You may find yourself needing to look into getting a hearing aid, but aren't sure what is going to work best for you. All hearing aids are similar in how they are made while the only real difference is how they are placed in your ear. Naturally, they do also differ in price, size, and special features.
CIC – Completely in the Canal
The CIC is the smallest and most inconspicuous hearing aid on the market. It is custom molded and fits completely inside of your ear canal. Being that it is inside the canal, it is less likely to pick up wind noise. Due to the fact that it uses very small batteries, the battery life is shorter and harder to replace. They don't typically have extra features like volume control and can easily become clogged with earwax.
ITC – In the Canal
An ITC hearing aid is custom molded and fits only partly into the ear canal. It isn't invisible, but is less visible than larger styles. The features it has make it so that it cannot fit completely into the ear canal, but due to its small size the features are hard to adjust on it. Since it does still go in the canal, it could easily become clogged with earwax.
ITE – In the Ear
ITE hearing aids are also custom made, but come in two different styles. It can either fit into the bowl-shaped area of the outer ear or just into the lower half of the outer ear. This style is larger and easier to insert, but still susceptible to earwax clogging. It is more visible because of its size, but that allows it to include more features that are easy to adjust like volume and directional microphone. It could pick up more wind noise.
BTE – Behind the Ear
BTE hearing aids are connected over the top portion of your ear and then hang down behind the ear. An earpiece hooked to a tube then fits into the ear canal. While they are working on making these types smaller, they are still typically the largest type of hearing aid. It will pick up more wind noise, but it is capable of higher amplification than the other types.
RIC/RITE – Receiver in Canal or Receiver in the Ear
The RIC and RITE styles are very much like the BTEs, but the earpiece is attached with a piece of wire rather than tubing. The RIC could become clogged with earwax.
An open fit hearing aid is like the BTE, but it keeps the ear canal clear allowing natural sounds to enter the ear in a normal way. People like this hearing aid, because it doesn't plug up their ear canal which some people find uncomfortable. Since it is smaller in size, it is less visible, but it will lack features and will be harder to change the batteries.
Researching what styles of hearing aids are out there and their pros and cons will be an important part of the decision you make. While hearing aids will not return your hearing to normal, they can help improve your hearing by amplifying sounds and reducing background noises. Making the right choice for you will make day-to-day life much easier and more enjoyable. Contact an outlet for listening devices, such as Suburban Hearing Services, for further assistance.