Hearing Aid Technology Explained

Understanding the different types of hearing aids can be overwhelming. This is a simple guide to learning about the products and how to know which one is best for you. 


The first thing to know is that all hearing aids have a Technology Level and a Model. The Technology Level depends on how sophisticated the circuits of the hearing aid are. Some common features of the Premium Technology Levels include the following:

  • Better control over noises in crowds

  • More sound channels for more precise tuning

  • iPhone Connectivity


Your audiologist will recommend higher levels of technology for people with more active lifestyles. All hearing aids provide increased volume and clarity of speech, but the more advanced Technology Levels have extra tools to do so.

Hearing Aid Models are the different sizes and styles that exist. Here is a brief overview, along with a description of when they are recommended. 

1.      Behind the Ear (BTE) – The Receiver, Microphone, and Amplifier,  are inside the same device which sits behind your ear. 


Advantages – These hearing aids often have  good battery life, are the most durable, and often have the largest buttons. A good entry-level hearing aid.

2.      Receiver in Canal (RIC) – These are the newest style of hearing aids and are most like BTE models.  RIC Hearing Aids are often smaller than other models because the Receiver (speaker) actually sits inside the ear. 



Advantages – The receiver (speaker) is located on the part of the hearing aid that enters your ear, resulting in less distortion than a BTE model. 

3.      In the Ear (ITE) – These hearing aids are custom molded to your ear, and sit inside your ear. These are often matched to your skin tone, but are still quite visible.


Advantages – Durable, easy to keep track of, and effective. This type of hearing aid is simple to put in and is molded to your ear. The battery life can last as long as 16 days. 

4.      In the Canal (ITC) – These hearing aids are also custom molded to your ear, and sit inside your canal. This model is smaller than the ITE and uses a smaller battery. 


Advantages – These are very small devices that are also durable and easy to keep track of. This type of hearing aid is simple to put in and is molded to the shape of your ear canal.

5.      Completely in Canal (CIC) – These hearing aids are tiny and sit inside your ear canal. They are difficult to see, and deliver high sound quality despite their small size.


Advantages – CIC’s are nearly invisible and do not compromise sound quality. They are very small and can barely be seen!


To recap, all hearing aids come have a Technology Level and a Model.


 Your Audiologist will recommend the Model that is best for your needs and you choose the Technology Level that is best for your lifestyle. Hearing Aids are meant to become a part of your daily life and it is important to work with your Audiologist to find which options are going to deliver the results you want. 

Learn More

Starkey Hearing Aids

Food and Drug Administration - Hearing Aids

Mayo Clinic - How to Choose the Right Hearing Aid