Looking for the best hearing aids will expose you to a variety of designs, including receiver-in-canal (RIC). RIC devices are related to the more common behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, but they provide some benefits that BTE aids cannot. This short article functions as a brief introduction of the primary benefits and drawbacks of the RIC hearing aid.
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. RIC hearing aids, on the other hand, separate the components into two major sections. 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.
Separating the receiver from the rest of the device has a number of advantages. 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. 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. Both the case that fits behind the ear and the receiver in the ear are easy to hide. This small size also makes it very comfortable and easy to fit.
RIC devices do have several 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. 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.
Receiver-in-ear hearing aids do have their flaws, but their numerous advantages make them a worthwhile choice for many listeners. Your hearing specialist would be happy to answer all your questions about different hearing aid styles and help you choose the best design.