Shopping for hearing aids can be challenging if you’re not familiar with the large number of acronyms used to identify basic styles. The following list includes the majority of the acronyms you are likely to come across when looking for hearing aids and presents a brief explanation of each one. The very best way to fully grasp the differences is to hold them in your hand, therefore if any of these explanations are ambiguous, please contact us to come in and check out the various alternatives.

The following hearing aid styles are listed in approximate order from smallest to largest

  • Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal type of hearing aid fits fully inside the ear canal and is fully invisible from the outside. IIC types are generally not advised for the elderly, yet are an excellent option in middle age.
  • Extended Wear Hearing Aids – Extended wear hearing aids are hearing devices which are non-surgically placed in the ear canal by a hearing specialist. These devices are worn for 1-3 months without removal.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable 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 style may have fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal style does not have space for directional microphones.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the In-the-Canal design is a small hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is externally visible. Being 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 ITE style of hearing aid is a good choice for a wide variety of hearing losses and is easy to handle. The ITE is visible inside the ear, but its greater size offers more features, additional power and a superior battery life.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the RIE/RITE model is the smallest among the externally worn hearing aids. The RIE/RITE style offers a tiny case that fits behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear connected by a flexible tube. The ear canal remains 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 case that sits behind the ear and a flexible 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 color options.
  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE hearing aid’s larger external case makes a greater number of functions possible and is a superb option for people that has poor finger dexeterity. All of the components are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. BTE hearing aids come in many colors. The BTE design is frequently chosen for children for safety and growth reasons.
  • Power – Designed for people with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid has a larger external case worn behind the ear. The larger physical size allows it to supply the greatest levels of amplification making use of the most powerful current technologies.
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