The hearing aids of today share little in common with their original counterparts, which were often much larger and decidedly less comfortable to wear. Today, you can expect a hearing aid to be barely noticeable or completely invisible, depending on the model you choose.
The following review of some of the most popular types of devices and their sizes helps summarise the current hearing aid market and what it has to offer:
Probably the most popular type of hearing aid is the Behind The Ear. Usually the length of the case is between 3 and 4 cm and older models can reach up to 5 cm, in contrast more contemporary models can be as little as 2cm. This casing sits behind the ear and most hearing aids offer a very fine tube that connects the aid to the ear canal to deliver the amplified sound.
These tubes usually come with a soft silicone dome covering the end and designed to go into the ear canal. Domes sizes vary from 4 to 10 mm (open domes) and 6 to 10 mm (closed domes). BTEs are preferred by many users, as they are suitable for all kinds of hearing loss types and offer the largest possible number of features and amplification, as well as clarity of sound. Receiver in the Canal is another common type of hearing aid. Their case is relatively smaller than the one of the BTE and its average size is between 2 and 2.5 cm. It is practically invisible when you face the user and still provides the advantages of a BTE - great sound quality and excellent feedback and noise reduction.
In Ear hearing aids are some of the smallest hearing aids available on the market. The size is usually between 1.5 and 2 cm. They are not suitable for all types of hearing loss and especially for children. The device is large enough to offer a good number of functions, but can become blocked with earwax, due to its location in the ear. Another problem is the feedback effect that can occur due to the small distance between the microphone and the receiver.
If you are looking for a really miniature hearing aid, the CIC (completely in the canal, or almost Invisible Hearing Aids) provides the ultimate in discretion, as its size is around 10 mm. However, it is suitable only for people with mild to moderate hearing loss and its usability also depends on the individual shape of the ear canal. CIC's devices suffer from the same problems as the ITE and are also not recommended for people with decreased finger mobility. Their batteries are also very small, harder to replace and have a relatively short life. The smaller size does not allow a variety of programs and functions.