Winnipeg Hearing Centres - Products

By: Winnipeg Hearing  09-12-2011
Keywords: hearing loss, hearing instruments

The 5 Styles of Hearing Instruments

There are five styles of hearing instruments common to all manufacturers. All five will assist with mild to moderate losses, but if the hearing loss is more severe, your options may be more limited.

While size is the most obvious difference, each style has different attributes that are important to consider.

Hearing instruments worn behind-the-ear or in-the-ear can carry more sophisticated technology and more powerful amplifiers; they are also more durable. In contrast, new smaller models reside closer to the eardrum, and that proximity to the inner ear can help deliver a more natural sound quality.

Your hearing professional will provide you with a recommendation and rationale that's based on your specific needs and physiology.

All devices are evaluated and recommended by our Clinical team.


As the name implies, completely-in-the-canal (CIC) instruments fit inside the ear canal. Barely visible-and then only if someone's peering into your ear-the only clue to their existence is the head of a tiny plastic line that assists you with insertion and removal of the instrument. CICs are popular for their aesthetic appeal, but the physiology of some individuals' ears (i.e., a very narrow canal) may make this style unsuitable for them.

In-The-Canal (ITC)

In-the-canal (ITC) instruments are designed so that the majority of the instrument fits down into the ear canal, with only a small portion facing out towards the outer ear. They offer a discreet appearance combined with a size large enough to accommodate options that may include a volume control, directional microphones, and a multi-memory switch.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

In-the-ear instruments house their circuitry in a custom-formed earmold that fits within the outer portion of the ear. Its size and easy-to-use controls also may be helpful for those with limited manual dexterity.

Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

Behind-the-ear instruments have a plastic housing for the components which rests behind the ear. A clear plastic tube funnels amplified sound into an earmold in the ear canal. This model, though developed decades ago, can be every bit as sophisticated as smaller hearing instruments. In fact, it can hold more circuitry and amplify sounds to a greater degree than in-the-ear types. BTE aids can be more durable than other types and a few are even waterproof.

Over-The-Ear (OTE)

Over-The-Ear instruments, also called "open fit" instruments, consist of a small instrument that fits behind the ear with a very fine clear tube that runs down and into the ear canal. Inside the ear canal, a small soft silicone dome or a custom-molded highly vented acrylic tip holds the tube in place. This design is very effective in reducing the occlusion effect - the sound of your own voice when amplified by a hearing instrument. This style of instrument is generally limited to mild to moderate high-frequency hearing losses.

Keywords: hearing instruments, hearing loss

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This includes an extensive case history, Otoscopic Examination, Tympanometry and Stapedial Reflexes, Pure Tone Air and Bone Conduction thresholds, Speech Audiometry and a comprehensive report of our findings. We would be happy to assist you with establishing a claim and obtaining funding for hearing instruments or other assistive listening devices through any third party agency.