What comes to mind when you picture a hearing aid? Many people still think of the large, clunky, attention-grabbing hearing aids of the past. Thankfully, more than just the technology has advanced.
You might have heard that some styles are better for certain types hearing loss, or think that certain styles are more “invisible” than others. Today’s hearing aids are stylish and discreet as well as comfortable – and most styles can now be fitted for most types of hearing loss.
You’ll encounter a lot of options online and in the clinic, not to mention a few unfamiliar acronyms. Here’s a quick overview of the styles to help you get started:
What it is: As the name suggests, all of the electronics on this style sit behind the ear with a tube that extends over the ear to an ear piece (also called an ear mold) sitting partway in the ear canal.
What to consider:
- BTEs are often the traditional choice for people with severe to profound hearing loss because they can offer more power.
- Their larger size has room for more features and larger, longer-lasting batteries than some in-the-ear (ITE) styles, plus some people find them easier to handle and adjust.
- The microphone and speaker are safely away from earwax, making the device more durable and reducing the need for service appointments.
Example: BTEs used to be the largest of the hearing aid styles, but today’s models offer sleeker designs and a comfortable fit. For example, the Moxi Stride M from Unitron has a 312 battery, allowing its new design to be a smaller and more comfortable option for wearers who have medical considerations of the ear or chronic issues with wax and moisture. Thanks to Bluetooth, the Stride M can connect with up to two phones and Unitron’s TV Connector.
What it is: There are many good reasons RIC is the most popular hearing aid style. RICs have most of their electronics and their power supply in a small part that sits behind or on top of the ear with a thin wire connecting to a receiver (speaker) in the ear canal.
What to consider:
- Smaller and lighter than many BTEs, this style of hearing aid still has plenty of room for features and rechargeable batteries.
- RICs can accommodate a wide range of hearing losses from mild to severe, and can be fit with many dome and ear tip options.
- Like some BTEs, you can take home RICs right from your first appointment.
- Because the receiver can be detached, it can often be replaced right in the clinic – no need to send it off for repairs.
Example: the MoxiTM Move R packs a lot of features into Unitron’s smallest ever rechargeable RIC. The lithium-ion battery can go all day on a single charge, and the hearing aids are easy to charge as your other devices. They can also be paired with up to two phones and Unitron’s TV Connector, seamlessly connecting with your favorite tech.
What it is: Among the smallest styles, these hearing aids are just one piece and sit inside the ear. They come in different sizes including full shell (the largest), half shell, in-the-canal (ITC) and the smallest invisible-in-canal (IIC).
What to consider:
- ITEs are the smallest style and don’t require anything worn behind the ear.
- They’re custom made to fit each person’s unique ear shape and will take some time to create.
- Comfort is important because the ITEs fill the ear or ear canal
With all of these options available on Unitron’s latest platform, Discover Next, there’s a model and style to suit every hearing loss and lifestyle.
“In the past, the severity of an individual’s hearing loss was the main consideration for which model to use. While it still plays a role today, most behind-the-ear, receiver-in-canal, and in-the-ear devices can be made appropriate for most people with hearing aids,” says Douglas Baldwin, doctor of audiology and Senior Training Manager at Unitron. “These days, the decision is more related to lifestyle and personal preferences.”
There are a lot of things to consider when shopping for hearing aids, but there’s no need to make this decision alone. A hearing care professional can assess your hearing and work with you to find the right style and model to suit your preferences and lifestyle. You can even try-before-you-buy with our FLEXTM program to make sure you have the best fit.
Ready to start?