You can probably look at the dust and water resistant rating of the HA you’re checking out to make sure that it has a high enough rating to deal with the moisture issue.
Most of the stigma regarding wearing BTE’s are from the HA wearers themselves, because they care the most about their image and assume that other people think the same of it. But the reality is that most people don’t really care much about what you wear as long as it’s inconspicuous and doesn’t draw attention. I think CICs and newer BTEs/RITEs are much smaller and sleeker than older BTEs, so the newer ones are very inconspicuous and don’t draw attention. Sure, they’re not invisible but people can only see them from certain angles compared to the IICs. The CICs can only be seen if people are looking at 90 degrees at your ear, and the BTE can only be seen if people are looking at you from behind. But most people probably don’t think twice about it after they’ve seen it. There’s a difference between inconspicuous and invisible. In the beginning you said you want the HAs to be inconspicuous, but based on what you said here, it seems like what you really want is invisible, which is OK, too. After all, YOU have to be happy with your choice.
I think it’s similar to wearing glasses. Many people don’t like wearing glasses and prefer contact lens, which is fine. But nobody really cares if those contact lens wearers wear glasses or contact lens. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you want the IICs because that’s what YOU want, then it’s fine and that’s why there’s a market for IICs. But if you want IICs because you don’t want PEOPLE to know you’re wearing HAs, then I’d say don’t worry too much about what people think because most people don’t care.
I’ve gone through the same concerns you have when I first started wearing HAs when I was still fairly young (well, middle age). But after I’ve overcome those concerns and decided to wear HAs (they didn’t have IICs back then, so I wore CICs), I quickly found out that nobody cared or commented on the fact that I was wearing HAs. I now wear BTE/RITCs because they gave me the most advanced technologies and features for the money. And still nobody cares to say anything about the fact that I wear them. I’m a male and I do have hair, but my hair is short so my BTE/RITCs are visible if people are behind me.
I think in the old days wearing HAs is a sensitive stigma because they were big and ugly and nobody wears it but your old grandmas and grandpas. But nowadays, so many people wear headphones and earbuds and having very noticeable bluetooth devices hanging on their ears walking around, so having a device on your ear is a lot more socially acceptable than before. Even if it’s obvious that it’s an HA and not one of those other devices, the concept of wearables has taken off enough that it’s become the norm instead of the oddball. I actually think that in the future, the wireless conveniences of HAs that allow people to listen to music or watch movies or have phone calls without having to wear more bulky wireless devices that are a lot more conspicuous, plus hopefully the lowering in HA costs, plus the fact that HAs can also be customizable to their hearing loss (even for people with very mild losses who don’t normally need to wear HAs), will make wearing HAs even more common and acceptable to the masses. It’s going to be the direct wireless capabilities and conveniences without even needing a streamer that’s going to open up the door to the popularity of HAs. They’ll probably won’t be called HAs anymore. They’ll probably be called wireless mini universal listening wearable devices. Then it’ll become cool to be wearing them, not a stigma to be wearing them.