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Receiver-in-Canal hearing aids with an external receiver that sits directly in the ear canal. 


The receiver in canal or receiver in the ear hearing aids were introduced more than a couple of years ago. They are exceptionally popular with professionals and consumers alike because they are small, discreet and hugely versatile. Their popularity has just increased since they were introduced and they make up a huge part of global hearing aid sales. Like everything in life, they have their advantages and disadvantages.

The Pros & Cons of RIC Hearing Aids

As with many things in life, there are pros and cons with RICs.  First, let's take a look at the receiver in canal advantages.

The Advantages Of RIC Devices

They are highly discreet devices, although the body of the hearing aid sits behind the ear they are normally very small and discreet. Unless someone is actually checking they invariably go unnoticed. The wire that leads from the body of the hearing aid into the ear canal is tiny and should sit along the crease of your face at the ear, hence, it is almost unnoticeable as well. Because of these two facts, these are among the most discreet hearing aids available.

Easy Change Receivers 

Because the receiver is interchangeable these hearing aids can cover varied hearing losses from mild all the way through to severe to profound. It also means that if the receiver fails, which happens, it is easily changed out for a new one. This means that the hearing aid does not have to go away for repair for a receiver change, it can be done instantly in the office if the hearing professional has spare receivers. Or, it can be done by you if you are confident enough.  

The Disadvantages of RIC Devices
Receiver Issues in RICs/RITEs

The fact that the receiver is placed in the canal or the ear is both a blessing and curse. This placement exposes it to the hostile environment that the ear is for electronics. Your ear canal is wet warm and oily, all of the things that electronics tend not to like. The manufacturers take great pains to protect the receivers with nano coating materials, enclosed casings and wax guard protectors. So you need take good care of the receivers, changing your wax guards regularly.

At best, this can just block the sound outlet, at worst, it can ingress into the receiver itself. Wax and moisture is the kiss of death for receivers. Thankfully, the receivers are easily replaced by your hearing professional, however, after the manufacturer's warranty is up you may have to pay for them.  

Maybe Too Small!

RICs are very small and discreet devices, normally the smaller they are, the smaller the battery, unless they are rechargeable. Both the size of the hearing aid and the size of the battery can cause difficulties for people with dexterity issues. The whole idea of acquiring hearing aids is so that you can wear them and enjoy the very real benefits of hearing better. If you have difficulty handling them to put them in, what should be a joy can easily turn into a frustrating task. The same has to be said about the batteries, small batteries can be a nightmare for people with vision or dexterity issues. 

Contra-indications To Wearing RICs

There are some people who shouldn't wear these type of devices. If you have permanent perforations in your ears or you have had a mastoid operation these hearing devices aren't really for you. As you will know if you have these problems there is an increased risk of middle ear infections and fluid release. Either will destroy the receivers of the hearing aids, because of the nature of your ears with these conditions receiver failures would be an ongoing problem rather than an occasional frustration. The same can be said for people who suffer from wet ears or produce a large amount of earwax, either condition will cause issues for the receivers.

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