Types and Styles of Hearing Aids and How to Choose the Right Hearing Aid For Your Needs

Posted by Hearing Help Express on Apr 13th 2020

If you're finding yourself in need of a hearing aid, you might be overwhelmed. The landscape of different types of hearing aids is vast and figuring out how to choose the right one can seem confusing. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place, as this article will explain in detail how to choose hearing aids that suit your level of hearing loss, your lifestyle and even your cosmetic concerns. We’ll break down everything you need to know and point you in the right direction to find a perfect solution to fit your hearing aid needs.

HHE Hearing Aids

There are several types of hearing aids that you’ll need to be aware of. Each of them come with their distinct advantages, but there can be trade-offs to each style and size. In order to make the best decision for your hearing aid needs, use the guide below.

Types of Hearing Aids

1. ITE - In-The-Ear Hearing Aids

ITE hearing aids are small, relatively discrete, and occupy a portion of the ear canal as well as some space in the bowl of the ear. The electronic components are housed within the case of the hearing aid and nothing sits behind or on top of the ear. ITE hearing aids are slightly visible and can be seen from the side, but they come in different sizes and strengths.

ITE In the ear hearing aid

ITE Hearing Aids Pros:

  • Easy to insert and remove
  • Easy to use with the telephone

ITE Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Some styles can be bulky
  • Not suitable for severe hearing loss, small ear canals, or people with frequent ear infections
  • Requires frequent cleaning

2. BTE - Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids

BTE hearing aids either sit on top of or behind the outer ear and have tubing that routes sound down into the ear. They come in a wide variety of styles and colors, and if you’re feeling like adding a little flair in your life, some even have fancier designs. If you have severe hearing loss, BTE hearing aids will be the best option for you.

BTE Hearing Aid

BTE Hearing Aids Pros:

BTE Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Not as discreet, more visible
  • While behind the ear aids do fit and can be worn with glasses, BTE hearing aids may feel as if they’re “in the way” of your glasses frames, particularly if the frames are thick

3. ITC - In-The-Canal Hearing Aids

In-The-Canal Hearing Aids are slightly smaller and less visible than the ITE hearing aids. They also can be custom made - although ready-to-wear hearing aid versions are available - and offer similar function to ITE hearing aids. However, if you suffer from dexterity issues or arthritis in your hand, the larger ITE styles may be a better fit for you.

ITC Hearing Aids Pros:

  • Smaller and more discreet than ITE hearing aids
  • Easy to use with the telephone

ITC Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Harder to use if you have finger dexterity issues
  • Not suitable for severe hearing loss, small ear canals, or people with frequent ear infections
  • Requires frequent cleaning

Custom in the ear hearing aid

4. CIC - Completely-In-Canal Hearing Aids

These hearing aids are even smaller than ITC or ITE hearing aids, as only the tiny removal handle of the hearing aid shows outside the canal.

CIC Hearing Aids Pros:

  • Smaller than some other styles
  • Discrete and non-obtrusive

CIC Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Harder to use if you have finger dexterity issues.
  • Requires frequent cleaning
  • Smaller size cannot accommodate memory or manual volume controls

5. IIC - Invisible-In-Canal Hearing Aids

If you don’t want anyone to know you’re using a hearing aid, these are likely for you. Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids are the smallest and most discreet hearing aids you can get, which provides cosmetic advantages. However, these hearing aids do come with some drawbacks, such as shorter battery life, fitting issues based on ear anatomy and potential for more damage from earwax. They are also not always ideal for those with more severe hearing loss.

Hearing Help Express offers an excellent top-of-the-line invisible hearing aid that you can order here.

Ready to wear IIE hearing aid

IIC Hearing Aids Pros:

  • Very discreet and hard to see
  • Cosmetic advantages
  • Excellent sound quality

IIC Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Shorter battery life
  • Might not fit well due to your ear anatomy
  • Not ideal for severe hearing loss
  • Prone to earwax and moisture damage

6. RIC - Receiver-In-The Canal Hearing Aids

Also referred to as Receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids (RITE), these are essentially mini-BTE hearing aids that have the speaker of the instrument located in the ear tip, rather than in the main component of the hearing aid. These hearing aids employ a thin plastic micro-tube that extends from the body of the hearing aid (behind the ear) over the outer ear and into the ear canal. A small, soft tip sits inside the ear canal but doesn’t seal it, allowing for air flow and reducing the feeling of being “plugged up.” Since the receiver is close to the ear canal, less sound energy and battery life have to be used to provide an excellent hearing experience.

RIC Hearing Aids Pros:

Rechargeable hearing aid

RIC Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Bulkier than in-the-ear models
  • Receiver end is more vulnerable to moisture

7. OTE - Over-The-Ear Hearing Aids

Over the ear hearing aids, also known as on-the-ear are a variation of behind-the-ear hearing aids, also called mini-BTE hearing aids. These can be a great deal smaller than traditional behind-the-ear hearing aids. For those looking for a behind-the-ear hearing aid that is more discreet, these may be a good option for you.

OTE Hearing Aids Pros:

  • A good choice for individuals with cosmetic concerns
  • More discreet

OTE Hearing Aids Cons:

  • Can be prone to picking up wind noise

8. CROS/BiCROS Hearing Aids

If you only have hearing loss in one ear (i.e. unilateral hearing loss), you are a good fit for Contra Lateral Routing of Signal - aka CROS or BiCROS - hearing aids. CROS hearing aids are for individuals who have relatively normal hearing in one ear and more severe hearing loss in the other, as the device picks up sounds from the side with little to no hearing and feeds them into the hearing ear. BiCROS hearing aids are perfect for those with severe hearing loss in one ear and some hearing loss in the other, as it amplifies sounds from both sides and feeds it into the better-hearing ear.

CROS/BiCROS Hearing Aids Pros:

  • Good for unilateral hearing loss
  • You can hear sounds from the side with severe hearing loss

CROS/BiCROS Hearing Aids Cons:

  • The extra sound from the side with more severe hearing loss can, at times, interfere with the sound from the good side
  • Can be confusing to figure out where the sound is really coming from

9. Bone-Conduction Hearing Aids

These specialty hearing aids are for individuals who can’t wear conventional hearing aids or who suffer from a conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing aid delivers sound directly to the hearing organ (cochlea) through the skull using vibrations.


While each of these types of hearing aids may have certain advantages and disadvantages, price may also be a consideration for you. Below, we’ve listed each of the hearing aid types and general price ranges:

Hearing aid cost

While these hearing aids prices may seem exorbitant, Hearing Help Express offers discounted prices that can be up to 85% lower than the prices you’d find at your local hearing aid store.

For example, the rechargeable behind-the-ear hearing aids from Hearing Help Express are only $699 and the top of the line invisible-in-canal hearing aids are only $599.

More Tips For Choosing Hearing Aids

Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss: ITC hearing aids, ITE hearing aids, CIC hearing aids, IIC hearing aids

Severe Hearing Loss: BTE hearing aids, RIC hearing aids

Unilateral Hearing Loss: CROS/BiCROS hearing aids

If you’re still unsure of the hearing aid style or type that may be right for you, contact Hearing Help Express has Hearing Health Professionals on hand to help support you with making the correct choice.

You can even take an easy and quick Online Hearing Assessment to help you make your hearing aid decision.

Each of the Hearing Help Express hearing aids comes complete with extra replaceable parts, a convenient carry case, and cleaning tools. Hearing Help Express even offers protection plans and hearing aid cleaning plans to make your experience as convenient as possible.

Don’t let hearing loss continue to hold you back and don’t overextend your wallet by spending on expensive hearing aids that don’t properly fit your needs. Visit Hearing Help Express now and find out about affordable, risk-free, convenient hearing aids backed by a team of experts that will help you live your life to the fullest.