Types of Hearing Aids

Here's a listing of the different size designations:
  • BTE - behind-the-ear
  • OPEN BTE - Open-behind-the-ear
  • ITE - in-the-ear (the largest of the custom hearing aids)
  • HALF-SHELL - half-shell (about half the size of the ITE)
  • ITC - in-the-canal (a bit smaller than the half-shell)
  • CIC - completely-in-the-canal (the smallest of the custom aids)

BTE (Behind-the-ear)

The electronics are housed in a case that fits behind the ear. Tubing and a custom made earmold direct the sound to the ear canal. Due to its robust design, this style is especially recommended for children. These types of hearing aids can provide more amplification than smaller devices due to the stronger amplifier and the larger battery.

OPEN BTE (Open Behind-the-ear)

These are among the newest classes of hearing aids and are geared towards treating mild to moderate, primarily mid to high frequency hearing losses.  These hearing aids provide an excellent comfort and cosmetic solution for those individuals who have the appropriate hearing loss, but have avoided traditional technology.  There are many different types of open hearing aids that range in technology level, sophistication of circuitry, and other options such as rechargeable batteries and receiver placement in the ear.  Open hearing aids are often referred to as the hearing aid for the baby boomer generation, yet individuals of all ages can benefit from them.

ITE (In-the-ear)

ITEs are the largest of the custom hearing aids.  The increased size allows them to accommodate large sound amplifiers and multiple features such as telephone switches and multiple microphonesFor those with dexterity issues, the ITEs are the easiest of the custom hearing aids to manipulate.

These are custom fit aids that are about half the size of the full shell in-the-ear.  They can usually accommodate a larger circuit than an in-the-canal style; this may allow them to provide nearly as much power as the full shell in-the-ear hearing aid, but in a smaller size.
ITC (In-the-canal)

ITC hearing aids also fit far into the ear canal. Canal hearing aids use a slightly larger battery than the CIC style. This style is used for mild to moderate hearing losses.

CIC - (Completely-in-canal)

Smallest type of hearing aid made and is almost invisible in the ear. All components are housed in a small case that fits far into the ear canal. This takes advantage of the ear's own natural sound-collecting design and offers convenient usage.

CICs are custom made for each ear; however, these hearing aids are restricted to persons with ear canals large enough to accommodate the insertion depth of the instrument into the ear. This type of hearing aid is not suitable for persons with severe hearing losses.

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