Best CIC vs. the Average RIC?

Hi All.

I’m trying to better understand how the different hearing aid models compare with each other, particularly at different price points. Until recently, I only wore CICs, but several months ago I added a mid-priced RIC to the mix…mainly because I wanted to hear even better in certain situations.

It’s true, my RIC does work better than any of my CICs have, purely from a hearing perspective, however there are definitely draw backs (like visibility, and mobility, etc.). As a relatively young (and single) man, the RIC is not ideal for sports or other physical activities, and frankly, there are still social occasions where I would prefer the option of wearing my CIC instead of my RIC. So I guess my question is this…

Is there a high-end CIC that can compete with my mid-priced RIC for sound/hearing quality?

I guess another angle on my question is…

Will the cheapest RIC still provide better performance than the most expensive CIC?

I’m not really clear on what money buys, when looking at the different price levels of models. It seems like more expensive aids mostly get you more bells and whistles features, but not necessarily more power. Or can price really make a noticeable different, even within model types?

To be specific, I’ve got an Oticon Ino Pro (RIC) and I’m pretty happy with the performance. But for my next purchase, I’m wondering if there are any CICs – regardless of price – than can come close to matching it?

Thaks for any thoughts.

This really depends on your hearing loss… I know plenty of people who have lots of success with a CIC. The point of issue is that the CIC potentially acts like an earplug if it hasn’t been set up properly. But that really can be said of most hearing aids, but a CIC typically occludes the ear more than other styles.

If the CIC behaved in an almost transparent manner with respect to the amplification, making it seem like your ear is completely open, then I can see you having great success with this.

BTW, cost of the hearing aid is not really the issue. The sound adjustment is.

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Thanks, HAH. Actually, I have a lot more occlusion with my RIC than I ever did with the 8 or 9 CICs I’ve owned over the years. As I say, I’ve been wearing CICs for a long time (maybe 18 years). This new RIC is providing better sound. I just miss the convenience of the CIC and wonder if there’s a high end model (I’ve always bought low to mid-range CICs) that can compete with the power of my RIC.

It may be that the RIC is providing more power than your CIC. Thus also creating a better seal in your ear, which results in more occlusion. How much power do you need? You may need a power CIC which somewhat limits your options to a few manufacturers who produce such a thing.

Hi wutzizname,

I wear a high powered CIC with a SP (Super Power) chip - Phonak Solana. My loss is included at the bottom. I understand that a Phonak Cassia as well as a Phonak Ambra could also provide the same chip.

If you look at page 5 of the PDF below, you will see the performance profiles M, P and SP listed against the Phonak Solana CIC Petite. You will see the fitting ranges for each performance profile:

Starkey would be the other provider who do a high powered CIC. They have traditionally been strong in this area. Within their WI series I believe, they will have a high powered CIC, and probably other ranges as well. ZCT would be able to comment - if he is still on this forum.

Although the CIC is great for 90% of situations, music is poor, as the CIC does not deliver the depth, and roundness of a higher powered instrument - BTE or RIC. I admit this - which is why I wear a BTE for music/TV around the house, and the CIC for all other situations.

Good Luck.


250 500 1k 2k 4k 6k 8k

60 50 65 70 80 80 90 (Left Ear )
60 50 70 70 75 75 100 (Right Ear)

That doesn’t make sense at all.

There are three main reasons why a RIC aid outperforms a CIC.

Firstly the canal resonance is more accurately maintained allowing better preservation of the lower pitches without amplification.

Secondly, directional mics on the the RIC unit are going to be more effective in background noise than a single mic on a CIC.

Thirdly the Mics and Receiver are further apart, allowing more output before feedback on any given feedback control mechanism.

If the OP has a real issue with occlusion, it’s unlikely to be the RIC that’s responsible, unless the old CIC was effectively acting as a physical block to the external sound of his voice.

Actually, I think the occlusion with my RIC comes from the lack of a vent. I have a custom rubber ear mold with no vent. Although I’m hoping to get one with a vent, if possible. All my CICs have been vented, so I’m assuming that’s why they exhibited less occlusion than my RIC.

Thanks for the great info, Graham. I had never heard of a Power CIC. Would love to get more information on them…

What are the main differences between the Power models and traditional CICs? Do you think they have the potential to approach the performance of a RIC? I realize it will never be apples-to-apples, as you mentioned they will not deliver the same sound quality for music, etc. But for me it’s all about hearing people in public (at the office, at the restaurant, etc.) So do you think the Power CIC can really compete with a RIC, even with just one microphone (I’m assuming?) as opposed to the RIC’s directional ones?

Also, are the Power models generally larger than traditional CICs? Or can they fit within the same size mold?

Really appreciate any more details, from Graham, ZCT, or others. Thanks!

Hi wutzizname,

When I previously posted - I said “high powered” - not Power CIC. I think “Power CIC” is a marketing slogan.

That said, I was told by my dispenser, who fitted my aid, and something that has gone a little bit unnoticed on this forum I think, that it is only just recently that Phonak have brought out a CIC capable of reaching severe losses, and he said that the only other manufacturer who can do this, is Starkey. When I say recently, in the case of Phonak, he was talking about the last couple of years.

I don’t really have any information, other than that. If you look at the PDF, you will see that the CIC is reaching pretty severe losses.I think also, that because it is embedded further into the ear canal, it doesn’t need so much power, but these newer aids have a powerful chip regardless. I used to wear Phonak ITC perseo aids, about 7 years ago, and my new Phonak CIC just blows them away. There is more reserve, the soundflow and other automatic programs kick in without me noticing, and sound is generally superbly clear and crisp. But there are a couple of caveats I have to state - music is not very good, they don’t have the roundness and bass that you would get with a BTE, and I doubt that they compare well with twin mic set up you will get on a BTE/RIC when dealing with background noise. Generally, the CICs are superb for me with sound localisation - I hardly ever miss any conversation in most situations - but I have struggled a little in some noise situations.

In answer to your question - is it capable of competing with RICs ? I do not know. That is a question for the experts. From what I understand, RIC aids are specialised to deal with mainly high frequency losses, as they leave the canal open which prevents occlusion and enables lower pitch sounds to flow through unimpeded. So it would depend on your loss for a start. I have pretty lousy hearing across the spectrum, so I suspect I am not an obvious candidate to wear a RIC, but could wear one with a power dome fitted. I would actually like to get one to see the difference, but money prevents !

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UmBongo, you are spot-on with your second and third points, however I would have to disagree with your comment. You jumped the gun and assumed you knew the type of seal the OP had. After your post, he said he was using a power dome which does seal the ear, which does not maintain any sort of canal resonance and does in-fact make the users perception of all sounds louder, especially the low frequencies.

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The OP wasn’t clear that his RIC was unvented, unlike the majority of wearers. It would be a pretty reasonable ask to get a vent put in though: if the fitter is good with a dremel that can be done in house too.