Hearing Aid Styles

Hearing aids are available in a variety of styles. Hearing aid styles range from nearly invisible devices worn in the ear canals to others that hook over the back of the ear.

Each type has benefits and drawbacks; you’ll have to consider a number of factors when making a buying decision.

Especially important is your type and degree of hearing loss; not all styles will work for every hearing impairment. Your audiologist can help you select an aid that will work best for your specific needs.

Available styles include:

Completely In the Canal (CIC)

Completely In the Canal

All the electronic components in this tiny hearing aid are housed in a shell that is placed inside the ear canal, making it virtually invisible. An attached cord enables it to be removed easily. For mild to moderate hearing loss.

In The Canal (ITC)

In The Canal

A slightly larger version of the CIC hearing aid. Fits in the ear canal, but not as deeply. For mild to moderate hearing loss.

Invisible In Canal (IIC)

Invisible In Canal

This miniature hearing aid is the smallest available, and fits deep in the ear canal. Because it utilizes the ear’s natural contours, less amplification is needed. For mild to moderate hearing loss.

In The Ear (ITE)

In The Ear

ITE hearing aids are placed in the ear canal, but have a visible portion extending into the bowl of the ear. The volume control is located on this visible portion, making it very user-friendly. For mild to severe hearing loss.

Behind The Ear (BTE)

Behind The Ear

This hearing aid is very popular and versatile. The electronics are housed in a case that sits behind the ear, with a thin tube connected to an earmold inside the ear canal. All controls are situated on top of the hearing aid for ease of use. This is the largest hearing aid available, but a popular choice for children and older patients. For all types of hearing loss.

Receiver In The Ear (RITE)

Receiver In The Ear

Like the BTE, but the receiver is separate from the other components and fits in the concha of the ear, making it smaller and less visible. For mild to severe hearing loss.

Open Fit

Open Fit

Another BTE-style device, but lacking an earmold; this frees up the ear canal, leaving it “open” for a more natural sound quality and eliminating the “occlusion effect.” For mild to moderate hearing loss, particularly high frequencies.

Extended Wear


This newest type of hearing aid, marketed under the brand name Lyric, is made to be worn continuously for up to 120 days. It’s implanted very deeply in the ear canal, near the eardrum, and can be kept in place while the wearer exercises, bathes and sleeps. For mild to moderately severe hearing loss.