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What are in-the-ear hearing aids?

In-the-ear hearing aids (ITE) are the most discreet hearing aid styles available. They have no external wires or tubes visible, as opposed to behind-the-ear hearing aids. ITE hearing aids are all custom-made, ensuring both a perfect fit and a discreet look.

When you select an in-the-ear hearing aid, one of our hearing care experts will need to take an impression or scan the inside of your ear, for a personalised fit.

Hearing aid types

3 features of hearing aids in-the-ear

Illustration of ear
Virtually Invisible
Hardly anyone will notice that you're wearing a hearing aid
Illustration of fingerprint
Custom-made
Designed for a personalised fit in your ear canal
Illustration of hand
Easy to handle
Easy to place in your ear and remove when needed
Dispenser demonstrating hearing aids to customers

Hearing aid finder: see which type suits you

Take a minute to find out which hearing aid models are right for you.

Question 1 of 3
What is your level of hearing loss?
What is most important for you in a hearing aid?
Which kind of battery would you prefer?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE R

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE R

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE
  • BTE Plus/Ultra Power
  • In-the-canal (ITC)

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE
  • BTE Plus/Ultra Power

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE R

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE R

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • miniRITE
  • Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)
  • Completely-in-the-canal (CIC)
  • In-the-canal (ITC))

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Your result

Based on your answers, the following hearing aid types might suit your needs:

  • Halfshell/full shell
  • miniRITE

*The result of the test may only be used for guidance and is not meant to replace a more accurate measurement of your hearing abilities and needs by one of our hearing care experts.

Would you like to have a free hearing aid trial?

Step 1 of 5

What are the different in-the-ear hearing aid styles?

Take a look at how the five different ITE styles fit in the ear.

Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids

Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids (IIC) are the smallest hearing aids available. These custom-made hearing aids fit fully inside your ear canal, making them almost, if not completely, invisible. Tiny cords are attached to the hearing aid so that you can remove them easily. They:

  • Adapt automatically to the sound environment
  • Are discreet
  • Can be vulnerable to ear wax and moisture build-up
  • Are better for minimising wind noise (due to their placement)
  • Do not have a directional microphone
  • Can be difficult to adjust for those with limited dexterity

Try for 60 risk-free days Invisible hearing aids

Image shows Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aid in ear

Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids

Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids (CIC) were the smallest hearing aids available before the IIC hearing aids were introduced. But CICs  are still discreet, and the only visible part is typically the face plate and battery drawer. They:

  • Are custom-made to fit discreetly inside the ear canal
  • Are mostly invisible to those around you
  • Can accommodate an optional button that allows you to manually control settings for different environments
  • Can be vulnerable to ear wax and moisture build-up
  • Need adequate ventilation when they are used

Try for 60 risk-free days Hearing aid models

Image shows completely-in-the-canal hearing aid in ear

In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids

ITC hearing aids sit in the lower third of your outer ear and are custom-made to fit your ear canal shape. They:

  • Have a slightly longer battery life than other in-the-ear styles
  • Feature wireless streaming in some models
  • Balance out background noise (via a directional microphone)
  • Are easy to insert and remove
  • Have push button controls
  • Are slightly larger than completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids
  • Have a discreet design

Try for 60 risk-free days Life-changing hearing aids

Image shows in-the-canal hearing aid in ear

Half shell in-the-ear hearing aids

Half shell in-the-ear hearing aids are designed to fit inside half of the your outer ear. The shell of the hearing aid is made to fit the shape of your ear. Half shell in-the-ear hearing aids:

  • Are relatively discreet
  • Have a longer battery life than in-the-canal hearing aids
  • Are suitable for anyone with a more severe hearing loss
  • Are a good option if you want an easy-to-handle device
  • Can house additional, high-tech features

Try for 60 risk-free days Digital hearing aids

Image shows In-the-ear half shell hearing aid in ear

Full shell in-the-ear hearing aids

Full shell in-the-ear hearing aids are designed to fit the entire area of your outer ear. These types of hearing aids are the largest of the custom models since they have larger amplifiers for greater sound amplification. The shell is custom-made to fit the shape of your ear. Full shell in-the-ear models:

  • Are relatively discreet
  • Have a longer battery life than in-the-canal hearing aids
  • Are suitable for anyone with a more severe hearing loss
  • Are a good option if you want an easy-to-handle device
  • Can house additional, high-tech features

Try for 60 risk-free days Bluetooth® hearing aids

Image shows In-the-ear full shell hearing aid in ear

What  is the smallest, most invisible hearing aid?

One of the smallest invisible hearing aids available is the Oticon Opn invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) which is invisible in 8 out of 10 users¹, offering excellent sound quality without compromising on technology.

  • Award-winning technology
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Detects and prevents whistling sounds

Try invisible hearing aids risk free

Audio

Visual

Music

A woman holds a hearing aid in her hand

Music

Meet Oticon OpnTM

 

She inserts it in her ear and touches her ear while looking at herself in the mirror

Music

She puts on her coat and takes a last look into the mirror before leaving

Music

Sounds of sirens and cars driving

Zoom in on her ear and face.

 

The hearing aid with 360° sound

Hear the sounds all around

Music

Zoom out. She smiles and gets surrounded by her friends. She hugs them and smiles

Music

 

Sounds of glass cheering and people talking

Zoom in. She smiles while listening to the different sounds

Music

Sounds of cars

Zoom in on drums. Zoom out: she talks with a friend and two men come over with drinks.

 

Clearly hear different people speaking

Even with noisy environments

Music

Sounds of seagulls

She walks by a window and gazes at her reflection.

 

Custom-made to fit the ear comfortably.

Music

Sounds of sailing boats and the sea

She walks over to her friends and talks with them.

Music

Open up to the world. With the new invisible* Oticon OpnTM

 

Small enough to hide in your ear.

 

Oticon logo


Pros and cons of in-the-ear hearing aids

In-the-ear hearing aids are ideal if you're after a discreet style. They are also a good introduction to hearing aids for first-time users, since they sit out of the way of glasses – and they won't fly off when taking off your jumper! Here are some pros and cons to think about if you're considering in-the-ear hearing aids:

Pros  Cons 
Very discreet
Since these hearing aids sit inside your ear canal, they are considered to be the most discreet style available. 
Disposable batteries
In-the-ear hearing aids are rarely available with rechargeable batteries. 
Less likely to pick up wind noise
Due to their placement in the ear canal, they're less likely to pick up wind noise. 
Most styles are not suitable for severe hearing loss
These hearing aids are mostly suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
Comfortable with glasses
They don’t get in the way of your glasses. 
Not suitable for all ear canal shapes 
Some ear canals may be too small to be fitted with certain in-the-ear hearing aids.

FAQs about in-the-ear hearing aids

Hidden Hearing audiologist Jen Canham
Jennie Canham, Hearing Aid Audiologist and Ceruminologist

Jennie Canham qualified in Audiology in 2003 and has been working in the private sector for over 19 years. She specialises in hearing aid rehabilitation, tinnitus therapy and is also fully qualified in both water irrigation and micro-suction. Jennie is also qualified in British Sign Language. Jennie works in Hidden Hearing’s Leigh-on-Sea hearing centre.

Source:
1. https://www.oticon.ca/professionals/products/hearing-aids/product-details?productId=148625