When you start shopping for hearing aids you will immediately encounter many different styles to choose from among them the receiver-in-canal (RIC). The RIC hearing aid shares many features with behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid while possessing some distinctive advantages unique to the RIC. This article functions 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 hearing aids, on the other hand, separate the components into two major sections. 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. High-pitched tones are amplified particularly well, making receiver in canal hearing aids very suitable for individuals suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.
The physical configuration of RIC devices also provides a number of advantages. Separating the two components allows the device to remain very small, making it unobtrusive and easy to hide. The small size of the case also makes it lightweight and comfortable to wear.
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. 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.
Every hearing aid style has specific pros and cons. This is just a brief overview of the popular receiver in canal 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.