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Picking out hearing aids can be difficult if you’re unfamiliar with the many acronyms used to identify common styles. This list includes most of the abbreviations you are likely to run into when researching hearing aids and offers a brief description of each one. The very best way to really grasp the distinctions is to compare them in-person, therefore if any of these explanations are confusing, please contact us to come in and discover the different alternatives.

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

Invisible in Canal (IIC) – The Invisible-in-Canal style of hearing aid fits fully inside the ear canal and is invisible from the outside. Invisible-in-Canal types are generally not suggested for elderly users, but are an excellent choice in middle age.

Extended Wear Hearing Aids – Extended wear hearing aids are placed in the ear canal by a hearing specialist. These devices are worn for 1-3 months at a time without removal.

Deep Canal (DC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the Deep Canal style fits deep inside the ear canal making it invisible. The Deep Canal style has less occlusion than other types but is not suitable for all patients particularly those with a narrow ear canal. Because of its compact size, the DC hearing aid typically has fewer features. For instance, the DC type doesn’t offer directional microphones.

Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC design fits inside the ear canal making it close to invisible. Due to its compact size, the CIC design typically has 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 design is a small hearing aid which fits inside the ear canal and is visible from the outside. Because it is 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 numerous hearing losses and is very easy to handle. It is visible inside the ear, but its greater size allows for more features, more power and an extended battery life.

Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the RIE/RITE design is the smallest among the hearing aids work externally. The RIE/RITE type combines a tiny case that is located behind the ear and a receiver positioned inside the ear connected 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 Fit (also called Open Ear) design blends an external case that rests behind the ear and a clear tube inserted into the ear. The Open Fit/Open Ear design leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and comes in various color options.

Behind the Ear (BTE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE style’s more substantial case makes a greater number of functions possible and is a superior option for people with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are inside the external case which is worn behind the ear. Many colors choices are readily available. The BTE type is often chosen for young children for safety and growth reasons.