top of page
  • Writer's pictureKoorosh Nejad

Should you consider rechargeable custom-made hearing aids?

Updated: Apr 3

Rechargeable ITC (in-the-canal) hearing aids were hot this summer and I think they stay hot. I prescribed and fitted a few rechargeable ITC hearing aids this summer (2023). This article is about the ups and downs of custom-made ITC and ITE hearing aids, and a review of the best rechargeable ITC hearing aids in the UK market.



bes deals for itc hearing aids in London on hearingnow hearing aids store


Frequently asked questions about in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids:

  1. Are in-the-ear custom-made hearing aids better than behind-the-ear ones?

  2. Which one is more durable, BTE or ITC hearing aids?

  3. Do in-the-canal hearing aids require impression-taking?

  4. Are in-the-canal custom-made hearing aids comfortable?

  5. What are the downsides of using ITC and ITE hearing aids?

  6. What are the upsides of using custom-made hearing aids?

  7. Who can benefit the most from ITC or ITE hearing aids?

  8. Would in-the-canal hearing aids suit any patient with hearing loss?

  9. How do I know if in-the-canal hearing aids are good for me?

  10. Does the UK national health services offer in-the-ear hearing aids?

  11. Are in-the-canal hearing aids good for speech understanding?

  12. What is the battery run time of in-the-canal hearing aids?

  13. Which one is better battery-powered ITC or rechargeable ITC?

  14. Can custom-made ITC and ITE hearing aids be adjusted remotely?

  15. Do ITC hearing aids do streaming and hands-free phone calls?

  16. Can a custom-made ITC hearing aid connect to my TV?

  17. Are custom-made ITC/ITE hearing aids more expensive than BHT or RIC?

  18. What are the best rechargeable Custom-made ITC hearing aids in the UK?



Are in-the-ear hearing aids better than behind-the-ear ones?

In-the-canal (ITC) and behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids can hold the exact level of sophistication and ability in sound processing. The differences between ITC and BTE hearing aid styles lie in how well they can satisfy the needs and wants of a particular patient with hearing loss. So in my opinion the criteria of selection between the two must be based on technical reasons.


Which one is more durable, BTE or custom-made ITC hearing aids?

In my professional experience, either one could be prone to faults and failures. In-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids can show some issues right from the start if it is not built in the lab properly. However, if they are made robust, they might be less prone to problems like RICs because they do not have the wire like the receiver-in-canal (RIC) models, or the tube and earmould in the case of behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. RICs and BTEs are made in the manufacturing lines (vs ITC and ITEs in the lab) so they are expected not to show faults right from the start, up until 2-3 years when they may have the speaker wire becoming loose or have a dead speaker.


Do in-the-canal hearing aids require impression-taking?

Yes, all in-the-canal (ITC) and in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are custom-made, hence requiring taking impressions of the ear of the patient. See our full range of custom-made hearing aids here.


Are the in-the-canal custom-made hearing aids comfortable?

The ITC and ITE hearing aids are custom-made based on the impressions taken from the ear of the patient, so they are usually quite comfortable. Occasionally I have come across cases of discomfort with ITC or ITE hearing aids when a patient speaks or chews food. These cases may happen when the audiologist has to ask the lab to make a deep canal ITC to help with the retention of the aids in the ear. There are techniques to rectify the discomfort in such scenarios.



Best deals for rechargeable ITC and ITE hearing aids on HearingNow hearing aid shop


What are the downsides of using ITC and ITE hearing aids?

Here is the list of downsides of considering ITC and ITE hearing aids:

  1. ITC and ITE hearing aids may cause more occlusion (hearing your own voice)

  2. ITC and ITE hearing aids are not very suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss

  3. ITC and ITE hearing aids will be more visible than RIC hearing aids (vanity)


What are the upsides of using in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids?

Here is the list of upsides of considering ITC and ITE hearing aids:

  1. ITC hearing aids work best with masks, glasses, and ear protectors (construction, and machinery workers), as they have no piece that goes behind the ear

  2. ITC hearing aids are less likely to get tangled in long hairs

  3. ITC hearing aids are easier to place and remove (people with dexterity)

  4. ITC hearing aids work best for severe to profound hearing loss

  5. ITC hearing aids are best for patients with irregular pinna (that cannot hold BHE hearing aids on)


Who can benefit the most from custom-made ITC or ITE hearing aids?

In-the-canal and in-the-ear hearing aids can be a great choice for patients with severe to profound hearing loss, those who for occupational reasons need to use safety goggles or ear protectors (that make it difficult for BHE hearing aids), and those with irregular pinna (hard for the BTE to stay). ITC and ITE hearing aids are excellent choices if you wear a pair of NHS hearing aids of earmould and wish to upgrade to a private hearing aid that is better in speech understanding, and noise cancellation, has Bluetooth connectivity and streaming and is rechargeable.





Would in-the-canal hearing aids suit any patient with hearing loss?

ITC and ITE hearing aids would be a great replacement for patients with BHT connected to their earmould that is bulky and uncomfortable (e.g. NHS hearing aids on earmould). This group of patients are usually at severe to profound range of hearing loss. ITC and ITE hearing aids are not recommended to people with mild to moderate hearing loss unless they insist on trying them for occupational reasons (need to wear ear protectors or safety glasses or have irregular pinna.)


How do I know if custom-made in-the-canal hearing aids are good for me?

For start, if your hearing test results indicate that you have a severe to profound hearing loss then that is enough for you to consider ITC hearing aids. Some patients with very narrow ear canals may not be able to use ITC hearing aids as the little speaker needs to be placed inside the ITC right in the ear canal. Best to consult with your audiologist.


Does the UK National Health Services (NHS) offer in-the-ear custom-made hearing aids?

Hearing aids provided to patients with severe to profound hearing loss through NHS are BTE connected to earmould through a tube. In the UK the NHS does not provide custom-made ITE or ITC hearing aids. See our full range of custom-made hearing aids here.





Are in-the-canal hearing aids good for speech understanding?

The in-the-canal or in-the-ear hearing aids (ITC, ITE) can hold the same level of technology as other styles of hearing aids. As such, their ability to hear better and especially understand speech in a noisy environment is quite similar to other styles of hearing aids such as BTE and RIC. The fact that the ITC and ITE hearing aids have their microphones in the concha of the ear provides a more natural sound compared to the input to the microphones on BTE and RIC hearing aids which are located behind the ear. For the same reason, wind noise control is supposed to work better in ITC and ITE hearing aids compared to other styles.


What is the battery run time of in-the-canal hearing aids?

The battery run time of rechargeable hearing aids is around 24 to 30 hours including about 4 to 6 hours of streaming. The battery life of battery-powered ITC and ITE hearing aids is about 5 to 7 days. Your level of hearing loss can play a key role in the run-life of the hearing aid in both models.


Which one is better battery-powered ITC or rechargeable ITC hearing aid?

Both are good for the right lifestyle. If your work schedule is very irregular (hence not able to stick to a routine charging of the aids then battery-powered ITC hearing aids might work better for you. Another group of patients with hearing loss that might find battery-powered hearing aids more practical are those who travel a lot, including for business, and leisure (e.g. camping, outdoors, ...). See more about rechargeable versus battery-powered hearing aids in this article.





Can the ITC and ITE hearing aids be adjusted remotely?

Yes, Premium custom-made ITC and ITE hearing aids are Bluetooth enabled and just like their RIC and BTE counterparts can be adjusted remotely.


Do ITC hearing aids do streaming and hands-free phone calls?

Yes, you can stream the soundtrack, listen to radio, music, podcasts and so on the go with a pair of rechargeable ITC or ITE. In fact, because they seal the ear canal better than the BTE and RIC on domes, listening to music through ITC and ITE hearing aids has a better bass hence is more full and much more pleasant.



Do ITC hearing aids connect to my TV?

Yes, you can connect your Bluetooth-enabled ITC or ITE hearing aid to hear the TV soundtrack through a TV streamer.


Are custom-made ITC/ITE hearing aids more expensive than BHT or RIC?

No, very often the cost of the impression-taking is included in the price of custom-made hearing aids and overall they are the same price as their BTE and RIC equivalent at the technology level.


What are the best rechargeable ITC hearing aids in the UK?

At the time of writing this article ITC hearing aids are quite popular in the UK. Click on each product line to see the range of products in our hearing aid store.



have questions about custom-made ITC hearing aids? Book a Zoom meeting with our audiologist.


Update

Rexton released its rechargeable invisible Rexton Reach inoX CIC in April 2024. The hearing aid is the smallest rechargeable CIC and takes advantage of the same IX platform as Signia SILK IX CIC. Rexton Reach inoX CIC comes with a portable portable charger and when fully charged can run 24 to 29 hours without the need for a recharge. It can connect to the Rexton App for adjusting the volume, setting programs and receiving remote telecare updates. Rexton Reach inoX CIC comes in 3 technology levels, 80, 60 and 40. The product is the choice of hearing aid for people with mild to moderate hearing loss who want a pair of rechargeable and discrete hearing aids. Rexton Reach inoX CIC has received a lot of interest from those who are in search of an affordable replacement for their NHS hearing aids.






Glossary

ITC: in-the-canal

ITE: in-the-ear

BTE: behind-the-ear

RIC: receiver-in-canal

Related Posts

See All

Comments


Shop Hearing Aids

NHS Plus Hearing Aids