There are six main hearing aid styles. The level of your hearing loss and the importance of various features to fit your life will help you decide which hearing aid is right for you.
The completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid is molded to fit inside your ear canal. This is the smallest and least visible model. The small size requires the smallest batteries, which have the shortest life span. Since this model is so small, it cannot fit any extra features. This model is appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The in-the-canal hearing aid is molded to fit partially in the ear canal and partially outside. This model is less visible than larger styles but more visible than the completely-in-the-ear style. Being larger than the completely-in-the-ear style enables the device to fit some additional features. This model is also appropriate for mild to moderate hearing loss.
The in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid comes in two styles, one that fills in most of the outer ear (full shell) and one that fills in only the lower part (half shell). Since this model is bigger than the previous two, it can fit even more features and a larger battery, which will have a longer battery life. This device is more visible and may pick up more environmental sounds, such as wind, since it is not protected by the ear canal. This model is appropriate for mild to severe heating loss.
The behind-the-ear (BTE) model has two parts connected with a tube, one that hooks behind the ear and a custom earpiece that fits inside the ear canal. This is the largest hearing aid model; with that comes a larger battery life and the most available features. Like the in-the-ear model, this may pick up wind sounds. This device is appropriate for almost all types of hearing loss.
The receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles are very similar to the BTE style except, instead of tubing, the two parts are connected with a tiny wire. This makes these styles less visible than the BTE.
The open fit style is a variation of the BTE with a thin tube. The custom earpiece that fits into the ear canal is much smaller, leaving some of the ear canal open. This enables low-frequency sounds to enter and be processed by the ear naturally; high-frequency sounds are still amplified through the hearing aid. This is a less visible version of the BTE and available for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.