What’s your hearing aid type?

Reading Time: 5 minutes
"by " Albert Stein

Learn about the available hearing aid styles to learn what might be a good fit for you

While getting your hearing checked is the first step to understanding what your hearing needs may be, understanding the various hearing aid types can be beneficial in helping you understand the available solutions and what might be the best fit for you. 

When learning about the various styles of hearing aids, there are two main hearing aid styles to be aware of: behind-the-ear hearing aids (BTE) and in-the-ear hearings aids (ITE). Each category has various subcategories which serve to cater to you as an individual. 

In-the-ear style hearing aids

In-the-ear style hearing aids fit either entirely or partially in your ear canal. These styles are particularly beneficial for users who would like their hearing aid to be contained in their ear. The hearing aids in this category are suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss. The options in this category are:

Invisible in the Canal (IIC): cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_iic
The IIC hearing aid style is the smallest style of hearing aid; these hearing aids sit inside the ear, and they are invisible in 8 out of 10 ears. While these styles are aesthetically pleasing, they may not be suitable for those who would like manual control options and device connectivity. The size of the ear canal can also influence whether this style is a good fit for you, as the IIC may not be suited for those with especially small ear canals. 

Completely in the Canal (CIC): cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_cic
The CIC style hearing aids are discreet like the IIC style, though they are not as hidden as the IIC style. However, these styles offer manual control options. 

In the Canal (ITC): cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_itc
While ITC hearing aid styles are a bit larger and therefore more visible than the IIC and CIC styles, they feature more advanced technology and larger batteries. ITC hearing aids can use Bluetooth to connect to TVs, smartphones, computers, tablets, remote microphone accessories, and music players. The slightly larger size of this style allows you to control the volume and programming. The size also makes them slightly easier to handle. 

Half shell in-the-ear (ITE HS): cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_ite-hs
The half shell in-the-ear hearing aid sits visibly in the ear (as opposed to just in the ear canal). The larger size provides space for larger control buttons and longer lasting batteries. The size also makes them easier to handle. Additionally, half shell in-the-ear hearing aids offer wireless connectivity to smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, remote microphone accessories, and music players.

Full shell in-the-ear (ITE FS): cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_ite-fs
The full shell in-the-ear hearing aid is similar to the half shell in-the-ear hearing aid, but this style is slightly larger, so this feature makes them even easier to handle, control, and adjust. Full shell in-the-ear hearing aids also feature Bluetooth connection capabilities and can be connected to TVs, smartphones, computers, tablets, remote microphone accessories, and music players.

Behind-the-ear style hearing aids

Behind-the-ear style hearing aids are made of two pieces. The first piece is an “ear tip” which sits in your ear canal and sends sounds into your ear. The second piece is a small battery containing unit which sits behind your ear. Since behind-the-ear hearing aids feature this unit which sits behind the ear and houses the electronics and batteries, BTE hearing aids offer full functionality when it comes to sound quality, connectivity, and battery preferences. BTE hearing aids feature Bluetooth capabilities and can be connected to TVs, smartphones, computers, tablets, remote microphone accessories, and music players. The various options in the BTE category are:

Behind-the-ear hearing aids: cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_bte
These hearing aids are robust and come with a wide range of benefits such as connectivity and telecoil features for a rich hearing experience in conversations, in device connectivity, and in public places. This style also features an LED indicator which can provide caregivers with the user’s hearing aid status. This style is also suitable for severe levels of hearing loss.

Receiver in the ear (also known as “Rite” hearing aids): cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_rite
The receiver in the ear (or receiver in canal) hearing aid is the smallest and most discreet of the behind-the-ear hearing aids. This style is iPhone compatible and features a push button which controls volume and listening programs.

Open fit hearing aids: cfbh_illustration-hearing-aids_open-fit
Open fit hearing aids are similar to receiver-in-the-ear hearing aids; they sit behind the ear and include a thin, almost invisible wire that connects to the speaker. These types of hearing aids keep the ear canal open, allowing sound to enter the ear more naturally. This feature allows you to hear background noises more easily, while the sounds which you need to hear most clearly (such as voices) are fed through the hearing aid. 


While having your hearing checked is the first step to understanding your hearing needs, educating yourself on the styles of hearing aids can give you an understanding of what styles may be a good fit for you. There are a range of personal preferences and lifestyle factors to consider such as overall appearance, adjustability, device connectivity capabilities, and listening situations (quiet vs. loud environments). To have your hearing checked and learn more about hearing aid solutions, book a hearing test at your nearest participating clinic.