In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids are also sometimes known as Half Shell hearing aids. They are based on the design of an In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids, but are slightly smaller and sit in the lower part of the ear concha filling the ear canal, but not not the whole ear. They are custom made to fit your ear and so sit in your ear securely and comfortably, with the entire workings of the hearing aid sitting within the casing.
Due to their smaller size they are much more discreet than the larger In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell style of hearing aids, however they are still more conspicuous than Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids and Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids. Due to their smaller size, In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids tend to be more suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss as they are only able to accommodate smaller batteries and processors/amplifiers.
As with all hearing aids types there are both advantages and disadvantages to In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell 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 In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell Hearing Aids
• Discreet - as their name suggests, In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aids only fill half of the overall ear concha, this means that they are much smaller and more discreet than many behind the ear or in the ear hearing aid styles. Most models are also available in a range of colours to match your hair/skin tone and so are much less visible. This tends to be one of the main reasons that people choose this style of hearing aid.
• Comfortable - because In The Canal (ITC) hearing aids are manufactured to a mould of your ear they are incredibly comfortable to wear. Their small size and lightweight design mean that most users barely notice that they are wearing them - apart from the fact that their hearing is better!
• Easy To Use - in terms of controllability, In The Canal (ITC) / Full Shell hearing aids often feature the best of both worlds. Because a part of the hearing aid still sits outside of the ear canal it is possible for many models to still incorporate direct control buttons, sliders or wheels on the hearing aid itself, which are handy if you just want to quickly change your hearing aid program or adjust the volume. However as the space on the outer casing is limited more intricate adjustments are often made via a remote control device. This can either be a dedicated appliance or many models now feature bluetooth connectivity to smartphone apps.
• Natural Use With Telephones - compared to many other types of hearing aids where a telephone has to be held slightly above or to the back to ear, users of In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids are able to use a telephone in the normal and natural position. This is because they have all of their functionality placed directly in the ear concha. This can be a real bonus for many people who find adjusting to an unnatural feeling phone position very difficult.
• Easy To Insert/Remove - as a portion of an In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aid still sits in the ear concha itself this makes them much easier to insert and remove, especially compared to the smaller Completely In the Canal (CIC) hearing aids and Invisible In the Canal (IIC) hearing aids.
Disadvantages of In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell Hearing Aids
• Reduced Features/Power Levels - as a result of the In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aid’s smaller size it means that they can only 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.
• Decreased Battery Power/Life - the smaller size of In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aids means that they are usually only able to accommodate smaller battery sizes. This means that the batteries need to be changed much more frequently and they may not be able to provide the amplification power required for some users with more severe levels of hearing loss.
• Conspicuous - although they are much smaller and less noticeable than Behind The Ear (BTE), Open / Receiver In Canal (RIC) and In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids they are not completely invisible and can still be still be seen in the ear. However most models are available in a range of colours to blend in with your hair/skin tone.
• Limited On-Aid Controls - again due to the smaller size of In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aids there is less space for the inclusion of direct control buttons/sliders/wheels on the hearing aids themselves. There may be room for some basic controls, however any more intricate adjustments would need to be made via a remote device or smartphone app which may be off-putting or unsuitable for some users.
• Requires Higher Levels of Dexterity - on a smaller device, such as an In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aid, actions such as insertion/removal, changing the batteries, using the on-aid controls and general cleaning and maintenance require quite high levels of dexterity (and for some people patience!). 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, In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell 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 - although to a lesser extent than with In The Ear (ITE) / Full Shell styles, In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell hearing aids still fit within the ear canal and externally in the ear concha and so can cause issues of occlusion is some users. 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. However in many models vents can be included in the design which can help to alleviate this.
To find out more about In The Canal (ITC) / Half Shell 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)
Completely In the Canal Hearing Aids (CIC)
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.