Hearing aids are a big investment in overall health and well being, but in addition to these benefits some people want their hearing aids to be discreet. That’s why In-the-Ear (ITE) hearing aids have become so popular. In-the-ear hearing aids are discreet, technologically advanced, and fitted for the individual. This customization means that they can vary greatly physically and in their functional features.
In-The-Ear (ITE) Styles of Hearing Aids
Full and Half Shell
Full and half shell hearing aids are custom fit to nestle comfortably within an individual’s uniquely shaped outer ear. This bowl-shaped area can be filled entirely, Full Shell fit, or partially, Half Shell fit. Both styles of ITE are available for mild to moderately severe hearing loss, but the Full Shells are easier to handle, while the half shell are less visible and less likely to pick up wind noise.
Small and discreet this style of hearing aid is designed to fit within an individual’s ear canal. These hearing aids can treat mild to moderate hearing loss, but are small enough to rarely be spotted. Good manual dexterity is a must with ITC hearing aids, and getting a hearing aid to adjust settings is highly recommended.
Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) is a custom fit hearing aid that becomes virtually invisible when placed in within the ear canal. It’s small size has discretion advantages, but can pose a challenge for people who have issues with manual manipulation or dexterity. Advantages include it being very discreet, easy to use with telephones, and less likely to pick up wind noise. CIC hearing aids are smaller to fit within the canal and therefore house a smaller hearing aid battery that needs to be replaced more often.
ITE hearing aids can treat all but those with very severe hearing loss, but because of their constantly changing shape of their growing ear canals are not suitable for children. Below models of ITE hearing aids are reviewed to give you an idea of the technologies available within the ITE style.
Widex's The Mind™: Features include the Zen relaxation and tone program, that helps the wearer manage tinnitus symptoms. SmartSpeak verbal messaging system that alerts the user for needed services or battery replacement. It comes in three models 440/330/220 with the lower number being the base model and the most reasonably priced.
Phonak's Lyric (Extended Wear): Designed for mild to moderately-severe hearing loss, Lyric is a Completely-In-The-Canal hearing aid or what Phonak calls Invisible-In-The-Ear, meaning it's completely invisible. This hearing aid delivers high sound quality and can be worn in the shower, while exercising, and 24 hours a day for up to four months. Users wear it for four months than throw it out. A year’s worth of Lyric is purchased in advance, so when you’re done with one pair, you simply return to your audiologist and have him insert the next one.
Oticon's Intigai: Designed for mild to moderate hearing loss, this hearing aid is an In-The-Ear canal, taking advantage of the pinna and canal to reduce wind noise. Features include a Speech Guard that keeps speech audible even in challenging environments like a restaurant. Optimized Rise2 which gets the lowest power consumption ever in high performing instrument--meaning longer battery life. Automatic Adaptation Manager which automatically and gradually increases flexibility during the fitting process, so you don't have to go back for as many tuning sessions.
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