Completely-in-Canal vs Behind-the-ear Hearing Aids

At Embrace Hearing, we sell two styles of hearing aids: Behind-the-Ear/Receiver-in-Canal (BTE/RICs) and Completely-in-Canal (CICs).  These are the two most popular styles of hearing aids world-wide and our models both provide high performance hearing. But there are important differences in the models. 

CiC vs BTE

How do you choose the right style for you? 

The best choice is going to be the one which best fits your hearing needs and lifestyle.  As you consider your options, think about the following factors:

  • Your Hearing Loss. While our BTE models are able to serve all levels of hearing loss, CICs can be a poor choice for the most severe levels of hearing loss.  This is because the speaker and the microphone in the CICs are very close together and this raises the risk of feedback (squealing) at high levels of amplification.  Below is an image showing the approximate range of hearing loss covered by our CiC and BTE aids. Compare it to your hearing test to see which range you best fall into. You can test your hearing loss with our Hearing Test now. 

Embrace Hearing

If your hearing results are within the range of either style, there are a few other things to consider:

  • Discretion.  Both BTE/RICs and CICs are highly discreet (as you can see in the image above).  However, for those with very short or no hair around their ears, there is an advantage to CICs, which sit in the ear canal and out of view to the casual observer. 

    • Bluetooth and rechargability. The ability to do hands free phone calls and the option of rechargeable models is only available on our BTE models (X-Series).

    • Remote adjustments and programming. Although adjustments are rarely required, on the BTE Models we are able to make adjustments remotely using the integrated bluetooth features.

    • Do you frequently wear a face mask or ear protection? CIC models do not require anything behind the ear so they are often preferred by those who regularly wear face masks, large glasses, hard-hats and/or hearing protection, stethoscopes, or use other medical equipment such as oxygen therapy products.

    • Dexterity. For hearing aid wearers with dexterity issues or some numbness in the tips of their fingers, the CiC model may be preferred because they are a little easier to put on - you simply insert it into your ear canal.

      • Comfort: Hearing aids only work if they are worn - so it is critical you choose a style that is comfortable to wear all day long.  BTE aids are generally considered the most comfortable. They have thin, flexible ‘open’ ear tips (domes) for most users that allow the natural sounds of your environment to enter your ear along with the amplified sounds from the hearing aid. On CiC models, we use larger 'sleeve' domes that can give you a sense that your ears are a little ‘plugged’. For some, this is quickly adjusted to. For others it can be very bothersome.

      Still have questions? 

      To compare Embrace Hearing aids to other brands, please see our Hearing Aid Comparator Tool. 

      To see the pricing of these different models, please CLICK HERE

      We are happy to discuss your situation and make a recommendation based on your needs.  Just call us anytime at (888) 929-9555 or send us an email at

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