Which Hearing Aids Are Right For You

Author thumbnail Ashish Shah  |  Published 08 January 2024  | Updated 16 May 2024  | 10 mins read

An audiologist fitting a hearing aid in a patient's ear.

If you’re tired of asking people to repeat themselves in social situations, or feel like you keep missing conversations happening around you, you might want to consider getting a hearing aid. Hearing aids are a medical device and extremely helpful tool to assist those with hearing loss. They work to amplify sounds  and transmit them directly into your ear, helping you keep track of the conversation and giving you a better quality of life. 

But choosing the right one can be daunting. Read on to learn more about the types of hearing aids, the level of hearing loss they are suitable for, and which ones are best for you. 

An old man holding his ear and appearing to be in pain.

Understanding Hearing Loss

Your level of hearing loss will affect which types of hearing aids you can choose from, as not all models are suitable for all types of hearing loss. Hearing loss is measured in decibels. Normal hearing is considered being able to hear anything greater than 20 dB – which is about the level of someone whispering to you. 

Let’s look at the different types of hearing loss and how they may impact you (It’s important to keep in mind that hearing loss is ultimately subjective and will affect everyone differently).

Mild to Moderate Hearing Loss

Mild hearing loss means you can hear sounds between 21-40 dB and louder. You might find quiet conversations difficult to follow or struggle to hear people speaking in situations with some of background noise. 

41-70 dB is considered moderate hearing loss. You will probably find that you need the radio or TV to be at a higher volume and conversations with lots of loud background noise can be challenging to follow. 

With mild to moderate hearing loss, you have the most options of hearing aids as all types – from Invisible in Canal to Behind the Ear models. Your audiologist will be able to help you choose the best clinical options and style of hearing aid that is suitable for your needs and lifestyle.


Severe Hearing Loss

A hearing loss of 71-95 dB is considered severe hearing loss. You’ll probably have difficulty understanding speech and group conversations at any volume and comprehension is impossible without amplification of some kind. 

You are a little more limited with the styles of hearing aids suitable for this level of hearing loss. The smaller, invisible styles aren’t powerful enough. Instead your options range from In-the-Ear styles to Behind-the-Ear models


Profound Hearing Loss

Profound hearing loss is described as not being able to hear sounds quieter than 95 dB – that’s about the volume of a vacuum cleaner. It’s difficult or impossible for you to hear and understand amplified devices or speech in all environments.

There will be a limit to the type and style of hearing aid that is suitable due to the need for it to be powerful enough to overcome the level of hearing loss.


Do you know the level of your hearing loss?

It’s important to get your hearing tested and understand your level of hearing loss so you can purchase hearing aids that will work best for you. Hearing tests at The Hearing Care Partnership are free. So if it’s been a while since your last hearing test, book a free hearing assessment today. 

Types of Hearing Aids

Close-up on a person's ear wearing an invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aid.

Invisible in Canal (IIC):

This is the smallest hearing aid available on the market. Invisible in Canal hearing aids are custom-fit to the ear canal and completely invisible once in place. However, this type of hearing aid is not suitable for everyone, and it can depend on the level of hearing loss, the size and shape of the ear canal, and what features are desired. 

Even though it sits in the ear canal, discreetly creating a great cosmetically desirable option, it can also have its disadvantages. For example, there’s no Bluetooth connectivity available due to the small size, there is no communication between two hearing aids, and they are not available in with a rechargeable battery which can be a little inconvenient. Additionally, they can also be difficult to adjust as they don’t have a directional microphone that works to maximise Speech in Noise understanding. 

Close-up on a person's ear wearing a completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid.

Completely in Canal (CIC):

Another small and discreet hearing aid models. CIC hearing aids are custom-made to your ear canal and fit completely inside the canal. They’re not entirely invisible but are still a great, cosmetically appealing option for those with moderate hearing loss. How small they are depends on your canal shape and size. They’re not suitable for everyone for the same reasons as the IIC styles above. 

This style of hearing aid can sometimes have directional microphones and Bluetooth capability, but this depends on the manufacturer and how the hearing aid is built. You might sometimes have the option to adjust the aid manually with the use of a button on the hearing aid itself and there are some non-custom-made options available with certain manufacturers as well (battery and rechargeable).

Close-up on a person's ear wearing an in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid.

In the Canal (ITC):

The In The Canal hearing aid is a custom-fitted model that fills about half of the ear. Although they are slightly larger than Completely In Canal hearing aids, ITCs can handle poorer hearing losses as they are more powerful. They also benefit from the ability to have dual microphones, allowing for better localisation. However, this depends on the level of hearing loss, the shape of the ear, and this model is not suitable for everyone. 

The larger size of these hearing aids also means the battery life is often longer than smaller models, and there is also the possibility for a rechargeable battery option depending on the manufacturer. Bluetooth can also be an option which means you have the ability to personalise your settings and connect your hearing aids to devices like tablets and phones, improving accessibility. Their size also means they can be easier to handle than the smaller custom made hearing aids – ideal for less-steady hands. 

Close-up on a person's ear wearing an in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid.

In the Ear (ITE):

In The Ear hearing aids are similar to In The Canal style hearing aids as they offer features and personalisation options. But where the In The Canal models fit inside our year canal, this style is custom-fit to the shell of your ear instead. They’re not as invisible as other, smaller options but they still have a discreet and style and are suitable for those with a higher level of hearing loss. This also means they may be more suitable for people with dexterity and vision limitations.

Close-up on a person's ear wearing a receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aid.

Receiver in Canal (RIC):

This style of hearing aid sits discreetly behind the ear and is connected by a thin wire to a speaker or receiver that sits inside your ear canal. RIC models are suitable for the majority of hearing loss types and ear shapes, and are generally much more discreet than the standard Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aid. They are available in rechargeable options and will often have Bluetooth as standard. Some models also have a T coil (loop system). Depending on the level of technology, your Receive in Canal hearing aids will also have the most up to date features and functionality.

This style is also the most adaptable style of hearing aid especially for potential changes in hearing in the future as the strength of the hearing aid can be adapted if the hearing loss does progress over time.

Close-up on a person's ear wearing a behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid.

Behind the Ear (BTE):

Behind the Ear hearing aids are probably the style of hearing aids you imagine at first. They hook over the tops of the ear with the main component sitting behind your ear. They are usually larger than Receiver in Canal styles and are generally suitable for the majority of hearing losses and ear shapes. They feature a small tube with a mould on the end which transits sound into your ear. 

Some manufacturers provide a rechargeable option but the batteries of this style last longer than in most of the other hearing aid designs. Even though Behind the Ear aids will also include the most up to date features and functionality, they’re not the most discreet option available.

Factors to Consider When Selecting Hearing Aids

When choosing your hearing aids, there are some factors you’ll need to take into consideration. Including the severity of your hearing loss, your lifestyle, and budget as these will all impact the options available to you. 


Severity and Type of Hearing Loss

Because not all hearing aid styles are suitable for all types of hearing loss, you’ll need to make sure you understand your level of hearing. Mild to moderate hearing loss has the most options, while profound hearing loss is often limited to only the most powerful styles.

It’s also important to make sure that the hearing aid selected is not only suitable for the level of loss at that time but will also have the adaptability for potential changes in hearing in the future.


Lifestyle and Daily Activities

Whether your enjoy spending time at home or love nothing more than spending time with friends at restaurants or social events, the best hearing aid for you will be one that matches your lifestyle. 

If you’re very active and enjoy sports or other physical activities, you’ll want a hearing aid that’s durable and can withstand the elements. If you work in a busy or noisy environment, you’ll need a model that can easily filter out background noise.

Music lovers may find Bluetooth connectivity to be useful. Some Bluetooth hearing aids allow you to connect to your phone’s music apps or TV so you can still enjoy your favourite music, shows, and movies. 

Make sure you speak to your hearing aid expert so you can find the right hearing aid to fit your lifestyle.


Budget Considerations

Hearing aids are available at many different price points depending on the model, brand, and additional features on offer. It’s worth discussing with your hearing aid expert what your budget is so they can help find your the best fit for your money. 


Cosmetic Preferences

Another consideration is your cosmetic preferences. Some might not be bothered by the appearance of their hearing aids but it’s worth voicing if you are as some models are more subtle than others. That being said, not all hearing aids will be suitable for every type of hearing loss so it’s important to keep that in mind.

An audiologist performing a hearing assessment on a patient.

Consulting a Professional

Whether you suspect you have hearing loss, it’s been a while since you last had a hearing test, or you have noticed that your hearing has gotten worse, it’s important to visit a professional. 

Hearing assessments with The Hearing Care Partnership are free and easy to book. Our friendly audiologists are available to help you find the perfect pair of hearing aids and answer any questions you may have. So book in your free hearing assessment today. 


It can be daunting to find the right hearing aids but with the right information, you can feel more empowered to make the best choice for you. It’s important to take your lifestyle, hearing level, and budget into consideration. And don’t forget to have your hearing assessed by one of our friendly experts. We’re here to help improve your hearing and quality of life.