woman with in the ear hearing aid

Hearing aids that sit in your ear

These small hearing aids sit hidden in your ear and take advantage of the way your ears are naturally designed to gather sound and funnel it into your ear canals. They are all custom-moulded especially to fit you, and sit well out of the way of glasses, headgear and clothes – making them ideal for active people.

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"As soon as I wore them, I was amazed. I could hear effortlessly and no one could see them. From the very beginning, I could wear them all day long without discomfort"

52 year old In-the-Canal hearing aid user

From invisible hearing aids to ones that fill up your ears

There are four different types of in-the-ear hearing aids:

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    Invisible-In-the-Canal (IIC) hearing aids

    The smallest hearing aids are so small they sit inside the ear canal where no one can see them.

    These ‘invisible’ hearing aids sit far enough in the ear canal that people won’t be able to see them. A thin plastic pin remains accessible, which you use to pull the hearing aids out again. These hearing aids have no buttons, so they automatically adjust to different environments - which means you don't have to touch them or change their settings during the day.

    Invisible-In-the-Canal hearing aids are suitable for you if you have ear canals that are large enough, and have mild to moderate hearing loss.

    Watch a video overview of the IIC design features

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    Completely-In-the-Canal (CIC) hearing aids

    The next size up is called Completely-In-the-Canal. It sits completely inside the ear canal and is hard to see – but not entirely hidden

    These hearing aids are slightly larger than Invisible-In-the-Canal hearing aids, and sit completely in the ear canal. Completely-In-the-Canal hearing aids are slightly visible, however, they are well hidden by using colours that match your skin tone. Because they are not completely hidden, these are suitable for people who want very discreet hearing aids and want to be able to manually control them using a button.

    Completely-In-the-Canal hearing aids are suitable for you if you have ear canals that are large enough, want a control button, and have mild to moderate hearing loss.

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    In-The-Canal (ITC) hearing aids

    Next comes In-The-Canal. It sits in the ear canal, but is larger than the Completely-In-The-Canal, though still discreet.

    These hearing aids are slightly larger and more visible than Invisible- or Completely-In-the-Canal hearing aids. However, they are still very discreet. They sit in the ear canal, and because they are larger than the two smaller types, they can accommodate larger batteries that last longer, more advanced technologies for better sound quality and connectivity to other devices, and more controls such as a wheel to control the volume – which makes them easier to operate manually.

    In-the-Canal hearing aids are suitable for you if you have hearing loss in the range from mild to severe-to-profound and prioritize more advanced features

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    Low profile or In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids*

    The most powerful models are called In-The-Ear, which can be either half-shell or full-shell. These fill up more of the visible part of the ear.

    This type of hearing aid is larger again than In-the-Canal hearing aids. They sit visibly in the ear itself (cocha), rather than just in the ear canal. Because they are larger than the other hearing aids that fit inside your ear, they can accommodate more advanced technology, longer-lasting batteries, and larger controls such as a wheel to adjust the volume. They are easier to handle for people who face dexterity challenges.

    In-The-Ear hearing aids are suitable for you if you have hearing loss from mild to  severe to profound, and prefer to have fully featured hearing devices that are easier to operate.

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"I have used Oticon Completely-In-the-Canal hearing aids for a long time and wow the new Invisible-In-the-Canal is small!
No one notices them."

42 year old man

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What type is best for me?

Your possibilities will depend on the shape of your ears and the degree of hearing loss you have.

To choose among the hearing aids that are open to you, you will need to decide which aspects are most important. Generally, it’s a balance between discretion and features – such as whether you prefer more controls or a smaller hearing aid. If you’re new to hearing aids, it is very hard to know the answers yet.

Your hearing care professional will help you to understand the relative importance, and possibly give you a free hearing aid trial.

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