Ask An Audiologist: If I have really bad hearing, will I need a big hearing aid?

In the past, hearing aid size was largely dependent on the degree of hearing loss. Those with more hearing loss required more amplification. The power necessary to “crank up the volume” meant larger hearing aid receivers and batteries, which in turn drove up the size of the hearing aid. As a result, those with severe or profound hearing loss were told that they were limited to bulkier and more visible Behind-the-Ear (BTE) or In-the-Ear (ITE) models.

However, thanks to recent innovations in miniaturization, it is now possible for those with more severe hearing loss to be fit appropriately with smaller and more discreet hearing aid models, such as Receiver-in-Canal (RIC). As the name suggests, RICs have receivers that are positioned in the wearer’s ear canal and connected to the main hearing aid housing via a very thin tube. This solution significantly reduces the size of the hearing aid housing, which sits behind the ear. While it’s good news that the degree of hearing loss is no longer the main restricting factor in hearing aid size, there are other perceived advantages of slightly larger hearing aids:

In short, even if your hearing loss is significant, you may no longer be limited to “big” hearing aids. Nevertheless, it is important to evaluate multiple aspects of your lifestyle and hearing needs beyond the size of the hearing aid. Whatever your needs, a hearing care professional is the best person to recommend the most suitable options for you.