Hearing Aid Abbreviations, Types and Designs

Purchasing hearing aids can be challenging if you are not familiar with the large number of abbreviations used to describe basic styles. The following list includes most of the abbreviations you’ll come across when looking for hearing aids and offers a short explanation of each. The very best approach to fully understand the distinctions is to see them in real life, so if these descriptions are not clear, you should contact us to visit and check out the various options.

What follows is an alphabetical list of common hearing aid styles

  • Behind the Ear (BTE) – Appropriate for mild to severe hearing losses, the BTE hearing aid’s more substantial external case makes a greater number of functions possible and is a good choice for people with poor finger dexeterity. All of the component parts are within the external case which is worn behind the ear. BTE hearing aids come in many colors. This type is frequently chosen for small children for safety and growth reasons.
  • Completely in Canal (CIC) – Suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses, the CIC type fits inside the ear canal making it nearly invisible. Due to its small size, the Completely in Canal design may have fewer features. For instance, the Completely in Canal style does not offer directional microphones.
  • Half Shell (HS) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the Half Shell is a small hearing aid that fits inside the ear canal and is partially visiblefrom the outside. Being slightly larger than the designs which fit further into in the ear canal, additional benefits such as directional microphones are feasible with the Half Shell design.
  • In the Ear (ITE) – Suitable for mild to severe hearing losses, the In-the-Ear design of hearing aid is easy to insert and appropriate for a wide range of hearing losses. It is visible inside the ear, but its greater size allows for more features, additional power and a superior battery life.
  • In the Canal (ITC) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the In-the-Canal style is a small hearing aid which fits inside the ear canal and is externally visible. 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 fully inside the ear canal and is fully invisible from the outside. IIC designs are typically not suggested for the elderly, yet are an excellent option for younger adults.
  • 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 fits behind the ear and a flexible tube placed in the ear. The Open Ear/Open Fit design leaves the ear canal open for natural sound quality and is available in many colors.
  • Receiver In the Ear (RITE) or (RIE) – Appropriate for mild to moderately-severe hearing losses, the RIE/RITE design 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 positioned inside the ear attached by a flexible clear tube. The ear canal stays open for natural sound quality.
  • Power – Created for people with profound hearing loss, the Power style hearing aid has a larger external case worn behind the ear. The larger size allows it to provide the most sound amplification taking advantage of the most powerful current technological innovations.

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