What is a Receiver in canal (RIC) Hearing aid?
Receiver-in-Canal hearing aids (RIC) are the international best-seller for digital hearing aids. Since their launch they have stormed the hearing aid world coupling together clever technology with great cosmetics and comfort.
Receiver in canal vs Behind the Ear or Open Fit Hearing aids
First came open fit behind-the-ear hearing aids (BTE open fits) which coupled an “open” style dome earpiece on the end of a “slim tube” (a very thin tube which replaced the classic custom-made earmould of a BTE). The hearing advantage of this design were based mainly on less occlusion (blocking of the ear) which allowed a more natural sound with less “boomy” effects or echoing of ones own voice for those with milder hearing losses. Cosmetically, they are considered to look more discreet due to the loss of the larger style earmould which is more noticeable than a small dome earpiece which sits within the ear canal.
Then came RIC hearing aids. The design then changed from a standard “slim tube” to a “receiver wire” which basically means the hearing aid receiver(amplifier/speaker) sits within the ear canal of the wearer, underneath the earpiece, as opposed to being incased within the behind the ear section as with the BTE with slim tube models.
Effectively, what this means for the wearer is reduced chances of feedback and therefore potential for greater power levels of the device. Meaning these devices are suitable for those with greater losses. Not only that, but due to the amplifier no longer sitting in the BTE casing, the size of the behind the ear section can be made much smaller, again improving discretion of the cosmetics of the aids.
RIC hearing aid pros and cons (dropdown menu for pros/cons)
- Discreet- virtually only visible when looked for.
- Available in lots of colour choices from bright to matching skin/hair tone
- Less chance of feedback that BTE style
- Great for wearers with tinnitus and mild losses
- Most comfortable -lightweight and less “blocked ear” feeling
- Can be open fit- so more natural sounding with, less distortion/echo with own voice/ eating
- Suitable for severe losses
- Rechargeable and Bluetooth options available.
- Receiver is susceptible to moisture/wax than BTE styles
- Receiver wires often need replacement every so often – although easily done in house as part of your aftercare service.
- Less discreet than invisible-in-canal (IIC) styles
- Care needed when removing facemask to avoid potential loss
RIC Devices & Accessories including domes, receivers and ear wax filters
This style has great potential for longevity when compared to in-the-ear models (ITE) as the receiver wire can be changed to a higher power should your hearing deteriorate, avoiding the need for a new hearing aid.
Replacement parts for the hearing aid include the receiver wire, ear wax filters and earpieces/domes. Don’t worry, we will explain all necessary accessories, how often they will need replacement, what comes as standard or the replacement cost. Replacement accessory costs are minimal, however at Integrate Hearing we make sure you are up to speed with everything you need to know so there will be no hidden costs!
RIC hearing aids – are these devices available on the NHS? RIC or BTE Open Fit?
Recently some NHS providers have started to provide receiver in canal hearing aids although many still only provide BTE open fit. Although they may look similar due to both having a dome earpiece, they are different. Generally, Receiver in canal hearing aids are more comfortable, affected less by the wear of glasses and more discreet due to the behind the ear portion of the device being smaller.
Are private RICs right for you? How much do they cost?
At Integrate hearing we offer open fit receiver in canal hearing aids from all manufacturers, including rechargeable and Bluetooth models at all price points. To find out more about our 4 ranges of aids click here or contact us on 01978799387 to discuss our products and book a hearing aid assessment for a 14 day free trial.