Hearing Aid Styles

Opticon Lineup

With more people relying on hearing aids than ever before, hearing aid manufacturers are responding by providing more options and styles to choose from. Gone are the days of the clunky hearing aid; today, those who wear hearing aids can choose from sleek, discreet styles that are barely noticeable to the naked eye. The right style of hearing aid is largely recommended based on the type and degree of hearing loss determined by your audiologist during your hearing evaluation. You will also want to consider your lifestyle and budget needs, for instance, do you live an active lifestyle and prefer something easily worn?

When selecting a style the following is considered:

  • The degree of the hearing loss (power requirements)
  • Manual dexterity and visual abilities
  • Patient budget
  • Cosmetics
  • Skin sensitivities
  • Anatomical/medical considerations
  • Lifestyle and listening needs

Styles of hearing aids

Hearing aids are available in many different sizes and styles thanks to advancements in digital technology and miniaturization of the internal components. Many of today’s hearing aids are considered sleek, compact and innovative – offering solutions to a wide range of hearing aid wearers.

In the ear (ITE)

In-the-ear (ITE) hearing aids are different than canal aids, in that the devices fit inside the outer part of the ear. The technology of the devices is stored inside a hard, plastic case. Because of their larger size, ITE hearing aids are suitable for individuals with mild-to-moderately-severe hearing loss.


Invisible in canal (IIC)

The smallest hearing aid available and recommended for individuals with mild-to-moderate hearing loss.


Completely in canal (CIC)

Fits entirely in the ear canal and is comfortable and unnoticeable. The CIC is more suitable for mild-to-moderate hearing loss.


In the canal (ITC)

A small unnoticeable style, recommended for mild-to-moderately severe hearing loss.

Full Shell ITE

Full shell in the ear (ITE)

Full shell models sit flush within the entire ear bowl. Their size allows the maximum number of additional controls and features such as directional microphones. They use a larger, longer lasting battery size than the smaller styles and can fit a larger receiver with enough power for even some severe hearing losses. Because of their flexibility, they’re recommended for mild-to-severe hearing loss.

Behind the ear

Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids also house the device’s components in a slim plastic case that fits behind the ear. However, unlike an ITE, the plastic case sits behind the ear of a BTE hearing aid. These hearing aids are ideal for individuals with mild-to-profound hearing loss.

Receiver in the ear (RITE)

Receiver in ear (RIC)

RIC models are mini BTEs that have the speaker of the instrument incorporated in the ear tip.  RIC instruments are extremely comfortable in the ear, unnoticeable and can fit mild-to-severe hearing losses.

While the number of options you have to choose from can be overwhelming, at The Hearing and Tinnitus Center will help you find the device that is best suited to your needs. We strive to find you a device that fits seamlessly into your life and can improve your overall experience. We’re here to help all of our patients through the entire hearing aid journey.