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Finding the right type of hearing aid

Ready to improve your hearing but not sure what type of hearing aid is best for you? You’ve come to the right place. On this page, you will get an overview of:

  • All the basic types of hearing aids
  • Facts and features to consider when choosing the right type for you

Additionally, you are always welcome to visit one of our 12 hearing clinics, where we will be happy to show you some of the most popular hearing aid models available.

Hearing aid type: In-the-ear

There are five types of in-the-ear hearing aids, ranging from the invisible-in-the-canal to the full shell in-the-ear hearing aid:

  • Suited for mild to severe hearing loss
  • The smallest hearing aid style is virtually invisible inside the ear
  • The full shell hearing aid style fits inside the outer bowl of the ear
  • All types are custom-made to suit the shape of your ear, ensuring optimal comfort and sound quality
  • Some models offer Bluetooth® technology so that you can stream sound from your phone, computer, or TV

4 facts about in-the-ear hearing aids

1. Discreet and less noticeable than other hearing aid types

2. May be susceptible to ear wax and moisture build-up

3. Rarely available with rechargeable batteries

4. Can include Bluetooth® streaming and telecoil features

Browse through in-the-ear hearing aid types

Completely-in-canal (CIC)

  • Very small and discreet hearing aid
  • Practically invisible to other people
  • Custom-designed to fit discreetly in your ear canal
  • Option to manually control settings in different environments
  • Can be vulnerable to earwax and moisture build-up

In- the-canal (ITC)

  • Small and custom-made to fit in your ear canal
  • Discreet
  • Longer battery life than smaller models
  • A directional microphone enhances important sounds (like speech) and reduces background noise
  • Easy to insert and remove

Half Shell in-the-ear

  • Custom-made to fit half of your external ear
  • relatively discreet
  • Longer battery life than smaller models
  • Suitable for more severe hearing loss than smaller models
  • Easy to handle
  • Additional, high-tech features make it more versatile

Full shell in-the-ear

  • Custom-made to fit the entire area of your outer ear
  • Provides high-quality sound amplification
  • Longer battery life than smaller models
  • More suitable for severe hearing loss (when compared to smaller models)
  • Easy to handle
  • Additional, high-tech features make it more versatile

Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC)

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

Receiver-in-Ear Hearing Aids

Receiver-in-ear systems are similar to the standard behind-the-ear type of hearing aid. In this case, however, a critical component is contained within the ear. A discreet speaker and/or receiver system is placed within the ear canal and attached by an invisible wire that connects to the remaining hardware tucked behind the outer ear. 

Tips from an audiologist


Find a hearing clinic with in-house audiologists or specialists who provide counselling based on your specific needs. A specialized hearing clinic will have several hearing aid types and brands, allowing you to find the most optimal solution for you.

Hearing aid type: Behind-the-ear

These types are the most popular hearing aids for people with hearing loss.

  • Suited for mild to profound hearing loss
  • All components are housed behind the ear with a clear tube leading to an earpiece that fits inside your ear
  • Modern hearing aids are sleeker and slimmer than older versions and are great for people with dexterity challenges or visual impairment
  • While modern behind-the-ear models are very discreet, they are not as invisible as in-the-ear hearing aids
  • Feature powerful technology and typically have more feature options than in-the-ear hearing aids

4 facts about behind-the-ear hearing aids

1. More powerful and versatile than in-the-ear hearing aids

2. Rechargeable battery options available

3. Some users find the behind-the-ear placement more comfortable

4. Can often connect to and stream wirelessly from smartphones, TVs and tablets

Browse through behind-the-ear hearing aid types


  • Suitable for most types of hearing loss
  • Smaller and less noticeable than traditional BTE hearing aids
  • Rechargeable battery options are available
  • Able to connect to smart devices via Bluetooth®
  • Often connected to a small dome for ventilation

Behind-the-ear (BTE)

  • placed behind the ear, a thin, clear tube connects to an earmold that fits inside the outer ear
  • Suitable for all hearing loss levels and ear sizes
  • Most powerful and versatile type of hearing aid
  • A slightly larger size accommodates more features
  • Connects to smartphone and TV via Bluetooth®
  • Also available with rechargeable batteries

Open-fit hearing aid

  • Sits behind the ear and is connected by a tube that directs the amplified sound down into the ear canal
  • Keeps the ear canal open so that sound can enter more naturally
  • Suitable for mild to severe hearing loss
  • Can adapt to different listening situations
  • Connects to smartphone and TV via Bluetooth®
  • Available with recharcheable batteries

Invisible hearing aids

Modern hearing aids are more discreet than ever before. In fact, many hearing aids are practically invisible. Designed to be especially discreet, the smallest variants of in-the-ear hearing aids are placed inside the ear canal. Examples of these include:

  • Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids
  • Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids

These types are considered to be the most invisible hearing aids available. Since they sit completely inside your ear canal, people are unlikely to notice them.

Several types of behind-the-ear hearing aids are also very discreet and will not be particularly noticeable when worn. Behind-the-ear hearing aids allow for more features and advantages, making them the preferred type of hearing aid for many wearers.

Invisible hearing aids

Rechargeable hearing aids

Some hearing aids offer the convenience of rechargeable batteries. An easy overnight charge allows for hassle-free maintenance by eliminating the need to regularly replace batteries. Having rechargeable hearing aids removes the inconvenience of having to change batteries, which is a benefit to all, especially for those with dexterity challenges.

Rechargeable hearing aids

Bluetooth® hearing aids

If you choose a hearing aid with Bluetooth® technology, you can connect it to your TV so that you can hear the TV audio directly in your hearing aid, making it easier to hear your favourite TV show.

It is also possible to connect a hearing aid to other Bluetooth® devices, such as mobile phones, computers, and tablets. If you have an iPhone, then your Bluetooth® hearing aids can double as a wireless headset, allowing you to listen to music or make hands-free phone calls.

Bluetooth® hearing aids

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What to consider when researching hearing aid types

1. Talk to a hearing professional about hearing aids

Choosing the right hearing aid style can be complicated. There are several factors to consider, and it is always best to receive advice from a professional. A hearing professional has vast knowledge about the different types of hearing loss and is qualified to recommend the best hearing aid type for your individual hearing needs.

The process of choosing the right hearing aid starts with measuring your hearing loss by booking a hearing test.

2. Find a solution that reduces background noise and provides better speech understanding

Hearing aids with background noise reduction assist the user in noisy situations. They reduce the volume of loud background noises, making it easier for the user to hear important sounds (like speech).

All hearing aids have some amount of noise reduction available. The amount of noise reduction varies from model to model.

3. Consider a solution that reduces feedback noise

Hearing aid ‘feedback’ is an annoying, high-pitched sound. It can occur when sound coming from the hearing aid speaker goes back into the hearing aid microphone and is amplified again. This process causes feedback to occur. Historically, hearing aid users have suffered from these uncomfortable feedback noises. However, modern hearing aids have dramatically less feedback issues.

4. Explore hearing aids with a 360-degree sound experience

Hearing technology has developed dramatically in recent years. The latest hearing aids have changed the way hearing aids work to process sound. Instead of only picking up sound from straight ahead, the hearing aids deliver the entire 360-degree sound environment to your brain, thereby reducing the effort it takes you to listen (resulting in less mental fatigue).

You can speak to a hearing professional who can take your personal hearing needs into account and provide the information you need to make the right decision for you.

Book an appointment

5. Be aware of your personal hearing needs

If you suspect that you have hearing loss, it’s a good idea to schedule a hearing test. A hearing test will confirm whether you have hearing loss and identify the severity of it. During your appointment, your hearing care professional can also explain what types of hearing aids might suit your needs.

You are welcome to book an appointment at a hearing clinic near you. The hearing test takes approximately one hour, and you will have the chance to ask as many questions as you need. You will also have the opportunity to try out some of the latest hearing aid technology.

6. How Does a Hearing Aid Function?

Before diving into the various hearing aid types available on the market today, let’s recap how they work. The process is generally similar across all types. First, a microphone receives an audio signal from the outside world. This passes through a tiny amplifier and is turned into a digital (numbered code) or analog (electrical pulse) signal. Afterwards, a built-in speaker in the hearing aid interprets the signal and produces the sound. Many hearing aids include additional features such as button inputs for controls, wireless connectivity including via Bluetooth, and more.

Guide to choosing hearing aids

To ensure you find the hearing aid that suits your personal needs, lifestyle and budget, we are offering a free 30-Day hearing aid trial on the latest hearing aids. Schedule your appointment online today, or call 1-800-267-1571

Questions? Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns regarding your hearing health