The style may be seen as the cosmetic look of the hearing instrument. However, the style also has important implications for the hearing loss, as certain types of hearing losses function best with certain types of styles.
The following styles need to be matched to your hearing and cosmetic needs:
In The Canal
Instruments that fit completely inside the canal (Invisible In Canal; Completely in Canal) are cosmetically appealing, and work very well on the telephone. They are designed to fit mild to severe hearing loss, and best suit losses that are approximately equal throughout the pitch range. In order to fit inside the canal, the small faceplate (the outer end of the instrument) can only accommodate one microphone. This has implications for the processing of sound in noise.
In The Ear
In The Canal and In The Ear hearing aids may fit mild to severe hearing loss (but more than the IIC and CIC). They are able to have two microphones for directional hearing in noise, and also accommodate extra controls for the user. These may be more suitable when a person’s low-pitch hearing is better than their high-pitch hearing. They also work well on the telephone, and are usually easy to insert and remove.
Behind The Ear
Instruments that fit Behind The Ear are designed for mild to profound hearing loss. They are sometimes even more cosmetically attractive when on the ear than other styles. They allow us to keep the canal open, or semi-open, which is especially good for ears with almost normal low-pitch hearing despite severe high pitch hearing loss. They are able to process information through two microphones, have extra user-controls, accommodate batteries that last longer, and can be robust-particularly because their electronics are protected from the environment of the ear canal. The coupling between the instrument and the ear varies, depending on the acoustic and cosmetic needs of each person.