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In-the-Ear (ITE)

In-the-ear hearing aids (ITEs) include all hearing aids that are worn entirely in the ear (rather than behind it), including in-the-canal (ITC), Completely-in-Canal (CIC) and invisible-in-canal (IIC).

Overview: 

 

In the ear hearing aids can also mean the larger one-piece hearing devices pictured here. These aids fill the entire bowl of the ear and house all components in this single, custom-fitted piece.

In the ear hearing aid lifestyle and hearing loss chart

Types of In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

In-the-Ear (ITE)
The housing of this hearing aid completely fills the concha. The advantages include a longer battery life, the availability of a power version for severe hearing loss, and improved operation.

In-the-Canal (ITC)
This is a small and discreet custom model. The hearing aid housing sits in the ear canal, thus only filling half of the concha.

Completely-in-Canal (CIC)
The smallest custom model, the CIC offers the ultimate in discretion as it is virtually invisible from the outside. These devices typically have a nylon strand to facilitate removal from the ear.

Invisible-in-Canal (IIC)
This subgroup of CIC devices are hearing aids that are worn deep in the ear canal making them completely discreet. Phonak's Lyric is an example of an IIC hearing aid.

In-the-Ear (ITE) Hearing Aids

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are a good option if you want an easy-to-handle device. The traditional ITE hearing aid come in different sizes, and are typically worn fully inside the ear or ear canal. These types of hearing aids can house many electronic features within one single case, providing room for more features including a telecoil, multiple directional microphones and more. 
All the components are located inside a small shell. Volume can be adjusted and programs can be selected by remote control. Many models can be connected wirelessly to electronic devices such as mobile phones and TV sets.
Advantages
  • Discreet and barely visible from the outside
  • Suitable for people who wear glasses
  • More comfortable to wear during sports & activities
Disadvantages
  • Only suitable for those with mild or moderate hearing loss
  • Can create “plugged up” feeling
  • Susceptible to moisture

In-the-Canal (ITC) Hearing Aids

As the name implies, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids fit in the ear canal. They are slightly larger and extend a little farther out than completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids. However, due to their slightly larger size, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids can fit more features than CICs. Like CICs and ITEs, ITC hearing aids are custom fit for your ear. They fit slightly farther out than CIC hearing aids and are partially visible. Wearers may choose from a variety of flesh-toned casings, making them difficult to notice.

If you're looking for a discreet hearing aid consider an ITE as it fits directly into the ear canal and houses plenty of important features, including a telecoil and Bluetooth®-enabled technology.
Advantages
  • Provides a natural hearing experience
  • Cuts down on feedback due to placement
  • Discreet
  • Stays in place
  • Available in a variety of flesh tones
Disadvantages
  • Shorter battery life
  • Prone to moisture and earwax buildup
  • Fewer features than larger models

Completely-in-Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids are perfect if you lead an active lifestyle—or if you want a hearing aid that’s virtually invisible to others. CICs are placed directly into the ear canal, making them one of the most discreet devices on the market. Because of their smaller size, they may not have as many advanced features as other, larger models. The close placement of the microphone to the eardrum provides a more natural listening experience without feedback, whistling or a “plugged up” feeling.

These one-piece hearing aids are custom molded to your ear canal. A small speaker rests on the back of the aid, while the microphone and battery door are on its face. 
Advantages
  • Very discreet
  • Custom fit
  • Natural hearing experience
  • Low feedback due to placement
  • Stays in place
Disadvantages
  • Shortened average battery life due to small batteries
  • More difficult to insert into ear than larger styles of hearing aids
  • Prone to moisture and earwax buildup
  • Fewer features than larger models

Invisible-in-Canal (IIC) Hearing Aids

Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aids are worn deep in the ear canal. IICs are inserted directly into the ear canal and can be easily removed with a string. These hearing aids are a good choice if you lead a moderately to heavily active lifestyle—or if you do not want your hearing aids to be visible to others. While they are popular among hearing aid wearers, IICs may not be the best choice for users with more severe or profound hearing loss, since these hearing aids do not provide the same amount of power that other, larger models do.

Because the IIC is worn so deep in the canal, virtually no one can see them. It is recommended that a hearing care professional insert and remove them.
Advantages
  • Least noticeable hearing aid
  • Placement produces natural sound localization
  • Reduced occlusion
Disadvantages
  • Too small for directional microphones
  • More vulnerable to moisture
  • May require monthly visits for replacements
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