Hearing Aid Overview

Hearing Aids

If you’re new to the world of hearing aids, you’ll likely have a lot of questions about the many options you see out there. There are hearing aids for every kind of hearing loss, with every range of options. Some people might need advanced technology to help them navigate complex sonic environments, while others may choose a simpler feature set, for more users around the house.

While the professionals at Focus Hearing will help you find the best option to meet your needs, it never hurts to have some background knowledge to help you understand your options better.

Styles of Hearing Aids

There are a number of hearing aid styles to meet the requirements and desires of a range of hearing aid wearers. In general, larger hearing aids will offer the most robust feature sets and options, as they allow the most space to provide computing and amplifying power. Smaller hearing aids have their advantages, as well, and increasingly offer similar performance to larger models.
BTE hearing aids

BTE (Behind-the-Ear)

BTE hearing aids are the largest hearing aids available. They are appropriate for all types of hearing loss, even severe-to-profound. They house their microphones and speakers in the body of the hearing aid, which sits behind the ear. They deliver sound to the ear canal via a silicone tube, which connects to the hearing aid at one end and an earpiece at the other. BTE hearing aids come in a range of feature sets, from the bare-bones to the state-of-the-art.
RIC hearing aids

RIC (Receiver-in-Canal)

RIC hearing aids are perhaps the most popular hearing aids around. While closely resembling BTE hearing aids, they have a major difference which is that they place the speaker inside the earpiece, rather than in the body of the hearing aid. This means the connection between the earpiece and the body is made with a thin wire, instead of a tube. The earpiece is often made of flexible silicone, which can be vented for those with milder hearing loss. This helps create a more natural sound, as much of the sound you’ll hear actually is natural sound. The same as BTE designs, their larger body size allows the maximum range of feature sets available today.
ITE aids

ITE (In-the-Ear)

ITE aids occupy the outer part of the ear canal and the concha (the bowl-shaped part of your ear, just outside the canal). They are custom-molded to fit your ears exactly, which can make them comfortable for long wear. They are the largest hearing aids that are all one piece. While they may not have all the features of RIC and BTE designs, they come very close. Starkey even makes an ITE hearing aid that is rechargeable!
ITC (In-the-Canal) & CIC (Completely-In-the-Canal)

ITC (In-the-Canal) &
CIC (Completely-In-the-Canal)

ITCs fit all the way in the canal, only visible at the very outside edge of the ear canal. CICs fit slightly further in, such that they may not be easily noticed. The smaller size of these styles means they have smaller batteries than ITEs, which will not last as long. They do, however, have better wind resistance, as the ear’s natural shape tends to keep wind noise out of their microphones. Many options, like Bluetooth connectivity, are still available.
IIC (Invisible-in-the-Canal)

IIC (Invisible-in-the-Canal)

Even smaller still, IICs sit deep in the ear canal. A small silicone string is used to pull them out at the end of the day. Because they sit so deep in the canal, you can actually wear a set of earbuds at the same time! They are the ultimate in discreet hearing aids but have the shortest battery life and most limited feature sets.

Rechargeable vs Disposable Batteries

For many years, hearing aids have all used disposable zinc-air batteries. They get their power when the zinc element inside reacts with oxygen in the air. These batteries last a long time and provide good power for hearing aids.
Rechargeable Batteries

But in recent years, lithium-ion technology has improved greatly. These are the same batteries at work in our smartphones, tablets, laptops, and more. In the last few years, they have become practical for use in many hearing aids, as well. While a single charge does not last as long as the complete lifespan of a zinc-air battery, lithium-ion batteries are now able to comfortably power a set of Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids for a full day’s use. Simply place them on their charging station while you sleep at night, and they’ll be ready for the next day. The charge only takes about 3 hours, but it won’t hurt them to stay on the charger for the whole time you sleep.

Since rechargeable batteries last the entire lifetime of your hearing aids, you never need to change them. This has an added bonus, in that the lack of an accessible battery compartment makes your rechargeable hearing aids more resistant to water and dust.

Also considering that rechargeable batteries are significantly more environmentally friendly, they’re a very worthwhile alternative to consider!



Bluetooth is a very common option these days, and we recommend it for most wearers. Bluetooth allows you to connect your hearing aids to your smartphone, or to any other primary device. By connecting to your phone, you not only gain the ability to stream phone calls and other content, but you can use your manufacturer’s hearing app to control various parameters of your hearing aids, and in some cases even have a follow-up appointment right through the app, where we can adjust your programming over the internet!
MaryAnne Barfield
MaryAnne Barfield
First time wearing hearing aids for me Shannon & her staff made the whole experience so easy and professional took all the anxiety & fear out of getting hearing aids I highly recommend them also very affordable
Judy Noah
Judy Noah
Focus Hearing is a wonderful place for hearing needs ! I was there in March 2022 For my first appt and was treated very well and took care of my needs in a timely manner! The staff is extremely pleasant and efficient ! You won’t be disappointed !!
Anne Dale
Anne Dale
I’m still in my Trial Phase in my Hearing Aids, but I am so pleased with them already! Until Shannon Schneller fitted them after my hearing test, I had no idea how relaxing it was to HEAR so easily and clearly! I didn’t realize how long I had been struggling to make out words and meaning from conversations! Hearing sound was not the issue, but clarity was. Now I am more confident and comfortable around people; I’m not afraid of embarrassing myself by misunderstanding speech. Recently I attended an excellent high school production of the Disney Musical “Frozen”. What a delight to use the Universal setting on my Horizon APP that focused the sound in front and on both sides! This is an amazing set of comfortable hearing aids! I wear glasses to see better—why did I wait so long to HEAR better?!
Richard Pinsonneault
Richard Pinsonneault
In the last thirty days, I've purchased hearing aids, and have also had a follow up appointment with this company. Their professionalism is unsurpassed. They've introduced me to a whole new life. I can now easily hear the beautiful voices of my wife, daughters, and granddaughter, without having to ask, "what," 2-3 times. Life is good. Thank you, Shannon!
Karen Snyder
Karen Snyder
Problem solved thanks to Annie. Ken Snyder
Lisa Lauver
Lisa Lauver
The doctors are great. They made my Mom feel comfortable and explained insurance coverage up front so no surprises