RICs are a type of open-fit hearing aid that use a thin plastic “micro” tube that extends from the body of the hearing aid (housed behind the ear) over the outer ear and into the ear canal. A small, soft tip sits inside the ear canal without sealing it. This way, air and sound can continue to flow to the ear canal naturally, reducing feelings of being "plugged up."
Advantages of RIC Hearing Aids
RIC hearing aids are extremely popular – even more so than tiny hearing aids that fit inside the ear canal. This is largely due to their physical comfort and cosmetic appeal. When you are fit for an RIC hearing aid, your hearing care professional will be able to choose from a selection of tips to find the size that fits your ear best. Other advantages include:
- Doesn't close the ear; tube avoids the “stopped up” feeling of in-the-ear aids
- Minimizes the sounds of your own voice and chewing by allowing these sounds to escape the ear canal
- Tiny casings are often totally obscured behind the outer ear
- Nearly invisible tubing makes RIC aids virtually unnoticeable
Disadvantages of RIC Hearing Aids
Though these devices are similar in some ways to Behind-the-Ear (BTE) hearing aids, there are some small differences. They are much less visible than BTE aids and more comfortable. But because the receiver is located at the end of a small tube, RIC aids require a bit more manual dexterity to properly insert into the ear canal. And their “open” feeling is certainly a plus, but this also makes them more sensitive to wind noise as well. Some other features to consider include:
- Only suitable for those with mild to moderate hearing loss
- Receiver end is vulnerable to moisture in ear canal and can require frequent repairs
- Less intrusive than other hearing aid styles means it can be easy to lose them and not notice
Are RIC Hearing Aids Right for You?
More than half of hearing care patients are good candidates for RIC hearing aids. If your loss is in the mild to moderately severe range and you have the ability to manipulate small objects, these hearing aids may be a good option for you.
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If you’d like some help deciding, click the button on the right to book an appointment online or in person at your nearest Connect Hearing location. Be sure to ask about our free two-week trial for new customers!