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Glossary of terms and abbreviations for hearing aids

The hearing aid industry, like most other industries, uses many abbreviations and terms which may be unfamiliar to the lay person. This list is intended as a guide for anyone trying to research hearing aids or hearing aid services. Although you may be looking for a particular abbreviation or item of jargon it is most certainly worthwhile perusing the whole list as you will no doubt encounter the majority of these terms when doing your homework.

Custom made hearing aid. An impression is taken of the ear and the hearing aid is then manufactured to the precise dimensions of the ear. These come in a range of different sizes.

CIC. This refers to a hearing aid that is Completely In the Canal. This is the smallest perhaps the most cosmetic hearing aid as it is worn deep inside the ear canal. These aids are not as popular as they used to be as they can cause a sensation of being blocked-up (see occlusion).

ITC or Canal aid. A hearing aid which sits In The canal. It is similar in appearance to the CIC but is slightly larger.

ITE. In The Ear hearing aid. This could either be a full shell hearing aid or a half shell.

Full Shell or Full Concha. This hearing aid occupies the whole of the ear and is the largest of the custom made instruments.

Half Shell or Half Concha. This hearing aid occupies half of the ear and looks like a full shell with the top half part chopped off. This style of hearing aid is considered one of the easiest to manipulate if you have poor manual dexterity.

BTE. Behind The Ear hearing aid. These come in a range of sizes and are not necessarily the big “beige banana” that used to be handed out by the NHS. The most popular hearing aids today are in fact tiny BTE hearing aids which are highly cosmetic and incorporate some amazing features.

RIC. Receiver In the Canal. These are BTE hearing aids and are usually very small and cosmetic. The main difference between these and conventional BTEs is that the receiver or speaker is located in the ear, attached by a very fine tube containing a wire.

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