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There are a lot of different types of digital hearing aids out there. This guide is meant to help you distinguish between all the different kinds and determine which kind is the best digital hearing aid for you!

Digital: The Future of Hearing Aids

Perhaps you’re wondering what makes a hearing aid analog or digital. Analog hearing aids are a much simpler piece of technology, and mainly just amplify sounds to make them louder.

Digital hearing aids, however, are much more complex. They actually convert sound waves from analog to digital signals, and process, filter, amplify, and deliver a custom sound wave to your brain. Digital hearing aids are much easier to tailor to your hearing loss patterns than analog, and the majority of people with hearing loss now use digital hearing aids.

Types of Digital Hearing Aids: BTE, RIC, CIC

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

There are several different styles of digital hearing aids, named for where they sit in or on the ear. Behind-the-ear (BTE) aids consist of a small plastic case that sits behind the ear and an earpiece inside the ear.

Behind the ear hearing aid illustration
Behind-The-Ear (BTE) Model


The case contains all the technical parts and connects to the earpiece by a plastic tube. This style is best for young children because the earpiece can be easily replaced as a child grows.

BTE hearing aids are also easy to clean and handle. A subset of BTE aids is the mini BTE aid, which is smaller than the regular BTE and has a minuscule plastic tube. Mini BTEs also reduce feedback and are more comfortable than regular BTEs.

Receiver-In-Canal (RIC)

Receiver-in-canal (RIC) and receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) styles are similar to BTE aids in that they sit behind the ear and connect to a speaker or receiver in the ear canal. However, the receiver is connected via a tiny wire, rather than a plastic tube. Audicus has three RIC hearing aids: The Spirit, The Clara, and The Wave.

Completely-In-Canal (CIC) and In-The-Ear (ITE)

There are several styles that are placed in the ear, rather than behind it like the BTEs. In-the-canal (ITC) and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids are contained in small cases that fit into the ear canal.

These are the smallest size of aids available and offer both cosmetics and listening benefits. The Aura is Audicus’ CIC-style hearing aid.

Another type of digital hearing aid is in-the-ear (ITE). These are bigger than the ITC and CIC styles. Their bigger size makes them ideal for people who have trouble handling the small size of the ITC and CIC aids.

In the ear hearing aid illustration
In-The-Ear (ITE)


What Are the Best Digital Hearing Aids for You?

With today’s technology, people with hearing loss are able to choose a type of hearing aid that is highly specialized to their needs and preferences. Your audiologist should help you choose the best hearing aid for your type of hearing loss. Completely-in-canal and in-the-canal aids are less likely to pick up wind and ambient noise, but they can be difficult to handle and are susceptible to earwax clogging. On the other hand, behind-the-ear aids are easier to handle and are capable of more sound amplification, but are also more likely to pick up wind and ambient sounds than the others.

Talk to your audiologist about which are the best digital hearing aids for you. They will use your hearing loss needs and personal preferences to guide you to the best piece of technology!

By: Elena McPhillips