When you begin shopping for hearing aids you will quickly come across many different designs to choose from including the receiver-in-canal (RIC). There are a number of advantages unique to RIC units, as well as many similarities with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. Continue reading to discover the pros and cons of RIC devices.
Two standard types of hearing aid (behind-the-ear and in-the-ear) are designed to keep the device component all in one case (behind the ear and in the ear respectively). One of the key differentiating factors of the receiver in canal 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 receiver is connected to the case by a thin 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. Listeners also enjoy a more natural sound, making the listening experience much more comfortable. This type of device a great choice for listeners with mild to moderate hearing issues because it amplifies high-pitched tones exceptionally 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. Its small size also allows it to fit very comfortably in and on the ear.
Receiver in canal hearing aids do have a few disadvantages to be aware of. They are particularly vulnerable to ear moisture on the receiver, potentially making frequent repairs a necessity. 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.