Understanding Hearing Aid Styles and Types and Their Acronyms

Researching hearing aids can be challenging if you are not familiar with the many abbreviations commonly used to describe basic types.

The following list encompasses the vast majority of the abbreviations you are likely to come across when looking for hearing aids and provides a brief explanation of each one.

The very best approach to fully grasp the differences is to compare them in-person, so if these explanations are not clear, please call us to stop by and discover the various options.

This list is presented alphabetically.

Behind the Ear (BTE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s more substantial case makes extra features possible and is a superb option for people with poor finger dexterity. All of the component parts are within the case which is worn behind the ear. BTE hearing aids are available in wide range of colors. This type is often chosen for young children for growth and safety reasons.

Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC type fits inside the ear canal making it close to invisible. Due to its compact size, the CIC design typically has fewer features. For example, the Completely in Canal type doesn’t offer directional microphones.

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

In the Ear (ITE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the ITE style of hearing aid is a fine choice for numerous hearing losses and is easy to handle. The ITE hearing aid is visible inside the ear, but its larger size allows for more features, more power and a better battery life.

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

Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The IIC type of hearing aid fits inside the ear canal completely and is fully invisible from the outside. IIC types are typically not recommended for the elderly, but are an excellent choice in middle age.

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

Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear design is the smallest of the hearing aids work externally. The RIE/RITE type offers a tiny case that is located behind the ear and a receiver positioned inside the ear attached by a flexible clear tube. The ear canal is open for natural sound quality.

Power – Created for people with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid boasts a larger case worn behind the ear. The larger size makes it possible for it to supply the most amplification using the most powerful modern technological innovations.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.