CUSTOM HEARING AIDS
Instruments that fit in the ear are custom manufactured from an impression taken in our office. There is a variety of custom manufactured styles and consumers should know that some of these instruments may not allow the inclusion of certain useful features because of size constraints. Smaller hearing instruments use smaller batteries and smaller batteries generally need to be changed more often.We discuss all the aspects of a custom fit hearing device with you.
INVISIBLE IN-THE-CANAL (IIC)
IIC instruments are the smallest custom hearing aids available. They sit deeply in the ear canal and are nearly invisible to the eye. Because of the deep placement in the canal the natural funneling of sound by the shape of the outer ear can be directed to the instrument’s microphone. These instruments are appropriate for hearing losses that are mild to moderate in degree. Size constraints only allow room for a single microphone and the inclusion of a telecoil is not possible. The instrument uses a size 10 battery, the smallest hearing aid battery manufactured.
CIC instruments are slightly larger than an IIC instrument. All of the features and constraints are the same as an IIC. Some ear canals are shaped so that an IIC cannot fit comfortably and a slightly larger CIC is more appropriate and comfortable.
ITC instruments fit in the lower portion of the outer ear bowl. These instruments are larger than a CIC and therefore often allow inclusion of additional features like directional microphones, a telecoil, a program button and a volume control, depending on the size of the ear.These instruments are appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses. ITC instruments typically use a larger size 312 battery.
IN-THE-EAR (ITE) OR FULL SHELL
FULL SHELL ITE instruments fill the entire bowl of the ear. Larger size means more room for features sometimes not available in an ITC, including a telecoil and a rotary volume control. Larger sound transducers can be fit internally that develop more sound power. These instruments are appropriate for hearing losses mild to severe in degree. They may use a size 312 or size 13 battery.
BTE instruments sit near the top of the outer ear and have a tube of varying diameters that connects to an ear bud or ear mold that sits in the ear canal. The sound source can be in the device itself that is then transmitted through a hollow tube or the sound source can be a miniature loudspeaker that fits in the ear canal getting its signal from the device behind the ear via an electrical signal. BTE instruments offer the widest range of features, colors, and power options.
Mini BTE styles can be either what is called a RITE (receiver or speaker in the ear) or a RITA (receiver in the aid). A RITA transmits sound from the aid down to the ear canal via a thin hollow tube. A RITE sends an electrical signal via a very thin wire to a receiver (speaker) in the ear canal. Acoustically, the perceived sound from either type can be quite similar, but the RITE has become more popular and is more widely available. RITE instruments can fit a hearing loss from mild to severe in degree. They are ideal for a mild high frequency loss fit in a style that keeps the ear canal essentially open to hear sounds naturally. These instruments typically use a size 312 battery.
A standard BTE develops sound within the device and is coupled to the ear canal via a hollow sound tube and ear mold. These instruments are typically larger and have room for more on-board controls. This style allows substantial fitting flexibility and is appropriate for all degrees of hearing loss. Because of their larger size, they also allow the possibility of more powerful internal transducers and therefore are an excellent choice for more severe losses. These instruments often use a size 13 battery or sometimes the largest battery available, a size 675