As their name suggests Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids sit completely within your ear canal, meaning that they are nearly invisible, unless someone were to look directly into your ear. They are custom made to each user from a mould that is taken of the ear canal and so are reported to be very comfortable to wear.
Their position within the ear canal itself means that both the ear and ear canal are still able to do their natural job i.e. funnel sound down towards the eardrum, and it also means that the receiver is able to interact directly eardrum and thus with the stereocilia (hairs in your inner ear) which can then process the sound. This leads to many users reporting a more natural sound with increased directionality detection.
As with all hearing aids types there are both advantages and disadvantages to Completely in The Canal (CIC) hearing aids. Have a look at our summary of these below or contact our expert team to find out more. We can also arrange for your free hearing test with one of our network of qualified local audiologists.
Advantages of Completely In the Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
• Discreet - probably the main reason that people choose Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids is that they are so inconspicuous. Their position within the ear canal itself means that they are only really visible if someone were to look directly into your ear. They are also available in a range of colours to blend with your skintone to make them even more discreet.
• Natural Sound - as mentioned above, because Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids sit within the ear canal itself, it means that the receiver is able to more directly interact with the eardrum and thus the hairs (stereocilia) within your inner ear that transmit sound waves to your auditory nerve. This results in a much more natural sound profile.
• Directionality Detection - because Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids sit within the ear canal, it means that the ear is left free to perform its natural function of channeling sound waves down towards the ear canal. This is advantageous because it means that the natural directionality of the sound can still be communicated to the inner ear, resulting in users being much more able to detect where sounds are coming from than with many other hearing aid types.
• Inconspicuous Control - although some models may have a limited number of on-aid control buttons/switches etc, most adjustments to programs, volume etc will be made via a remote device such as a dedicated controller or via a smartphone app. This means that controlling your hearing aid can be very discreet and unobtrusive.
• Comfortable - because Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids are custom made to a mould of your ear canal they are very comfortable to wear.
• Reduced Wind Noise - as Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids only have a very small portion of their design sitting externally to the ear canal (if at all), then issues with the hearing aid picking up and transmitting wind noise are greatly reduced.
• Natural Telephone Use - compared to many other types of hearing aids where a telephone has to be held slightly above or to the back to ear, Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids sit deep enough within the ear to mean that a telephone can be used in the usual position. This can be a real bonus for many people who find adjusting to an unnatural feeling phone position very difficult.
• Unobtrusive To Helmets etc - the same reason that applies to being able to use telephones naturally means that Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids can easily be used whilst wearing helmets or other headgear. This makes them much more suitable for users with active lifestyles.
Disadvantages to Completely In the Canal (CIC) Hearing Aids
• Decreased Battery Power/Life - the smaller size of Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids means that they are only able to accommodate the smallest battery sizes. This means that their batteries need to be changed much more frequently and they are generally not able to provide the amplification power required for some users with more severe levels of hearing loss.
• Reduced Features/Power Levels - due to the smaller size of Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids, they are only able to incorporate smaller processors/amplifiers etc. This means that they may not be able to deliver the power levels required for users with more severe hearing loss. They also may not be able to accommodate some of the extra technological functions that you can find in some larger sized hearing aids and can only include one microphone. However as mentioned above they don’t tend to suffer with the directionality issues of other outer or behind the ear hearing aid types.
• Requires A Remote Control - although some models may have some very basic on-aid control buttons, to perform any more intricate adjustments on Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids you will require either a remote device or bluetooth connection to a smartphone app which may be off-putting or unsuitable for some users.
• Requires Higher Levels of Dexterity - on a smaller device, such as an Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aid, actions such as insertion/removal, changing the batteries and general cleaning and maintenance require quite high levels of dexterity. This may mean that they are too small and fiddly for some users who have dexterity issues or visual impairments.
• Increased Maintenance - due to their position within the ear canal, Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids are more susceptible to damage from moisture within the ear and clogging up with ear wax. If they are carefully and regularly cleaned, maintained and dehumidified this should not cause you too many issues, however this level of maintenance may be unsuitable or off-putting for some users.
• Can Cause Occlusion - Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids can cause problems of occlusion as they completely block the ear canal. This results in symptoms such as; hearing your own voice louder or it sounding hollow, feeling that your ear is blocked or chewing food sounding noisy or unpleasant. In some larger styles of hearing aids this can be circumnavigated by including a vent in the aid, however the diminutive size of Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids prevents this from being possible.
• Not Suitable For All - Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids are not suitable for all users, especially if they have particularly small or non-standard shaped ear canals. They are also not suitable for children whose ear canals are still too small.
• Costly - compared to other styles of hearing aids which sit outside of the ear, Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids can cost more to manufacture and repair. However many users feel that the benefits of having a nearly invisible hearing aid which produces one of the most natural sounds on the market is worth the additional cost.
To find out more about Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids and many of the other hearing aid types available contact our experts today. We can also arrange for your free hearing test with one of our network of qualified local audiologists.
To View full details of other types of Hearing Aid in more detail, learn more by clicking on the links below
Behind The Ear Hearing Aids (BTE)
Open and Receiver In Canal Hearing Aids (Open / RIC)
In The Ear Hearing Aids (ITE)
In The Canal Hearing Aids (ITC)
Invisible In the Canal Hearing Aids (IIC)
Super Power Hearing Aids
For more of a summary of each type of hearing aid available and what each represents you can view more by click the link.