional analogue hearing aid uses a standard microphone to amplify sounds before sending them to speakers in your ear. Put simply, it makes existing sounds louder. A digital hearing aid works by receiving sound and breaking it up into small units before amplifying them. This allows the sound to be cleaned up before it’s sent to your ears.
Generally, digital hearing aids offer a better experience, as they offer greater flexibility and more features, including environment-specific settings so that the user can set their hearing aid for different scenarios, such as removing background noise in a loud restaurant.
Previously, those with hearing loss difficulties could find themselves in potentially problematic situations like not being able to hear their phone ring or struggling to hear the TV. Fortunately, hearing aids with Bluetooth technology help users to stay connected to their mobile phone, TVs and other audio devices.
These streaming devices send information directly to the hearing aids so users are instantly connected. Users can hear their phone ring and listen to the TV at the volume they want without affecting others.
To further discuss complementary hearing aid technologies, book your hearing assessment today using our online form or call 0151 676 9993.