In the Pursuit of Excellence in Hearing Health Care

CIC

ITE

RIC

BTE

CROS / BiCROS

IIC

ITC

Hearing Aid Basics

It’s commonly believed that 90 percent of the success a hearing aid wearer experiences relates directly to the professional with whom they work, and that individual’s ability to identify the loss correctly, and then select and fit the most suitable devices.

At Coast Hearing and Balance Center, our audiologist is university-trained at the doctoral level, a Fellow of the American Academy of Audiology, and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

What is a Hearing Aid?
A hearing aid is a miniaturized computer that amplifies sound to improve the hearing and speech comprehension of individuals who have hearing loss resulting from damage to the sensory cells in the inner ear.  This damage may have resulted from heredity or infection or aging, from injury or noise exposure, or from the use of certain medicines that can be harmful to the inner ear.

In their most basic form, all hearing aids consist of four components:
1) a microphone, 2) an amplifier, 3) a speaker, and 4) a power source.  Sound waves are received by a microphone, which converts the sound to electrical signals and sends them to the amplifier.  The amplifier increases the power of the signals then transmits them to the ear via the speaker.

At Coast Hearing and Balance Center, we represent the world's
six leading device manufacturers so your options are never limited in terms of sound quality, affordability, or level of technology.

Hearing Aid Styles
By far the most universal style of hearing device worn today is categorized as "daily wear".  Daily wear hearing aid systems use either replaceable or rechargeable batteries.  These devices are small in size and lightweight, and they utilize state-of-the-art digital technology.  These devices provide the patient with the most comfort and flexibility, in that they can be worn when the patient desires to use them, and then removed when the patient does not.  Most important, they’re infinitely adjustable to the wearer’s specific hearing loss and preferences in relation to sound in their environment,

BTE or ITE: What style's best for me?

There are a wide variety of options available in daily wear hearing aid systems.  The most notable is that they are divided into two style categories: 1) Behind-the-Ear (BTE), and 2) In-the-Ear (ITE). 

Within each of these categories, there are several models of varying size, technology, and component configuration.  However, certain models will be more appropriate than others depending upon the patient’s particular hearing loss, ear anatomy, and lifestyle.

Behind-the-Ear Hearing Aids
In the BTE family of hearing aids, most or all of the electronics are enclosed in a small case that sits behind the ear.  Currently, BTEs are the most popular style of hearing aids due to improvements in cosmetics, comfort and feedback cancellation technology.  All levels of technology are available in the BTE, ranging from simple digital to highly automatic adaptive directivity that is exceedingly advanced.

     Many of these devices can be paired with your Bluetooth
     enabled smartphone, or similarly linked to your television, or
     other Bluetooth compatible devices.

 
The three basic styles of Behind-the-Ear hearing aids are illustrated below:

  • Receiver in the Canal (RIC) Open Fit – For mild to severe hearing loss
  • Thin Tube Open Fit – For mild to moderate hearing loss
  • Standard Behind-the-Ear (BTE) – For moderate to profound hearing loss


In-the-Ear Hearing Aids

The ITE family of hearing aids has all of their electronics enclosed in a small case that fits directly into the ear. The smallest devices may be more appealing cosmetically, but their size can limit technology options and amplification, and can be more of a challenge to use for individuals with dexterity and vision issues.

     Most In-the-Ear devices, including CIC’s, can be paired with your
     Bluetooth enabled smartphone, or similarly linked to your
     television and other Bluetooth enabled devices.


The four basic sizes are as follows:

  • Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC) or Micro CIC – For mild to moderate hearing loss
  • Completely-in-the-Canal (CIC) – For mild to moderate hearing loss
  • In-the-Canal (ITC) – For mild to moderately severe hearing loss
  • Standard In-the-Ear (ITE) – For mild to severe hearing loss

CROS or BiCROS: Who can benefit?
Without two working ears, the human brain has difficulty discerning the precise origin of sound.  This means it can be difficult to locate where sounds are coming from—a necessity when carrying on a conversation in a crowded room, or when walking across a busy street.

If an individual is deaf in one ear and possesses normal hearing in the other, our audiologist may recommend a CROS* device as the appropriate solution.  Should someone be deaf in one ear and hearing impaired in the other, this condition calls for amplification with a BiCROS** device.

Depending upon which condition a patient presents, both the CROS and the BiCROS helps you hear all the sounds around you—from your deaf side or better side, without turning your head.

*Contralateral Routing of Signals
**Bilateral Contralateral Routing of Signals


The Bottom Line

Irrespective of the style of the device an individual is fit with, its technology level, or cost, the hearing aid wearer will experience the same excellent care and unwavering commitment for which our audiologist and Coast Hearing and Balance Center are known.