Hearing Aid Style and Type List – What Do All Those Abbreviations Mean?

Researching hearing aids can be hard if you are not familiar with the numerous abbreviations used to describe popular types. The following list includes most of the abbreviations you’ll come across when looking for hearing aids and provides a short description of each. The best way to fully grasp the distinctions is to see them side-by-side, therefore if any of these descriptions are confusing, be sure to contact us to visit and discover the various styles.

The list below is displayed alphabetically.

Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s more substantial external case enables many advanced features and is a superior option for anybody that has poor finger dexeterity. All of the components are within the case which is worn behind the ear. Many colors options are readily available. This style is frequently used for children for growth and safety reasons.

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

Deep Canal (DC) - Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the DC style fits deep inside the ear canal and is invisible. The Deep Canal style provides less occlusion than other types but isn’t desirable for all patients especially individuals with a narrow ear canal. Due to its small size, the DC style may have fewer features. For example, the DC style does not have space for directional microphones.

Extended Wear Hearing Aids – Extended wear hearing aids are hearing devices that are non-surgically inserted into the ear canal by a hearing specialist. These devices are worn for one to three months at a time without being removed.

In the Ear (ITE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the ITE style of hearing aid is easy to insert and appropriate for a wide variety of hearing losses. The ITE is visible inside the ear, but its larger size offers more features, additional power and a better battery life.

In the Canal (ITC) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the ITC style is a compact hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is visible from the outside. 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.

Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal style of hearing aid fits inside the ear canal completely and is invisible from the outside. IIC types are typically not suggested for the elderly, but are a wonderful choice in middle age.

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

Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the RIE/RITE design is the smallest of the hearing aids work externally. The Receiver In the Ear style combines a tiny case that is located behind the ear and a receiver placed inside the ear connected by a flexible clear tube. The ear canal remains open for natural sound quality.

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