Hearing loss is generally categorized into four distinct levels: mild, moderate, severe, and profound. Which kind of hearing aid is best for moderate hearing loss?

One advantage of dealing with moderate hearing loss is that it allows for smaller, more discreet hearing aids. There are complete-in-canal (CIC), invisible-in-canal (IIC), and receiver-in-canal (RIC) models that can provide enhanced hearing with a minimum of awkward equipment.

A CIC fits into the bowl of your ear, is quite discreet, and can be customized to your ear. An IIC is a smaller unit that fits deep within your ear. An RIC only involves the receiver being in your ear canal, while part of the unit is behind your ear.

Both CIC and IIC hearing aids fit deeply into your ear and require some hand agility, since they are small and can be tricky to insert. They are also more likely to be damaged by earwax and moisture, so they need to be removed and cleaned regularly. They are almost invisible and provide the most “natural” hearing aid sound.

If your hearing loss is in both the low and high end of the spectrum, then the better “seal” of CIC or IIC models might be the best option, as they cut down on the amount of background noise you have to manage.

If your hearing loss is in the high frequencies only, then an RIC might be best. They tend to be more comfortable and will allow the low-frequency sounds you can hear naturally to enter your ear canal, while only the high-frequency sounds are amplified. They provide an “open fitting,” with more airflow and fewer issues with moisture and earwax buildup.