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What Is a RIC Hearing Aid and How Does It Work

All hearing solutions serve the same purpose, and thankfully, there are plenty of options you can choose to best fit your preferences and needs. Some of the most popular types include BTE (behind-the-ear) hearing aids or RIC (receiver-in-the-canal) hearing aids, which may look similar on the outside but have several key differences worth knowing. There are also various brands, and you can choose multiple styles.

RIC hearing aids, for example, are small, discreet, and quick to fit, which makes them a popular choice among people. The best part is, that they’re perfect for those using hearing solutions for the first time in their life. Continue to read and find out more about these hearing aids.

What is a RIC hearing aid?

One of the most common hearing aid devices is the behind-the-ear hearing aid. Its main body hooks around the back of the ear, and it contains all the hearing aid components including a mic, an amplifier, and a receiver. A receiver in canal hearing aid also sits behind the ear in the same position as a BTE hearing aid, although, they’re smaller and easier to maneuver. A RIC hearing aid is an open-fit hearing aid and its body only contains a mic and an amplifier. It uses a plastic “micro” wire with a sound receiver that wraps around the outer ear and is placed into the ear canal.

Since the tip that sits inside the ear canal doesn’t seal it, air and sound can naturally flow to the ear canal, reducing feelings of being “plugged up”. The receiver is a small squishy rubber attachment that receives the sound from the hearing aid itself and projects it into the ear.

The receiver governs the loudness of the sound that comes from the hearing aid, which is why RIC hearing aids are great, especially for those using them for the first time. The receiver in this hearing aid can be removed and changed, which allows for a bit more flexibility in case the hearing loss of the user changes.

Benefits of using a RIC hearing aid

A RIC hearing aid is smaller and slimmer than most BTE models. It also has a thin, electrical wire instead of ear tubing or a hook. When combined with a small, translucent ear dome, it makes them barely visible to other people. One of the best parts about a receiver in canal hearing aid is that the sound tends to be clearer and more natural, as the speaker rests closer to the ear canal. Additionally, they’re less prone to occlusion and feedback, which is a common complaint among users.

RIC hearing aids can be more discreet and invisible than CIC (completely-in-canal) hearing aids and IIC (invisible-in-canal) hearing aids, and various ear domes can be fitted to the receiver, making them suitable for many different types of hearing loss. Because they amplify high-frequency noise more effectively, it makes them a perfect choice for those with mild and moderate hearing loss, as well as first-time hearing aid users.

RIC hearing aids are also more comfortable than other hearing solutions since the components are split between the earmold and the main body, making them less noticeable. Additionally, their dual microphones help improve speech recognition in noise.   

Drawbacks of using a RIC hearing aid

Since they’re smaller in size, it makes them difficult to insert or remove, adjust settings, and clean, especially for people with limited fine motor skills. They’re easy to lose track of and misplace around the house, so, if you’re absent-minded, this may not be the perfect solution for you. RIC hearing aids also do not offer as much amplification as BTE hearing aids.

One of the biggest disadvantages of using a receiver in canal hearing aid is that it is highly susceptible to moisture and heat. This requires regular maintenance and limited use. For example, it wouldn’t be a good idea to work out using a RIC hearing aid as you’ll end up having to purchase a new one fairly often. Bear in mind that RIC hearing aids tend to be a bit more expensive than other solutions such as ITE hearing aids, so make sure you clean them regularly and keep them somewhere away from moisture.

RIC hearing aid

Final thoughts

It’s difficult to say which hearing aid is better or worse since they’re all specialized and chosen to fit the individual user’s listening needs and preferences. However, RIC hearing aids have more power and options even though they’re more expensive. They just require regular maintenance and proper setup.

If you’re about to use a hearing aid for the first time, you should consider purchasing a receiver in canal hearing aid as it might be the perfect fit for you.    

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