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Hearing Aid Styles

Digital technology gives your MOSA Audiologist maximum control over sound quality and sound processing characteristics. All hearing aids provided at MOSA Audiology are digital, and your MOSA Audiologist will recommend the best hearing aid for you, based on your hearing loss and lifestyle.

Because of digital technology, controls in a hearing aid can be easily adjusted by a computer in the Audiologist’s office. Many hearing aids have multiple tuning channels for optimum benefit. For example, depending on the style and model selected, a hearing aid can be programmed to offer separate settings for general hearing environments, conversations, and telephone use. The user can quickly select the most appropriate setting by simply pressing a control on the hearing aid.

Hearing aids come in three basic styles: In-the ear (ITE), In-the-canal (ITC) and Behind-the-ear (BTE). There are differences in size and in the way in which the hearing aid is controlled.


In-the-Ear Styles

Hearing aids worn in the ear are usually custom-fit, based on a cast or impression of the ear. They’re available in different skin tones to camouflage with the outer ear. There are several styles – each is listed below, ranging from smallest to largest.


Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC)

The smallest custom style, CIC instruments fit deeply and entirely within the ear canal. They fit mild to moderate hearing losses and offer high cosmetic appeal as they’re nearly invisible when worn.


In-the-Canal (ITC)

ITC instruments sit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl, making them comfortable and easy to use. Because they’re slightly larger than CIC models, they have a longer battery life, and can host additional features such as directional microphones for better understanding in noisy environments, and controls such as volume controls. They fit mild and moderate hearing losses.


Low Profile

Low Profile instruments range from half shell designs which fill half the bowl of the outer ear to low profile in-the-ear (ITE) designs which fill in most of the outer ear bowl. Like ITC models, low profile designs enable the addition of features such as directional microphones, volume controls and push buttons to activate special settings for different listening environments. Because of their slighly larger size, they may be easier than smaller models to handle for some people. This hearing aid style looks similar to the ITC hearing aid when worn on the ear, but is slightly larger.

Behind-the-Ear Styles

Behind-the-Ear (BTE) models sit behind or on top of the outer ear, with tubing that routes sounds down into the ear that connects to an ear tip or earmold to secure them in the ear canal. BTEs come in colors to blend with hair or skin tones, and even chrome colors, leopard print and other funky designs to suit personal styles. Different BTE sizes accommodate different features, controls, battery types and degrees of power (larger instruments generally have more power than smaller ones). While many people choose discreet BTEs that are unnoticeable when worn, others are tempted to show off the cool designs.

mini bte

Mini BTE with slim tube and tip

Mini BTEs are designed to hide behind the outer ear, and have 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 “open fitting” and is recommended for mild to moderate high frequency losses.

receiver in ear

Receiver in the ear (RITE)

RITE models, also known as RIC (receiver-in-canal) models, are mini BTEs that have the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip, instead of in the main body of the instrument. RITE instruments fit mild to severe hearing losses. This hearing aid style looks similar to the Mini BTE when worn on the ear.

BTE with Earmold

BTE with earmold

BTEs with earmolds fit mild through profound hearing losses. They’re longer shape, following the contour behind the outer ear, generally can house more features, controls, and power than custom models. The earmold color and style, as well as the wearer’s hairstyle, determine exactly how they’ll look on each person.

MOSA Hearing Aid Centers & Audiology Services is a division of Michigan Otolaryngology Surgery Associates
located on the St. Joseph Mercy Hospital campus.