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Selecting hearing aids can be challenging if you’re not familiar with the numerous acronyms used to identify popular types. This list includes the majority of the abbreviations you’ll run into when searching for hearing aids and offers a brief explanation of each one. The very best way to truly understand the distinctions is to compare them in-person, so if some of these descriptions are unclear, you should contact us to come in and check out the various types.

The following hearing aid types are listed in rough order from smallest to largest

  • Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal style 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 choice 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 1-3 months without being removed.
  • Deep Canal (DC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the DC style fits deep inside the ear canal and is invisible. The Deep Canal style has less occlusion than other types but is not desirable for all patients especially those with a narrow ear canal. Because of its compact size, the Deep Canal design may have fewer features. For instance, the DC style doesn’t offer directional microphones.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC style fits inside the ear canal making it nearly invisible. Due to its small size, the CIC design typically has fewer features. For example, the Completely in Canal style does not offer 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 slightly 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 a fine choice for a wide variety of hearing losses and is easy to handle. The ITE hearing aid is visible inside the ear, but its greater size allows for more functionality, more power and an extended battery life.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear model is the smallest among the hearing aids work externally. The RIE/RITE type combines a very small case that fits behind the ear and a receiver positioned inside the ear attached by a flexible tube. The ear canal remains open for natural sound quality.
  • Open Ear / Open Fit – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Open Fit (also called Open Ear) design blends an external hearing aid case that rests behind the ear and a flexible tube placed in the ear. The Open Ear/Open Fit model leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and comes in various colors.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s larger external case enables many advanced features and is a superior choice for anyone with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are within the case which is worn behind the ear. Large number of colors options are readily available. The BTE design is often chosen for young children for growth and safety reasons.
  • Power – Developed for individuals with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid comes with a larger case worn behind the ear. The larger physical size makes it possible for it to provide the greatest levels of sound amplification using the most powerful current technologies.