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What is a CIC Hearing Aid?

By Zabrina W.
Updated Feb 13, 2024
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A CIC hearing aid is one of the four main types of hearing aids, and is very popular because it is small and unobtrusive. The acronym CIC stands for "completely in the canal;" the device fits completely in the wearer's ear canal. Usually, the only part of the hearing aid visible is a tiny, clear piece of wire that is used to pull the hearing aid out when necessary. This piece is usually very hard to see, and a casual observer will rarely notice it. This makes a CIC hearing aid good for those who are unwilling to disclose their hearing loss to others, for personal or professional reasons.

Not everybody can wear a CIC hearing aid. A completely in the canal hearing aid is a very small device, so it lacks the processing power of a larger hearing aid style, such as a behind the ear hearing aid. Consequently, this type of hearing aid is only suitable for people who have mild to moderate hearing losses.

Completely in the canal aids have to be custom-molded to fit the wearer's ear. The ears of babies and children develop quickly, and a CIC hearing aid that fits perfectly when the impression of the child's ear is taken may be too small by the time the custom-molded aid is received; within a month or two, it would have to be remade. This is obviously very impractical for most children, so this type of hearing aid is typically recommended for an adult, whose ears do not grow at the rapid rate a child's do.

The benefits of a CIC hearing aid include the near-invisibility of the hearing aid, and a reduction in the feedback problems that often accompany behind the ear hearing aids. In a humid or rainy environment, the hearing aids are at less risk for water damage, and random accidents are less likely to occur. People who wear both glasses and hearing aids often prefer to wear CIC hearing aids, because they don't take up so much room behind their ears.

Some drawbacks of wearing CIC digital hearing aids include the fact that they are more prone to earwax and moisture damage from the natural processes of the ear canal. Some people also have trouble putting in and taking out a CIC hearing aid, because the small wire is difficult to grip for those who have difficulty manipulating small objects. A CIC hearing aid is a great choice for some individuals, but like every other type of hearing aid, it has drawbacks and is not for everyone.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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