With the help of your hearing care provider, your first decision when it comes to your new hearing aids will be whether you want an in-the-ear or a behind-the-ear model. If you have profound hearing loss, an in-the-ear (ITE) model will probably not be an option for you, but most other people can consider these tiny, unobtrusive models when choosing a hearing device.
Overview of In-the-Ear Hearing Aid Models
In-the-ear hearing aids are custom-molded to fit entirely in your ear or ear canal. All parts of these tiny devices are housed in a single unit that you place in your ear. The custom fit ensures that they will stay in place. Unlike behind-the-ear models, these devices do not have tubes connected them to an additional component that sits outside the ear.
While they are discreet and comfortable, ITE devices are not for everyone. They are not able to adequately correct profound hearing loss and their tiny design makes them difficult for some people to insert and adjust.
In-the-Canal or In-the-Ear: ITE Options
Within the ITE category of hearing aids, there are several choices to make, from devices that are placed entirely in the ear canal to models that sit in the outer ear. The best style for you will depend on your lifestyle and the features you need to do the things you want to do. The four models to consider include:
- Invisible in the Canal (IIC). These devices are worn deep within the ear canal, so only you know you are wearing hearing aids. They are the smallest hearing aid available, but may be difficult for some people to manage. The wearer must be able to insert the IIC hearing aid deep within the ear canal and carefully remove it on a daily basis. Because the IIC model sits close to the eardrum, the wearer benefits from immediate sound travel and less ambient noise than he or she would experience with other models.
- Completely in the Canal (CIC). Also very small and discreet, the CIC model fits in the canal, but is still somewhat visible to outside observers. It is not as small as the IIC model, so it is a little easier to manage, but the wearer still gets the advantages of less background noise and less wind interference. The device is custom molded to fit perfectly in your ear canal, making it comfortable and effective. These are one of the most popular models available, but will not correct profound hearing loss.
- In the Canal (ITC). Slightly larger than a CIC model, the ITC hearing aid offers comfort that is easier for some people to insert and remove. While it is more visible to outside observers, it offers the benefits of CIC models to people who may have a hard time inserting a device deeper into the canal. It is also custom made and will fit perfectly in the wearer’s ear canal.
- In the Ear (ITE). This model is custom molded to the outer bowl of your ear. It is the easiest in-the-ear model to insert and remove, and its larger size allows for easier access to volume controls and the battery compartment. While not as discreet as the smaller models, it is still less obtrusive than behind-the-ear models, so may be a nice compromise for many users.
Choosing which type of in-the-ear device is best for you will likely come down to your ability to insert and remove the various models. If you suffer from arthritis or lack small-motor skills, inserting, adjusting, and caring for the smaller devices may be too difficult. Likewise, if you are uncomfortable inserting the device deep into our ear, you may be most comfortable with an ITE design.
We Can Help You Find the Best Hearing Aid for You
The hearing care professionals at True Sound Hearing Aid Center can discuss and demonstrate these options in our office and help you make the choice that is right for you. We are committed to helping you live your best life with hearing loss. Schedule a free evaluation now.