Purchasing hearing aids can be hard if you’re not familiar with the large number of acronyms commonly used to describe common types. The following list includes most of the acronyms you will run into when looking for hearing aids and provides a short explanation of each one. The best approach to truly understand the differences is to see them in real life, therefore if some of these descriptions are ambiguous, please contact us to visit and discover the various styles.
The list below is given in rough order from smallest to largest.
Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal style of hearing aid fits inside the ear canal completely and is fully invisible from the outside. IIC designs are generally not suggested for elderly users, but are a great option for younger adults.
Deep Canal (DC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the DC design fits deep inside the ear canal and is invisible. It provides less occlusion than other models but is not desirable for all patients especially those with a narrow ear canal. Due to its small size, the Deep Canal hearing aid may have fewer features. For example, the DC style does not offer directional microphones.
Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC design fits inside the ear canal making it near invisible. Due to its compact size, the CIC hearing aid typically has fewer features. For example, the Completely in Canal type doesn’t have space for directional microphones.
In the Canal (ITC) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC design is a compact hearing aid which fits inside the ear canal and is visible from the outside. Being 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 In-the-Ear style of hearing aid is a fine choice for numerous hearing losses and is easy to handle. The ITE is visible inside the ear, but its greater size allows for more features, additional power and a superior battery life.
Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear model is the smallest of the hearing aids work externally. The Receiver In the Ear type brings together a very small case that sits behind the ear and a receiver positioned inside the ear attached by a flexible tube. The ear canal is 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 brings together an external case that rests behind the ear and a clear tube placed in the ear. The Open Fit/Open Ear model leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and is available in several color options.
Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE hearing aid’s more substantial case makes extra features feasible and is a superior choice for anybody with poor finger dexeterity. All of the components are within the case which is worn behind the ear. Many colors options are readily available. This design is often chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons.