Hearing Aid Types and Styles – An Introduction to Abbreviations for Today’s Hearing Aid Options

Selecting hearing aids can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the many abbreviations commonly used to describe basic styles. The following collection encompasses the majority of the acronyms you are likely to run into when looking for hearing aids and offers a short description of each. The most effective approach to really grasp the differences is to see them side-by-side, so if these descriptions are ambiguous, please contact us to come in and examine the different options.

This list is given in approximate order from smallest to largest.

Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The IIC type of hearing aid fits inside the ear canal completely and is invisible from the outside. Invisible-in-Canal designs are typically not recommended for elderly users, yet are a great option for younger adults.

Extended Wear Hearing Aids – Extended wear hearing aids are positiioned in the ear canal by a hearing specialist. These devices are worn for one to three months without removal.

Deep Canal (DC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the Deep Canal style fits deep inside the ear canal making it invisible. The Deep Canal style has less occlusion than other types but isn’t appropriate for all patients especially those with a narrow ear canal. Due to its small size, the DC hearing aid may have fewer features. For example, the Deep Canal type doesn’t have space for directional microphones.

Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC style fits inside the ear canal making it near invisible. Because of its small size, the CIC hearing aid typically has fewer features. For example, the Completely in Canal type does not have space for directional microphones.

In the Canal (ITC) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the In-the-Canal style is a small hearing aid which fits inside the ear canal and is visible from the outside. Because it is somewhat larger than the models which fit deeper in the ear canal, directional microphones are possible with the In-the-Canal style.

In the Ear (ITE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the In-the-Ear design of hearing aid is easy to handle and appropriate for a wide variety of hearing losses. It is visible inside the ear, but its greater size allows for more features, more power and a better battery life.

Half Shell (HS) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the Half Shell is a custom molded hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is partially visible. Being slightly larger than the models which fit further into in the ear canal, added features such as directional microphones are feasible with the Half Shell design.

Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear design is the smallest of the externally worn hearing aids. The Receiver In the Ear style brings together a tiny case that sits behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear attached by a flexible clear tube. The ear canal stays open for natural sound quality.

Open Ear / Open Fit – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Open Ear (also called Open Fit) model blends an exterior hearing aid case that sits behind the ear and a clear tube inserted into the ear. The Open Ear model leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and is available in various colors.

Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s larger external case makes more features feasible and is a good option for anybody with poor finger dexeterity. All of the components are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. Many colors options are readily available. The BTE style is frequently chosen for small children for safety and growth reasons.