Notice: Users may be experiencing issues with displaying some pages on stanfordhealthcare.org. We are working closely with our technical teams to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience.
Hearing aids come in several different styles, most of which are either completely visible, or barely visible and invisible. These styles vary from devices that are completely-in-the-canal (CIC) and therefore completely invisible to those that are positioned at the entrance to the ear cal and are therefore barely visible.
Current devices that are located behind-the-ear (BTE) that used to be quite visible are now much less visible because of their very small size and the fact that the components that direct the sound to the ear canal themselves are not very visible. Each style has its advantages and disadvantages.
Hearing aids also have several different types of circuitry or electronics that process the sound for your ear. There are "conventional" circuits that have limited programmability. There are also "digital advanced" circuits that offer many features that are custom fitted for your hearing loss.
You should discuss the different styles and types of circuitry that would best benefit your hearing loss and suit your life style. This is why it is important to be seen by experienced and fully trained audiologist in a clinic that has a full and comprehensive line of devices available.
Consult your physician for additional information on each of the following types:
In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids - These hearing aids come in plastic cases that fit in the outer ear. Generally used for mild to severe hearing loss, ITE hearing aids can accommodate other technical hearing devices, such as the telecoil, a mechanism used to improve sound during telephone calls. However, their small size can make it difficult to make adjustments. In addition, ITE hearing aids can be damaged by ear wax and drainage.
Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids - Behind-the-ear hearing aids, as the name implies, are worn behind the ear. This type of hearing aid, which is in a case, connects to a plastic earmold inside the outer ear. These hearing aids are generally used for mild to severe hearing loss. However, poorly fitted BTE hearing aids can cause feedback, an annoying "whistling" sound, in the ear.
Canal aids - Canal aids fit directly in the ear canal and come in two sizes: in-the-canal (ITC) aid and completely-in-canal (CIC) aid. Customized to fit the size and shape of the individual's ear canal, canal aids are generally used for mild to moderate hearing loss. However, because of their small size, removal and adjustment may be more difficult. In addition, canal aids can be damaged by ear wax and drainage.
Body aids - Generally reserved for profound hearing loss, or if the other types of hearing aids will not accommodate, body aids are attached to a belt or pocket and connected to the ear with a wire.
The Stanford Medicine Online Second Opinion program offers you easy access to our world-class doctors. It’s all done remotely and you don’t have to visit our hospital or one of our clinics for this service. You don’t even need to leave home!