CIC stands for Completely In Canal. Completely in the canal hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids that are offered on the market. They appeal to a large number of people due to their very discreet size that allows them to be invisible to the casual observer.
These hearing aids are extremely tiny devices in a plastic shell that contains all the electronics, including the microphone, receiver and battery. CIC hearing aids can use digital, conventional or analogue programmable technology. They are custom made for the individual ear, fit completely inside the ear canal and can be removed with a tiny plastic wire that is attached to their outer part.
Advantages of CIC hearing aids
CIC hearing aids are inserted in the ear canal and stay very close to the eardrum, which allows them to produce an almost natural sound and a loudness boost. Another convenience is that they are very comfortable for glasses wearers. Their biggest advantage, though, is that they are extremely small and no one can notice them, which increases the confidence of many people who are apprehensive about admitting to a degree of hearing loss. Moreover, they can convince those with even mild hearing loss, who find other models too obvious, to try hearing aids and benefit from better hearing.
Disadvantages of CIC hearing aids
However, these hearing aids are not suitable for everyone; only for those who have large enough ear canals to accommodate them. In addition, they can be used by people who suffer from mild to moderate hearing impairment, as they are not powerful enough to support amplification levels for profound hearing loss. There are other issues to consider before buying a completely in the canal hearing aid.
- not suitable for people with severe hearing loss
- not suitable for people with an excessive earwax buildup and frequent ear infections
- not suitable for children due to ear growth
- not suitable for people with dexterity problems
- have no option for manual volume control due to small size
- their small batteries endure less than e.g. BTE hearing aids batteries and demand more frequent replacements
- the closeness of the microphone and the receiver may result in more feedback
- may cause occlusion (a blocked up sensation)
- cannot filter noises at the performance level of other hearing aids
- demand greater care and cleaning
Completely in the canal hearing aids are difficult to manipulate so if you need an adjustment you will have to turn to your audiologist. Furthermore, they are not recommended for the elderly, as they can be easily lost due to their tiny size. Moreover, their batteries are very small and every replacement could be challenging and frustrating.
Recently, CIC hearing aids have declined in popularity due to the widespread open fit behind the ear models, which are just as much discreet but have much more amplification power and are suitable for all degrees of hearing loss. In addition, they leave the ear canal open and do not cause blocking up and are less susceptible to damage from earwax or moisture.