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Receiver-In-Ear Versus Behind-The-Ear Hearing Aids Explained

The difference between RIC and BTE hearing aids is very small when you look at them. They both have the main body of the hearing aid fitting behind the ear and have a wire going into the ear. The difference between them is that RIC hearing aids have the receiver chip (or speaker) actually inside the dome which goes into the ear, whereas BTE hearing aids have the receiver in the main body behind the ear and the sound is sent down the tube. Learn more about advantages and disadvantages.

What is a RIC Hearing Aid?

HD 430 Digital Hearing Aid HD 430 RIC Hearing Aid

A Receiver-In-Canal is an over the ear hearing aid with the speaker inside the ear canal. The speaker connects to the rest of the technology which is in the main part of the aid behind the ear, by a tiny wire . The industry often resorts to using three different names, all of which refer to the same style of hearing aid.

• RIC = Receiver in Canal
• RIE = Receiver in Ear
• RITE = Receiver in the Ear

The size of receiver and how the designer chooses to protected it may vary from model to model but fundamentally, the three acronyms mean the same thing.

The HD430 RIC (US)/ HD430 RIC (UK) Hearing Aid is our top of the range RIC Hearing Aid and is so small you'll forget you're wearing it - just don't walk into the shower with it on!

What is a BTE Hearing Aid?

Image of a small behind the ear hearing aid on a fingertip HD210 and HD211 BTE Hearing Aid

This is a device where all the technology is encased in the main part of the device Behind The Ear (BTE). Thin tubing conducts the sound to the ear. A soft dome that fits all ear canals is more frequently used these days compared to the old ear moulds. You may need to have ear moulds fitted, depending upon your particular hearing loss.

Our HD210 (UK only) and HD211 (US only) hearing aids are great examples of small, discrete and affordable Behind The Ear Hearing Aids.

Advantages of an RIC over a BTE

  • The receiver and microphone components are much further apart compared to a BTE. This usually results in less feedback than the equivalent BTE.
  • A RIC can be smaller than a BTE with the same battery size. This is because one of the main components sits in the ear canal rather than the casing behind the ear.

Disadvantages of an RIC over a BTE

  • A RIC will generally require more maintenance due to positioning of the receiver within the ear.
  • A RIC is more susceptible to blockages caused by earwax.

For more detailed information about both types of hearing aids, and our full range of hearing aids, check out the HearingDirect selection here.

About Hearing Direct

We are one of the world's leading hearing aid specialists. HearingDirect offers a wide range of affordable products, and information resources to help improve the quality of life for the hard of hearing.

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Author: Joan McKechnie

Image of Joan McKechnieAfter qualifying as a Speech-Language Pathologist and Audiologist Joan has spent most of her 20 year career in hearing-care related roles. She has a wealth of experience within the hearing aid and hearing rehabilitation fields. She has worked in manufacturing environments with two hearing aid companies helping to develop products and roll out new technologies. Joan has been involved with Hearing Direct since its launch. Joan enjoys the online retail environment which seeks to provide easier access to hearing products and accessories. She is HCPC registered. Read Joan's full bio here.

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