10 Reasons Why You Should Wear a RIC Hearing Aid
In the past decade, the RIC style of hearing aid, AKA “open-fit” hearing aids have really gained in popularity. In fact, according to the latest reports, over half of all hearing aids sold today are open-fit devices. There are many reasons why open-fit hearing aids are so popular, and in this post we’ll get in to the top 10 reasons why you should consider wearing a RIC/RITE hearing aid. For starters, you can see a list of all the latest RIC hearing aids (including prices) here.
Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Wear a RIC Hearing Aid
1) Comfort: There is no other style of hearing aid on the market that is more comfortable. Period. A lot of people say that their hearing aids are comfortable and they don’t even notice them, but the only style of hearing aid you can truly forget you are wearing is the RIC.
2) Lack of occlusion: Take a minute and stick your fingers in your ears. Now count to ten. That is sort of how your voice will sound when you wear a custom molded hearing aid- “occluded”. RIC hearing aids (for the most part) leave your ear canal completely open and greatly reduce that “echo” effect. In some cases if your hearing loss necessitates it, you may need a custom or semi-custom mold made to give you more volume, but those can still be made in a way that greatly reduces occlusion.
3) Lack of feedback: You know that annoying whistling sound some hearing aids make? That’s called feedback, and among many other reasons, it happens when the microphone and receiver of a hearing aid are too close to each other. On a RIC hearing aid, the receiver is tucked all the way down inside your ear canal, while the microphone sits behind your ear. In terms of hearing aids, this is a good amount of separation of those components and this greatly reduces the chances of feedback.
4) Features, features, features : In real estate it’s “location, location, location”, but in hearing aids, it’s the features of the hearing aids which separate an entry level hearing aid from an advanced hearing aid. And it’s often the features which determine whether or not you’ll have success with your hearing aids. Because the housing of a RIC hearing aid has plenty of room for today’s complicated hearing aid circuit boards, RIC hearing aids almost always have room for the latest technology like Bluetooth connectivity, telecoils, remote control adjustability, and more.
5) Flexibility: When I talk about flexibility in a hearing aid, I’m talking about its ability to be well-suited to your needs if your hearing loss gets worse, and in that respect, no hearing aid can match the flexibility of a RIC. You can start wearing a RIC device when you have a mild to moderate hearing loss, and with a few inexpensive modifications by your hearing provider, the majority of RICs will still be powerful enough for you in the event that your loss progresses to a severe or profound loss. This prevents you from having to buy new hearing aids if your loss gets worse, and gives a little peace of mind that your investment will last longer than just a few years.
6) Low profile: I can’t tell you how many patients I’ve seen that have said “I only want an in-the-ear hearing aid that is completely invisible.” I totally understand this, but what many people don’t realize is that RIC hearing aids can be just as discreet, or even more discreet than in-the-ear aids. The tiny Starkey Xino is a good example (among many), of RIC hearing aids which can be completely undetectable when worn.
6) Standardization of design: Because the design of RIC hearing aids is standardized (and not customized per each individual), it is simple for your hearing provider to replace parts when worn down. This means that you’ll spend less time in your hearing providers office, and less time waiting for hearing aids to be repaired at the lab.
7) Maintenance: Maintenance of RIC hearing aids is a breeze, and they are probably the most hardy hearing aids on the market. With a few tools from your hearing provider, you can quickly change out your own parts (at home) which get plugged up with wax and moisture. With many other hearing aid styles, these fixes could only be done by the hearing provider, or even worse, by the hearing aid manufacturer.
8) Moisture resistance: I mentioned above that RIC hearing aids are very hardy, and one reason for this is that many of them are either completely waterproof, or at least moisture resistant. I’ve seen RIC hearing aids survive washing machines, heavy downpours, and even stints in a full cup of coffee.
9) Backups are readily available: In the event that your hearing aid does have to go in to the lab for repair (which can take a few weeks), almost all hearing providers keep loaner RIC units in stock- that means you will likely have zero downtime as you wait for your aid to be repaired. In fact, your provider can probably even copy the settings from your full-time aid, and quickly program your loaner aid, so you won’t notice any difference at all. I’ve also had clients who travel a lot who have purchased their own backup (3rd aid), that they’ll set up themselves when their regular aid goes bad. While expensive, this kind of convenience comes in handy. Note: If you go this route, be sure to ask for a nice discount on that 3rd aid- most providers will agree if you simply ask.
10) They’re cool!: Seriously, I know you’re probably thinking there is nothing cool about hearing aids, but there have been more than a few times that I’ve popped in a set of of hearing aids and streamed Pandora through them for a few hours while cleaning the office/organizing. Especially with the advent of Made for iPhone hearing aids, they can do some pretty cool things and are improving rapidly.
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.