Pros: Since the RIC’s case does not need to house the speaker, it’s typically slimmer and smaller than most BTE models. RIC styles also boast a thin, electrical wire instead of an ear hook or tubing, which when combined with a small, translucent ear dome makes them barely visible to others.
Sounds tend to be clearer and more intact with RIC hearing aids, as the speaker rests closer to the ear canal. And distancing the speaker from the microphone minimizes another common complaint: feedback.
RIC hearing aids’ open and semi-open fit ear domes also allow low-frequency sounds to escape, resulting in a more natural-sounding speaking voice. These hearing aids are most effective at addressing high-frequency hearing loss.
Cons: The smaller size of RIC hearing aids may make them more difficult to insert/remove, adjust settings and clean—especially for those with limited fine motor skills. And while it can accommodate a range of hearing loss levels, it does not offer as much amplification as the BTE. The placement of the speaker in the ear canal also makes it more vulnerable to moisture and wax buildup, thus requiring regular maintenance to minimize damage or sound issues.