Picking out hearing aids can be challenging if you’re not familiar with the large number of abbreviations commonly used to identify basic styles. This collection encompasses the majority of the acronyms you will encounter when looking into hearing aids and presents a short explanation of each. The best way to truly understand the differences is to see them side-by-side, therefore if some of these explanations are ambiguous, be sure to contact us to visit and check out the different types.

This list is presented alphabetically.

  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s larger external case makes more features possible and is a superior choice for people with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. Many colors choices are offered. This type is frequently used for small children for safety and growth reasons.
  • 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 compact size, the Completely in Canal hearing aid may have fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal style doesn’t have space for directional microphones.
  • 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 small size, the Deep Canal design may have fewer features. For example, the DC type does not have space for directional microphones.
  • Half Shell (HS) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the Half Shell is a small hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is partially visiblefrom the outside. Because it is somewhat larger than the styles which fit further into in the ear canal, additional features such as directional microphones are possible with the Half Shell hearing aidstyle.
  • In the Ear (ITE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the In-the-Ear style of hearing aid is very easy to insert and appropriate for a wide variety of hearing losses. The ITE hearing aid is visible inside the ear, but its larger size offers more features, more power and a better battery life.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC style is a compact hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is externally visible. 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.
  • Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal style of hearing aid fits fully inside the ear canal and is invisible from the outside. Invisible-in-Canal styles are generally not suggested for the elderly, but are an excellent choice in middle age.
  • Open Ear / Open Fit – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Open Ear (also called Open Fit) model brings together an exterior hearing aid case that fits behind the ear and a flexible clear tube inserted into the ear. The Open Fit design leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and comes in several color options.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RITE) or (RIE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear model is the smallest among the externally worn hearing aids. The Receiver In the Ear style combines a tiny case that sits behind the ear and a receiver positioned inside the ear connected by a flexible clear tube. The ear canal remains open for natural sound quality.