Hearing Aid Styles

Advanced Hearing Care—Improving your Quality of Life. Potomac Audiology: 240-477-1010

Selecting a Hearing Aid

Potomac Audiology offers hearing aids in a variety of styles and technologies. Each model is tailored to a specific type of hearing loss and listener’s needs. Selecting a style that is right for you depends on the following:

  • Severity and type of hearing loss
  • Ear canal shape and size
  • Ability to use fingers and hands (manual dexterity)
  • Personal preferences and budget


Styles of Hearing Aids:

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)

BTE Hearing Aids at Potomac Audiology, in MarylandBehind-the-ear hearing aids are housed in a curved case that fits neatly and comfortably behind your ear. A custom earmold is made to the shape of your ear, keeping the hearing aid in place and conducting the sound from the hearing aid into your ear. The powerful and durable behind-the-ear hearing aids correct all degrees of hearing loss. They are particularly suited for severe hearing loss and special needs in difficult listening conditions.

Benefits of behind-the-ear hearing aids include these features:

  • Technical power and versatility
  • Durable design is especially useful for children
  • Longer life expectancy than other styles
  • Ideal for high frequency losses
  • Easy to wear, even with eyeglasses


Receiver-in-the-Ear (RITE) or Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) Hearing Aids

RIC Hearing Aid, Potomac Audiology, in MarylandReceiver-in-the-Ear hearing aids have the receiver or speaker unit moved from behind the ear into the ear canal. This is a hybrid style of a behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aid. This makes the behind the ear component much smaller and more discreet. This allows for improved cosmetics,  almost as discreet as the CIC, while retaining many of the technological features that are not able to be contained in the small CIC case. This is increasingly becoming one of the most popular styles of hearing aids. This hearing aid is appropriate for the entire range of mild to profound hearing losses. The ear can be left more open for milder or high frequency hearing losses, or custom molds may be used for moderate up to profound hearing losses.


In-the-Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)

ITE Hearing Aid, Potomac Audiology, MarylandIn-the-ear hearing aids are custom designed, fitting directly into and filling most of the visible portion of your ear. All hearing aid components are housed within a single lightweight plastic shell, using no external wires or tubes. When properly made, they fit comfortably and securely in the ear. In-the-ear hearing aids are generally used for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

In-the-ear hearing aids are not recommended for these conditions:

  • Hearing loss from severe to profound
  • Poor finger or hand dexterity (hearing aid has small controls)
  • Special needs that in-the-ear hearing aids do not meet


In-the-Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)

ITC Hearing Aid, Potomac Audiology, MarylandIn-the-canal hearing aids are custom designed, smaller and fit deeper into the ear canal than the in-the-ear hearing aids. They are less visible, giving them strong cosmetic appeal. All the components are housed within a single plastic shell. Their small size limits their use to people with mild to moderate hearing loss.

Features of behind-the-ear hearing aids include these items:

  • Small size fits deeper into ear canal
  • Lightweight
  • Best for mild to moderate hearing loss


Completely-in-the-Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)

CIC Hearing Aid, Potomac Audiology, MarylandCompletely-in-the-canal hearing aids are custom designed, fitting deepest into the ear canal of all hearing aid models. They are the most aesthetically pleasing and least visible. CIC hearing aids sit close to the eardrum, reducing problems with “echo”, wind noise and feedback when using the telephone.

However, the small, hardly visible CIC hearing aids may be difficult to manipulate for those with poor manual dexterity, the smaller battery has a shorter lifespan, and additional appointments and casing remolding may be required for optimal fit. The shape of the ear canal and severity of hearing loss may limit some people from using this hearing aid.

Benefits of completely-in-the-canal hearing aids include the following:

  • Lightweight, smallest ITE-model
  • Discreet design, fits completely in the ear canal
  • Improves sound quality by reducing echo, wind noise and telephone feedback


CROS Hearing Aids (Contralateral Routing of Signals)

CROS hearing aids are used to treat unilateral hearing loss where there is normal hearing or aidable hearing loss in one ear, and reduced or no hearing in the other ear. The hearing aid is worn in the ear with better hearing and an additional microphone is used on the unaidable side. The CROS hearing aid transmits the sound from the ear with poorer hearing to the ear with better hearing, improving the listener’s experience.