Hearing Aid Styles

Styles of Hearing Devices

Many of today’s hearing instruments are smaller than a dime. Some are virtually invisible! Even the more powerful hearing devices that traditionally sit behind one’s ear are available in “miniature” styles. Your hearing professional will help you choose the size that is correct for you based on your level of hearing loss, your lifestyle and your manual dexterity. Hearing device styles get their names from where they sit on your ear. Once you know that, their names are easy to remember.

Receiver-In-The-Ear (RITE)/

Open-Fit or Over-The-Ear (OTE) Hearing Aid Styles
Open-Fit Hearing Aid Styles

This style of hearing device is the most popular today due to their inconspicuous nature and excellent sound quality. The receiver is built into a soft open dome and placed inside the ear canal with thin electrical wires replacing the acoustic tube of conventional BTEs.

Completely-In-The-Canal Hearing Aid Styles (CIC)

Completely-In-The-Canal Hearing Aid Styles

CIC hearing instruments are custom-made to fit deep within the ear canal and are nearly invisible. However, they are not suitable for those who have severe hearing loss or who would have difficulty handling a tiny battery.

In-The-Canal Hearing Aid Styles (ITC)

In-The-Canal Hearing Aid Styles

Slightly larger than the CIC, ITC instruments are also custom-made and fill the bottom half of the external ear. Only barely noticeable to those in face-to-face conversation, the ITC uses a slightly larger battery than the CIC style.

In-The-Ear Hearing Aid Styles (ITE)

In-The-Ear Hearing Aid Styles

ITE hearing instruments fit in the bowl of the outer ear (concha) and are custom-fit for the individual. Usually visible when facing another person, ITEs can accommodate larger sound amplifiers and offer more features. Their size makes them easier to handle and allows the use of a longer lasting battery.

Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aid Styles (BTE)

Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aid Styles

In general, BTEs are more powerful than smaller hearing devices due to the stronger amplifier and larger battery. In BTE instruments the electronics sit behind the ear and the sound is directed through a tube into the ear canal. BTEs are also offered in a miniature size.



Lyric is an extended-wear hearing instrument that is designed to be worn continuously for up to four months at a time. It fits deep within the ear canal and is not visible to others. Lyric is safe to wear while exercising, showering and sleeping, and there are no batteries to replace.