When you start shopping for hearing aids you will quickly encounter many distinct styles to choose from among them the receiver-in-canal (RIC). RIC devices are similar to the more common behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, but they provide some advantages that BTE hearing aids cannot. This short article explores some of the main benefits and drawbacks of the RIC hearing aid style.

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. Receiver in canal devices use a different strategy, separating the device’s components into two 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.

Separation of the receiver into its own compartment has several advantages. Receiver in canal 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. Both the case that fits behind the ear and the receiver in the ear are easy to hide. The small size of the case also makes it lightweight and comfortable to wear.

No device is perfect, and RIC aids do have some disadvantages. Frequent repairs to the receiver are one drawback to the RIC because the receiver end is vulnerable to moisture in the ear canal. Their comfort can also be a disadvantage: because users do not feel them in or on their ear, they are less likely to notice if they lose them. 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. Consult your hearing specialist to learn more about receiver in canal and other styles of hearing aids.

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