The main question I get asked a lot is, what type of hearing aids do most people purchase?
The top three purchased type of hearing aids:
RIC "Receiver Inside Canal"
RIC Hearing Aids are unquestionably the most popular of all hearing aids.
Because the RIC fit so comfortably for first time hearing aid patients. Unlike other hearing aids that require a mold, RIC hearing aids have a Dome attached to the end of the Receiver which fits inside your ear canal. This dome comes in multiple sizes and shapes based upon your hearing loss and also comfort of fit. The receiver is connected to the hearing aid shell which fits behind your ear by the receiver line. Most of these RIC hearing aids use a size 312 battery which is small and giving you 7 days of use.
Back in 2007, the RIC had just came out and most people didn't know the advantage of them. Now in 2014, we can fit almost every hearing loss with the RIC from simple 40 dB loss and up to more than 90 dB loss. The receivers come in generally three different sizes 45 dB, 55 dB, and 65 dB.
The RIC Hearing Aids are generally the first to come with bluetooth ability, charger friendly, and remote controlled.
The price range of the RIC hearing aids are generally in the higher end bracket of $2,000 plus because of the technology and research it takes to develop these hearing aids.
CIC "Completely Inside Canal"
CIC Hearing Aids are the choice of someone who wants to hear now but not been seen.
Much like the name means, the CIC hearing aid fits directly inside your ear canal and can not be seen. The CIC is popular with the experienced hearing aid user. The CIC hearing aid takes a size 10 battery and will last 2-3 days of use. That's right, you will run through batteries like water. The process of creating a CIC for your ear canal is to first get an impression made of your ear canal. Once the impression is created correctly, that impression is then sent to the manufacturer to cut a custom mold of your ear canal around the hearing aid circuit that you had purchased. The process general takes 1-2 weeks to create the CIC. Other than the batteries only lasting 2-3 days, the CIC is very high maintenance because it completely fills your ear canal like an ear plug which stops the wax from extruding from your ear. The first thing the wax touches is the receiver on the hearing aid and clogs it. The CIC has to be constantly cleaned with a brush and wax guards to stop the wax from clogging the receiver.
But remember, the CIC is the most discrete hearing aid and nobody can see them.
CIC's hearing aids are generally in the higher end price range of $2,000 plus because of small size and custom mold to fit your ear canal perfectly.
BTE "Behind The Ear"
BTE Hearing Aids is the bread and butter of the hearing aid industry.
The BTE can fit any range of loss from moderate to severe. Primarily the BTE is purchased by patients who need power, longevity, endurance, flexiblity, and the best bang for your dollar. Yes, generally the BTE is lesser in price than any other hearing aids because the size is not a determining factor and more focused on fitting of your hearing loss. Every BTE is connected to a custom mold of your ear canal by a clear tube. Most BTE's are generally larger to accomodate wheels to adust volume, rocker panels, memory switches, and T-coils. BTE's most commonly use a size 13 battery or even larger 675 battery. These batteries can last from 2 weeks to 1 month depending upon level of volume through the BTE.
The BTE hearing aid to me is like the truck of the automotive industry. It's not prettiest hearing aid or sleek like a RIC, but it gets the job done when no other hearing aid is available.
BTE's can range in price from lowest in the industry $300 and up to $2,000 for extreme power with high end technology.
In conclusion, there are many types of hearing aids (CIC, ITC, ITE, RIC, OTE, BTE) but these three are the most commonly purchased hearing aids on the market. Hopefully I was able to explain to you the advantages and disadvantages of each hearing aid. I personally prefer the RIC style hearing aid because all the new hearing technology is being pushed for RIC's and it can fit almost every loss from a new user to an experienced veteran of hearing aids. The RIC can be fitted to a patient within the same day of testing and molds are generally not needed.
If you have questions about choosing a hearing aid or about your current setup, you can contact me William Joe Early from Florida Discount Hearing Aids by calling 407-852-5800 located at 2989 West SR 434 Suite 400, Longwood, FL 32779.
Have a blessed day :)