If you or a loved one have been looking for a hearing aid, you have probably encountered receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids. RIC devices are similar to the more common behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, but they offer some benefits that BTE aids cannot. This article explores some of the key advantages and disadvantages of the RIC hearing aid style.
In behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids, the device’s components are all held in the same case: either behind the ear or in the ear. One of the key differentiating factors of the RIC hearing aid is that it has two separate parts. The case behind the ear contains the amplifier and microphone. The receiver is separate in a small bud which fits in the ear canal. The two parts are connected by a thin clear tube.
Separation of the receiver into its own compartment has several advantages. Feedback and occlusion tend to be much less of a problem with RIC devices than they are with other hearing aids. Listeners also enjoy a more natural sound, making the listening experience much more comfortable. RIC hearing aids are favored by people with mild to moderate hearing losses because they amplify high-pitched sounds very well.
There is also a physical advantage to the RIC’s split configuration. Both the case that fits behind the ear and the receiver in the ear are easy to hide. Its small size also allows it to fit very comfortably in and on the ear.
Receiver in canal devices do have several disadvantages. Compared to other types of hearing aids, RIC aids are particularly vulnerable to moisture in the ear, necessitating frequent repairs. Their comfort can also be a disadvantage: because users do not feel them in or on their ear, they are less likely to notice if they lose them. Lastly, this style of hearing aid is often higher in price than its cousins, so some shoppers may have difficulty fitting them into their budgets.
Every hearing aid style has specific pros and cons. This is just a brief overview of the popular RIC style. Seeking the advice and assistance of a hearing specialist is the next step in selecting the best hearing aid for your hearing loss and lifestyle.