As the name suggests, completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids are devices that fit inside of the ear canal.
Because only a small portion of the face is visible, CIC hearing aids are appealing to users who wish to discretely wear hearing aids. CIC hearing aids do not need a telecoil to act as a receiver. Instead, the outer ear functions as a funnel to help with sound amplification.
An audiologist can perform a hearing aid evaluation to help you decide if a completely-in-the-canal hearing aid is the right solution for you.
Hearing Tests for CIC Hearing Aids
CIC hearing aids are meant for use by individuals living with mild-to-moderately-severe hearing loss. Mild hearing loss means you have trouble hearing softer consonant sounds and difficulty fully comprehending some conversations, especially with people with certain vocal pitches or tones. With moderately severe hearing loss, speech is generally inaudible without an assistance device.
In order to determine if a CIC device is appropriate for you, an audiometric evaluation will be performed to identify your specific type of hearing loss. Hearing test results can also be used to estimate how much improvement you would likely experience with a CIC device. You may also be evaluated for tinnitus and underlying health issues like diabetes that can affect how well certain hearing aids will work.
Your normal lifestyle and goals with hearing improvement will also be discussed to determine if a CIC hearing aid is a good choice for you. For instance, if you want to hear better in both quieter indoor environments and social situations with background noise, realize that smaller CIC devices have fewer features; although, you will get a more natural hearing experience since the microphone is located closer to the eardrum.
There is also lower feedback because of the way CIC hearing aids are set up, which can produce a more consistent hearing experience. You will, however, have to be cautious in situations where your ears may be exposed to water, since moisture build-up can sometimes be an issue with CIC devices. Some newer models have wireless connectivity that helps with mobile conversations and the use of tech devices like mp3 players.
Initial Fitting and Set-Up
If a CIC hearing aid is the right solution for your needs and personal preferences, the final step in the hearing aid evaluation process it to take careful measurements so one or two completely-in-the-canal devices can be customized for you. An audiologist will then use the data collected from your various hearing tests to set up your new CIC hearing aid. The initial adjustment with settings is typically done during an office or clinic visit with special software.
Since smaller batteries are used with CIC hearing aids, they typically have a shorter battery life. They can also be more difficult to insert if you don’t have good manual dexterity or vision. However, completely-in-canal devices can be appealing to people who would otherwise shy away from using a hearing aid because of visibility concerns. It’s also a device that’s more likely to stay in place because of the way it’s designed. Also, adjustments to settings can be made for further customization during follow-up visits with an audiologist.