Shopping for hearing aids will expose you to a number of different styles, including receiver-in-canal (RIC). There are a number of benefits unique to RIC devices, as well as many commonalities with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. This article explores some of the main pluses and minuses of the RIC hearing aid model.
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. A case behind the ear holds the aid’s amplifier and microphone, while a small bud that contains the receiver is used inside the ear canal. The two parts are connected by a thin clear tube.
There are several advantages associated with separating the receiver from the microphone and amplifier. RIC hearing aids are less likely to inundate listeners with feedback, and occlusion is generally less of a problem. With the ear canal open, wearers generally report a more natural sound which is judged to be 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. Separating the two components allows the device to remain very small, making it unobtrusive and easy to hide. This small size also makes it very comfortable and easy to fit.
No device is perfect, and RIC aids do have some disadvantages. Frequent repairs to the receiver are one drawback to the receiver in canal because the receiver end is vulnerable to moisture in the ear canal. Amazingly, the potential for loss is another drawback. Because they are so small and lightweight it can take some time for the user to realize that the hearing aid is missing. Finally, these devices tend to be high in price, making them difficult to obtain for some listeners.
Receiver-in-ear hearing aids do have their flaws, but their numerous advantages make them a worthwhile choice for many listeners. 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.