What’s your hearing aid type?

✓ Evidence Based

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, getting an understanding of the various hearing aid types can be helpful in helping you to understand the available solutions and what might be the best fit for you.

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

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 various options in this category are:

  • Invisible in the Canal (IIC): The IIC style hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids; they 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 have an influence, so this style may not be suited for those with especially small ear canals.
  • Completely in the Canal (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 will offer manual control options.
  • In the Canal (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 smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, 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): The half shell in-the-ear hearing aid sits visibly in the ear (as opposed to just in the ear canal). The larger size allows them to have 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): 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, adjust, and control. Full shell in-the-ear hearing aids also feature Bluetooth connection capabilities and can be connected to smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, remote microphone accessories, and music players[1].


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 smartphones, computers, tablets, TVs, remote microphone accessories, and music players. The various options in the BTE category are:

  • Behind-the-ear hearing aids: These hearing aids are robust, fully featured hearing aid with 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[2]. This style is also suitable for severe levels of hearing loss.
  • Receiver in the ear (also known “Rite” hearing aids): The receiver in the canal (or receiver in the ear) is the smallest and therefore most discreet of the behind-the-ear hearing aids. This style is iPhone compatible and features a push button which controls listening programs and volume.
  • Open fit hearing aids: 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, so that sound enters 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 various hearing aid styles can give you an understanding of what styles may suit you. There are a range of lifestyle factors and personal preferences 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 a local clinic

[1] Hearing aids that sit inside your ears. https://www.oticon.global/hearing-aid-users/hearing-aids/products/opn-in-the-ear-hearing-aids.

[2] Find the right hearing aid for you. https://www.oticon.global/hearing-aid-users/hearing-aids/products/overview/opn-styles

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