Learning the Large Number of Acronyms Used to Define Hearing Aids Styles

Contra Costa Hearing Blog

Purchasing hearing aids can be hard if you’re not familiar with the many acronyms used to identify popular styles. The following collection encompasses the vast majority of the abbreviations you’ll run into when researching hearing aids and offers a brief description of each. The best approach to really grasp the distinctions is to hold them in your hand, so if any of these descriptions are unclear, you should contact us to stop by and check out the various alternatives.

This list is written alphabetically.

  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE hearing aid’s larger case allows for additional features and is a good choice for anybody that has poor finger dexterity. All of the component parts are within the case which is worn behind the ear. A large number of color options are offered. The BTE style is frequently used for children for growth and safety reasons.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Appropriate for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC type fits inside the ear canal making it nearly invisible. Due to its compact size, the Completely in Canal hearing aid typically has fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal type doesn’t have space for directional microphones.
  • In the Ear (ITE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the ITE style of hearing aid is very easy to handle and appropriate for a wide variety of hearing losses. The ITE is visible inside the ear, but its greater size allows for more features, additional power and superior battery life.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the In-the-Canal design 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.
  • 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 styles are generally not recommended for elderly users, but are a wonderful option in middle age.
  • Open Ear / Open Fit – Suitable for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Open Fit (also called Open Ear) model blends an exterior hearing aid case that sits behind the ear and a flexible tube inserted into the ear. The Open Ear/Open Fit model leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and is available in various colors.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RIE or RITE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the Receiver In the Ear design is the smallest of the hearing aids that work externally. The RIE/RITE style offers a very small case that is located behind the ear and a receiver positioned inside the ear connected by a flexible clear tube. The ear canal is open for natural sound quality.
  • Power – Developed for people with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid has a larger external case that sits behind the ear. The greater size allows it to offer the greatest levels of sound amplification using the most powerful modern technological innovations.
The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.