What Are In-the-Canal Hearing Aids?

There was a time when hearing loss was difficult to hide: Either you lived with untreated hearing loss and assumed the increased risks of depression, anxiety and cognitive decline, or you had your hearing loss treated with a large, heavy, uncomfortable hearing aid that was extremely visible, and sometimes noisy. But today’s digital hearing aid technology has changed all that, supporting designs that are smaller, lighter and more discreet. In fact, some designs are so small and so discreet, they can be contained entirely within the ear canal. These tiny hearing aids are called, not surprisingly, in-canal hearing aids, and just like the larger behind-the-ear counterparts, they’re packed full of features aimed at supporting clear, natural hearing.

In-Canal Hearing Aid Types

As a leader in state-of-the-art hearing aid technology and design, Beltone is a top provider of in-canal hearing aids, offering several models that can be worn entirely or almost entirely in the canal. Beltone offers four basic styles of canal-style hearing aids so patients can decide which style suits their needs and their lifestyle:

  • Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids are the smallest of the four, just about the size of a raspberry. IICs are placed entirely within the ear canal so they’re virtually invisible while they’re being worn.
  • Completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids are also very small, with most of the device resting within the ear canal and only a small portion visible at the opening of the canal.
  • Mic-in-helix (MIH) hearing aids have two primary components – the flesh-toned microphone portion, which rests in the outer portion of the ear and gathers sounds, and the transmitter portion, which is placed within the canal. The microphone is connected to the transmitter via a tiny, clear tube so it’s very discreet. Placing the microphone in the curved portion of the outer ear helps protect it from wind distortion, which can make it a good choice for people who spend a lot of time enjoying the outdoors.
  • In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are larger than IICs and CICs, but they’re still very small. The slightly larger size and positioning of the ITC makes it easier to remove and insert, and they’re also large enough to accommodate easy-to-use push-button controls. Smaller “mini ITCs” are also available.

Because they’re located inside the ear canal, canal-style hearing aids require careful fitting to ensure the device is comfortable and stays put. All four types of canal-style hearing aids use an impression or mold of your ear canal and 3D computer modeling to achieve an ideal, comfortable fit as well as optimal, natural sound quality. Each device is custom-made and carefully sculpted to match the natural contours of your ear canal.

Is a canal style hearing aid right for me?

Canal-style hearing aids can be an ideal choice for men and women with mild to moderate hearing loss. If you’re interested in learning if a canal-style device is right for your needs, call Beltone Audiology today at (888)210-5846 to schedule a free hearing test and personalized hearing assessment at one of our 27 locations in Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia, or you can contact one of our locations directly by visiting our locations page. We also offer in-home hearing tests at no charge.