In the Canal or ITC hearing aids are custom made to fit inside the ear canal of the wearer. Unlike Completely in the Canal (CIC) hearing aids, ITC hearing aids only fit partially in the ear canal. ITCs are bigger than CIC hearing aids because of their positioning in the ear canal. Due to their slightly larger size, they are able to carry more features than Completely in the Canal Hearing Aids.
Since ITC hearing aids are placed inside the ear canal, they are less visible than BTE (behind the ear) or ITE (in the ear) hearing aids.
How it Works
ITC hearing aids work in the same manner as CIC hearing aids but they are bigger in size. The microphone, speaker, and batteries are all placed inside the case that fits partially in the ear canal. ITC hearing aids have all the basic features of a hearing aid: the microphone picks up sound, the amplifier makes the sound louder, and the receiver sends the sound to the ear. However, some ITC hearing aids have extra features, depending on the brand and model.
Most ITCs come with automatic volume controls that detect environmental noise to determine the volume level suitable for the user in a particular situation but some may also come with a volume wheel to allow the user to manually adjust the volume of the hearing aids.
Since ITCs are bigger compared to CICs or IICs (invisible in the canal), they have more room for a Telecoil to be added. A T-coil is extra useful when talking on the telephone and can also be used with hearing loops installed in large public places.
ITC hearing aids can accommodate mild to moderate hearing loss, although some models can also work for people with mildly severe hearing loss.
Advantages of ITC Hearing Aids
- Cosmetic Advantages
Due to the placement in the ear canal, ITC hearing aids offer cosmetic advantages that BTEs and other in-the-ear hearing aid models cannot offer. They are less visible compared to BTEs and are generally not noticeable unless one looks in the ear bowl.
- Listening Advantages
ITC hearing aids are easier to use with the telephone, as they don’t get in the way of the telephone receiver. Those that come equipped with a T-coil also offer additional listening advantages especially in large public places equipped with hearing loop systems. Due to their positioning inside the ear canal, they offer a more natural listening experience compared to BTEs. There is also lesser wind noise in ITCs because the microphone is in the canal.
- Directional Microphones
A lot of ITCs have directional microphone in them, which offers a better listening experience for the user. Directional microphones amplify sounds coming from in front of you and decrease sounds coming from behind. This makes it easier to follow conversations while simultaneously eliminating unnecessary background noise.
- Durability and Ease of Use
Compared to CICs and IICs, ITC hearing aids are less prone to moisture damage because they don’t fit deep in the ear canal. Since they are bigger, they are also easier to remove and maintain compared to smaller models.
Disadvantages of ITC Hearing Aids
- Battery Life
Just like completely in the canal and invisible in the canal hearing aids, ITCs have smaller batteries compared to BTEs. As such, battery life is shorter (about 10 to 12 days, depending on use).
- Not Suitable for All Types of Hearing Loss
As previously mentioned, ITC hearing aids can only accommodate mild to moderate hearing loss. While there are some models that can accommodate mildy severe hearing loss, ITCs are not recommended for people with severe to profound hearing loss.
In addition, some people cannot use ITC hearing aids because of the size and shape of their ear canal. ITCs are also not suitable for children because of the size and placement.
The price for In the Canal Hearing Aids can range from $800 for the basic models and $1300 to $2600 for digital hearing aids with more advanced features.