All hearing aids have the same basic parts that carry sound from the environment into your ear and make it louder, but they come in different styles and offer different features. The main styles are:
- The completely in the canal (CIC) and mini CIC hearing aids are molded to fit your ear canal. It improves mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
- The in the canal (ITC) hearing aid is custom molded and fits partly in the ear canal. It improves mild to moderate hearing loss in adults.
- The in the ear (ITE) hearing aid is custom made in either one that fills most of the outer ear or one that fills only the lower part. Both versions improve hearing for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
- A behind the ear (BTE) hearing aid hooks over the top of your ear and rests behind the ear with the receiver in the ear. People of all ages with any level of hearing loss can use this style. This style also comes in an open fit version that keeps the ear canal open to allow for low-frequency sounds to enter the ear naturally while amplifying high-frequency sounds.
Extended-wear hearing aids and middle ear implants are also available. Extended-wear hearing aids are non-surgically placed in the ear canal by an audiologist and can be worn several months without removing them. Middle ear or cochlear implants are hearing systems implanted in the space behind the eardrum that vibrate the middle ear to give the sense of hearing. Implants are useful to improve severe hearing loss or profound deafness.