Quick Reference Guide for Hearing Aid Types, Style and Acronyms

Atlanta Hearing Associates' Blog.

Shopping for hearing aids can be difficult if you are not familiar with the many abbreviations commonly used to describe popular styles. This list includes most of the acronyms you will encounter when looking for hearing aids and presents a short description of each one. The very best way to fully grasp the distinctions is to hold them in your hand, so if some of these descriptions are ambiguous, you should contact us to visit and explore the different options.

Below is a list from smallest to largest of well-known hearing aid types

  • Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The IIC 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, but are an excellent choice in middle age.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC design fits inside the ear canal making it nearly invisible. Due to its compact size, the Completely in Canal design typically has fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal type does not have space for directional microphones.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the In-the-Canal design is a compact 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 style of hearing aid is easy to handle and suitable for a wide range of hearing losses. It is visible inside the ear, but its larger size allows for more functionality, additional power and a superior battery life.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RITE) or (RIE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the RIE/RITE model is the smallest of the externally worn hearing aids. The Receiver In the Ear type brings together a tiny case that is located behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear connected 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 combines an exterior case that rests behind the ear and a flexible tube inserted into the ear. The Open Ear design leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and comes in several color options.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s larger external case allows for additional features and is a good choice for anyone with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are within the external case which is worn behind the ear. BTE hearing aids come in many colors. The BTE type is frequently used for small children for growth and safety reasons.
  • Power – Formulated for individuals with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid boasts a larger external case that sits behind the ear. The larger physical size makes it possible for it to supply the greatest levels of sound 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.