Shopping for hearing aids will expose you to a variety of designs, including receiver-in-canal (RIC). There are several advantages unique to receiver in canal devices, as well as many commonalities with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. This short article explores some of the main pluses and minuses of the RIC hearing aid model.
Many readers will be familiar with behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids where all the components are housed inside a single case. RIC hearing aids, on the other hand, separate the components into two major sections. The device’s microphone and amplifier are housed in a small case that rests behind the ear, while the receiver is found in a small bud that rests in the ear canal. The receiver is connected to the case by a thin tube.
Separating the receiver from the rest of the device has a number of advantages. Compared to other hearing aid styles, RIC hearing aid wearers have fewer problems with feedback. They also report fewer problems stemming from occlusion of the ear canal. With the ear canal open, wearers generally report a more natural sound which is judged to be more comfortable. High-pitched tones are amplified particularly well, making receiver in canal hearing aids very suitable for individuals suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.
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. The small size of the case also makes it lightweight and comfortable to wear.
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. Because they are so comfortable they are actually easier to lose: if you are not used to feeling them in your ear, you may not notice when they are gone. Finally, these devices tend to be high in price, making them difficult to obtain for some listeners.
Even though they have their flaws, receiver in canal hearing aids are a great choice for a large percentage of the hearing impaired population. Your hearing specialist would be happy to answer all your questions about different hearing aid styles and help you choose the best design.