At Ear Level Communciations, we understand that one size does NOT fit all when it comes to hearing devices. Our amplification consultants are ready with hearing devices for mild hearing loss, moderate hearing loss, and even severe hearing loss…and one of them will be perfect for you.
ITE and ITC models are custom-made and fit in the outer ear bowl. Their size allows for additional controls and features such as directional microphones, which require space on the outer portion of the instrument. Many can fit a larger receiver with enough power for even some severe hearing losses. In cases of poor dexterity, the ITE is usually easier for an individual to handle and control.
CIC and IIC models are custom-made and fit deep in the ear canal, many times seeming to be “invisible”. While offering cosmetic advantages, these tiny devices have limitations, including shorter battery life, size restrictions due to ear anatomy, proneness to wax/moisture damage, and limited controls/functionality.
Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing that routes sounds down into the ear, that is connected to an ear dome or earmold to secure them in the ear canal. Traditionally considered ‘big, bulky, or old-fashioned’, today’s BTEs come in colors to blend with hair tones, chrome colors, leopard print and other funky designs to suit personal styles. Different BTE sizes allows users to choose what is most important to them: power, features, wireless/Bluetooth compatibility, discreetness, ease of handling, battery size and life.
BTEs with earmolds fit mild through profound hearing losses. They generally can house more features, controls, and power than custom models. This style can be very advantageous for someone with frequent drainage or heavy accumulation of wax in the ear, since all electronics are housed behind the ear.
Over-the-Ear (OTE)s are ‘mini-BTEs’ with ultra-thin tubing to discreetly route sound into the ear. The tubing connects to a soft tip that sits in the ear canal but doesn’t occlude it. The result is a natural, open feeling as airflow and sound enter the ear naturally around the tip, while amplified sound enters through the tip. This is known as an ‘open fit hearing aid’ and is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.
Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) models, also known as RITE (receiver-in-the-ear), are mini BTEs that have the receiver (speaker) of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RIC instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses and looks similar to the OTE when worn on the ear.