Selecting hearing aids can be challenging if you are unfamiliar with the large number of acronyms commonly used to identify basic styles. The following list includes the majority of the acronyms you will run into when looking for hearing aids and offers a short description of each. The most effective way to really understand the distinctions is to compare them in-person, so if some of these explanations are confusing, please contact us to stop by and check out the various alternatives.
This list is given in approximate order from smallest to largest.
Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The IIC style of hearing aid fits inside the ear canal completely and is fully invisible from the outside. IIC styles are generally not suggested for the elderly, yet are a wonderful option in middle age.
Extended Wear Hearing Aids – Extended wear hearing aids are placed in the ear canal by a hearing professional. Extended wear hearing aids are worn for 1-3 months at a time without being removed.
Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC style fits inside the ear canal making it close to invisible. Due to its small size, the CIC style 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 In-the-Canal style is a compact hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is visible from the outside. 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 design of hearing aid is a fine choice for an array of hearing losses and is very easy to handle. The ITE hearing aid is visible inside the ear, but its larger size allows for more functionality, more power and an extended battery life.
Receiver In the Ear (RITE) or (RIE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear model 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 is 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 exterior hearing aid case that sits behind the ear and a flexible tube placed in the ear. The Open Fit/Open Ear model 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 case makes extra features possible and is a superb option for anybody with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are within the case which is worn behind the ear. Wide range of colors options are offered. The BTE design is frequently chosen for small children for growth and safety reasons.
Power – Formulated for individuals with profound hearing loss, the Power type hearing aid comes with a larger case that sits behind the ear. The greater physical size allows it to offer the most amplification taking advantage of the most powerful current technological innovations.