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Picking out hearing aids can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the many abbreviations used to identify basic styles. This list encompasses the vast majority of the acronyms you are likely to encounter when investigating hearing aids and provides a short explanation of each. The very best approach to really grasp the differences is to see them side-by-side, therefore if any of these explanations are unclear, please call us to stop by and check out the different alternatives.

This list is presented in rough order from smallest to largest.

  • 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 designs are typically not recommended for elderly users, but are an excellent option for younger adults.
  • Deep Canal (DC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the Deep Canal design fits deep inside the ear canal and is invisible. It provides less occlusion than other types but isn’t appropriate for all patients particularly individuals with a narrow ear canal. Due to its small size, the DC hearing aid may have fewer features. For instance, the DC type does not offer directional microphones.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC design fits inside the ear canal making it close to invisible. Because of its compact size, the Completely in Canal hearing aid may have fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal style does not offer directional microphones.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC 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) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the In-the-Ear style of hearing aid is a good choice for an array of hearing losses and is easy to handle. It is visible inside the ear, but its larger size offers more features, additional power and an extended 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 visible from the outside. Being slightly larger than the designs which fit deeper in the ear canal, additional benefits such as directional microphones are possible with the Half Shell hearing aid design.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the RIE/RITE model is the smallest among the hearing aids work externally. The RIE/RITE style offers a very small case that sits behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear attached by a clear tube. The ear canal remains 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 blends an external case that rests behind the ear and a clear tube placed in the ear. The Open Fit/Open Ear design leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and is available in many colors.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE hearing aid’s larger external case allows for more features and is a superior option for anyone with poor finger dexeterity. All of the components are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. Wide range of colors options are readily available. The BTE design is frequently used for small children for growth and safety reasons.
  • Power – Created for people with profound hearing loss, the Power type hearing aid has a larger case that sits behind the ear. The greater size allows it to supply the most sound amplification using the most powerful current technologies.