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When you start shopping for hearing aids you will quickly encounter many distinct designs to choose from including the receiver-in-canal (RIC). RIC devices are related to the more prevalent behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, but they provide some advantages that BTE aids cannot. This short article serves as a quick introduction of the main advantages and disadvantages of the RIC hearing aid.

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). RIC devices use a different strategy, separating the device’s components into two 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.

There are several advantages associated with separating the receiver from the microphone and amplifier. 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. Listeners also enjoy a more natural sound, making the listening experience much 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. Compared to other types of hearing aids, RIC aids are particularly vulnerable to moisture in the ear, necessitating frequent repairs. Amazingly, the potential for loss is another drawback. Because they are so small and lightweight it can take some time for the user to realize that the hearing aid is missing. 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.

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.