In the event you or a loved one have been looking for a hearing aid, you have probably come across receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids. RIC hearing aids are related to the more prevalent behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, but they provide some advantages that BTE aids cannot. This short article explores some of the key advantages and disadvantages of the RIC hearing aid model.
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. Feedback and occlusion tend to be much less of a problem with RIC devices than they are with other hearing aids. 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. 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 hearing aids do have a few disadvantages to be aware of. 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. 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.