Types of Hearing Aids

There are a variety of types of hearing aids that can help with different types of hearing loss or background noise concerns. Sierra Nevada Hearing Aid Center offers in-the-canal hearing aids, in-the-ear hearing aids, behind-the-ear hearing aids and receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids. You need to understand that the size or hearing aid style is independent of the type of circuitry that is inside the hearing aid. Most patients come in wanting the smallest hearing aid available, although a small hearing aid may not be the best choice for their individual hearing loss. We do not attempt to persuade our patients to purchase a particular size of hearing aid, but we do want you to make an informed and educated decision.

Selecting and understanding which hearing aid is right for you can be a challenge. Many factors determine the style of hearing aid we might recommend, including the amount of hearing loss, the shape and size of your ears, listening needs, dexterity and potential health concerns. When it comes to hearing aids, there are multiple features and styles available to suit different hearing needs. It's important to consider several things when selecting the right style to meet your needs.

We offer a wide selection of digital hearing aids. We will work with you to find the best solution for your hearing care needs within your budget.

The following is a brief description of some of the hearing aid styles available at Sierra Nevada Hearing Aid Center.


Completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids are inserted deep into the ear canal for those who want “invisible” hearing aids. Advantages to CIC hearing aids include their discreet appearance and good sound quality because of the way they fit in the ear. Completely-in-the-canal hearing aids are not typically the best choice to treat high-frequency hearing loss, severe hearing loss or poor speech understanding in noise. 


In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids fill the ear canal and may be more cosmetically pleasing than the full shell style. These hearing aids may be susceptible to moisture damage and can make wearers feel “plugged up”. At times, the size can be an issue for wireless devices. Many ITC hearing aid wearers enjoy their discreet look and long battery life.

Full shell in-the-ear

Full shell in-the-ear hearing aids are the largest of the custom fitted in-the-ear aids. ITE’s fill the bowl of the ear. They are the most versatile and powerful of all custom fitted hearing aids and are typically a good option for people with poor dexterity.


Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids are housed in curved cases that fit neatly behind the ear. A custom earmold made to the shape of the ear delivers the sound into the ear canal. BTEs are the most versatile and powerful of all hearing aids, fitting the widest range of hearing losses. Typically, these hearing aids come with a rechargeable battery option and can wirelessly connect to phones. Some BTE wearers have issues with the speaker being susceptible to moisture and ear wax and that the microphone behind the ear is visible.


Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC) hearing aids have gained popularity in recent years due to their small size and natural sound quality of the wearer's own voice. RIC style hearing aids sit snuggly on top of the ear while a tiny wire sends the amplified sound down into the receiver (speaker) inside the ear canal.

If you are currently wearing hearing aids and want to update the style or type of hearing aid you use, the best place to start is with a hearing aid consultation. If you're happy with your current style, you'll often be able to find the same or a similar style, just something equipped with different features. It’s possible the type of hearing loss you have has changed over time, so it’s important to have your hearing tested before updating your hearing aids. Call today to schedule a hearing aid consultation