What are the different types of hearing aids?

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What are the different types of hearing aids?

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 min read
Summary
  • While analog hearing aids run on the traditional amplification system, going digital is the most popular option today.
  • There are two main styles of hearing aid fittings: open and closed. Both have their pros and cons, but choosing the best option for you depends on your hearing health.
  • Within the spectrum of modern devices, six primary types stand out, each offering unique solutions for diverse hearing impairments and individual preferences.
  • Alongside the different types of hearing aids, developments in technology have introduced innovative features such as Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries, and water-resistant devices. 
  • Need support with selecting the right hearing aid? Your local Resonate audiologists are here to help. Feel free to enquire online or get in touch via 0800 737 662 to chat with our team today!
  • Or read on in our Ultimate Guide to Hearing Aids.

Analog vs. digital hearing aids

Analog hearing aids are based on the traditional amplification system that simply makes sound waves louder. In many instances, these devices will have programmable settings, which allow users to save different settings for various environments — interchangeable with the click of a button. However, while analog hearing aids can be powerful in volume, they don’t produce the same quality of sound as digital devices.

Today, digital hearing aids, such as the Nexia™ 9, are the most sought-after option, providing greater adjustability and innovative features. The advanced technology in these devices enables sharp distinction between speech and background noise, which ultimately makes it easier for people to engage with the world around them. 

Learn more about the basics of hearing aids.

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Open vs. closed fittings

Open-fit hearing aids are devices that sit behind the ear, attached to a slim tube that runs into the ear canal. Due to the open nature of these devices, they still allow natural sounds into the ear while amplifying specific frequencies, providing an ideal option for mild to moderate hearing loss.

On the other hand, closed-fit hearing aids are designed to seal the ear canal for enhanced sound amplification. While this option is better suited for people with severe hearing loss, it can reduce your perception of natural sounds.

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The six main types of hearing aids

When embarking on your journey to optimal hearing, it often helps to understand the different kinds of hearing aids that are available. Within the spectrum, six primary types stand out, each offering unique solutions for diverse hearing impairments and individual preferences.

At Resonate, we’re proud to partner with ReSound as our chosen hearing aid provider. Their devices offer solutions for all levels of hearing loss - from mild to severe.

Receiver-in-ear (RIE) hearing aids

Suitable for: mild to severe hearing loss

The receiver in RIE devices is discreetly nestled within the ear canal, while the primary casing rests comfortably behind the ear. For this reason, they’re often referred to as receiver-in-canal or RIC hearing aids.

Known for their inconspicuous design and advanced features, receiver–in-ear (RIE) models are the smallest behind-the-ear hearing aids, providing significant comfort and support with minimal visibility. Where appropriate, these devices can offer the best hearing experience.

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids

Suitable for: moderate to severe hearing loss

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are a powerful and versatile option, often used by those with severe hearing loss. This device has a custom earmold that sits in the ear and connects to a tube leading to the main casing behind the ear, where the receiver is located.

While BTE hearing aids are more noticeable, their secure placement ensures a comfortable fit. In addition, their larger size provides room for additional features and makes for easy handling — an excellent choice for users prioritising functionality.

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids

Suitable for: mild to moderate hearing loss

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids are customised to sit out of sight. But because this product is essentially ‘designed to disappear’, there isn’t much space for the advanced features needed to treat severe hearing loss. Still, CIC devices offer a great solution for those with mild hearing loss who also prioritise cosmetic appearance.

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids

Suitable for: mild to moderate hearing loss

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are seated partially within the canal, allowing for slightly larger device capacity than a CIC, which provides room for additional features. Essentially, ITCs strike a balance between sound quality and device visibility.

Still, this type of hearing aid sits on the smaller end of the scale, meaning it does have limited functionality and often isn’t suitable for people with severe hearing loss. But for those with mild to moderate hearing loss, an ITC device could be an excellent option.

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids

Suitable for: moderate to severe hearing loss

ITE hearing aids are another discreet option, but in contrast to ITC, this device sits just outside the ear canal. Yes, this positioning is slightly more exposed. However, the location is more spacious than our tiny ear canals, allowing for larger devices with room for advanced features.

Because ITE devices fit snugly inside the ear, they’re also very easy to insert or remove. And without any external components, these devices are particularly great for individuals with small ears or those who frequently wear accessories such as hats or glasses.

Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aids

Suitable for: mild to moderate hearing loss

The most obscure of them all, invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aids sit deeply inside the ear canal. Their compact size does limit functionality but conveniently reduces wind noise. With this in mind, this hearing aid type is ideal for those requiring standard features who also appreciate the subtle visibility.

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Looking for hearing aids in New Zealand?

Our team of audiologists are here to help. Whether you need a hearing assessment, are exploring different types of hearing aids, or simply want to discuss hearing care, we welcome you to contact your local Resonate studio.

Find audiologists near me.

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