Shopping for hearing aids can be difficult if you are not familiar with the many abbreviations used to describe common styles. This collection includes the majority of the acronyms you’ll come across when looking for hearing aids and presents a short explanation of each. The ideal approach to truly understand the differences is to see them in real life, therefore if some of these descriptions are not clear, you should contact us to visit and check out the various types.
What follows is a list from smallest to largest of standard hearing aid styles
- Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The IIC type of hearing aid fits fully inside the ear canal and is fully invisible from the outside. Invisible-in-Canal types are generally not suggested for the elderly, yet are an excellent choice in middle age.
- Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC design fits inside the ear canal making it nearly invisible. Because of its small size, the CIC design may have fewer features. For example, the Completely in Canal style doesn’t have space for directional microphones.
- In the Canal (ITC) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC design is a compact 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 ITE design of hearing aid is a good choice for numerous hearing losses and is very easy to handle. The ITE is visible inside the ear, but its greater size offers more features, additional power and a superior battery life.
- Half Shell (HS) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the Half Shell is a custom molded hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is partially visiblefrom the outside. Being somewhat larger than the styles which fit further into in the ear canal, added benefits such as directional microphones are feasible with the Half Shell style.
- Receiver In the Ear (RITE) or (RIE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear design is the smallest among the hearing aids work externally. The Receiver In the Ear type combines a tiny case that fits behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear connected by a flexible tube. The ear canal stays open for natural sound quality.
- Open Ear / Open Fit – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Open Ear (also called Open Fit) model combines an exterior hearing aid case that rests behind the ear and a clear tube inserted into the ear. The Open Ear/Open Fit design 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 hearing aid’s larger case allows for many advanced features and is a superior choice for anybody with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. BTE hearing aids come in many colors. This design is often chosen for young children for growth and safety reasons.