Comparing hearing aids can be hard if you’re not familiar with the large number of acronyms used to describe common styles. The following list includes most of the acronyms you will come across when looking for hearing aids and provides a brief explanation of each one. The very best way to truly understand the distinctions is to hold them in your hand, therefore if these descriptions are ambiguous, please call us to visit and discover the various alternatives.

Below is a list from smallest to largest of standard hearing aid types

Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal type of hearing aid fits fully inside the ear canal and is invisible from the outside. Invisible-in-Canal types are typically not suggested for elderly users, yet are an excellent option in middle age.

Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC style fits inside the ear canal making it nearly invisible. Because of its small size, the Completely in Canal design may have fewer features. For example, the Completely in Canal style doesn’t have space for directional microphones.

In the Canal (ITC) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC design is a small hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is externally visible. Because it is somewhat 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 ITE design 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 greater size allows for more features, additional power and a better 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 partly visiblefrom the outside. Because it is slightly larger than the designs which fit deeper in the ear canal, additional benefits such as directional microphones are possible with the Half Shell design.

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

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

Behind the Ear (BTE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE hearing aid’s more substantial case allows for more features and is a good option for anybody that has poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. Wide range of colors choices are offered. The BTE style is often used for children for growth and safety reasons.

Power – Formulated for people with profound hearing loss, the Power type hearing aid has a larger external case worn behind the ear. The greater physical size allows it to provide the greatest levels of amplification making use of the most powerful current technologies.