BTE or RITE - new user trying to understand

Hi! I am brand new to hearing aids. I went to two different audiologists who both recommended Phonak BTE units before I realized I needed to go through EPIC to get my insurance to cover part of the purchase. The audiologist EPIC referred me to is strongly recommending a Phonak RITE unit. Is there a reason that the recommendation would be different (beyond personal preference)?

I have no issues with any of the audiologists. I’m just trying to make sure I make the right decision on which unit to purchase. All three recommended Phonak - two were the Ambra and one was the Audeo S. The size of the hearing aid is not an issue for me, I just want to hear. :slight_smile:

Any advice or background info is welcome!

RITE means Right In The Ear and it refers to a very small speaker (referred to in hearing-aid language as the RECEIVER). There is a tiny, thin wire which runs out of the ear canal, in the fold of the ear (barely noticeable) and to the aid which sits behind the ear (BTE).

This is the system I am using. My low hearing is perfect, then it gets worse as it goes up in frequency. I have open domes on left and right which allow low sounds to go by the tiny speaker while the mid, upper-mid and high frequences are picked up by the mics in the BTE aid and are amplified into the ear canal.

Thought RITE stood for Receiver In The Ear.

If you’ve never worn aids and if your hearing loss is severe (audiogram goes over 50-60 dB for nearly all frequencies. please post it btw ) then I think the recommendation is to get a bte aid. bte aids can produce the greatest amount of gain out of all the aids types. If your hearing loss is just mild to moderate then you can probably go either way.

RITE aids are however catching up and in some cases are surpassing bte aid in gain performance. But this is probably more due to companies focusing on improving their RITE technologies and neglecting their bte aids.

The reason why RITE are so popular is because all the people who used ITE (in the ear) aids or CIC (completely in the canal) type aids are starting to realize that they really needed the gain of the bte aids. However because all those years using an aid that put the speaker up against their ear drum made the bte sound “weird” for us ITE or CIC wearers. so RITE sounds “natural” for us.

trying a bte vs a rite would be great for a new aid user. If you have a severe lost then you would use a power receiver for the rite aid and compare it with a power bte.

Yes, sorry, my mistake - you are correct, RECEIVER-IN-THE-EAR
I thought RITE was in conjunction with the BTE aids. The receiver in the ear is being powered by the external BTE (behind the ear) aid, no?

I have the Phonak Audeo Smart ix RITE aids aand my audi maintains that the connection between the STE part and the RITE part is a digital signal. For sure the microphones which pickup sounds around you are in the STE assembly. The speaker which emits the adjusted and amplified sounds to your ear is located in the canal. I think the distinction about which electronics are where is just technique. The important thing about RITE vs completely BTE is that the sound from a BTE (non RITE version) is carried to the ear by a plastic tube. The size of which influences the sounds which are heard in the canal after the trip. The audi strongly suggested RITE for my loss.

However, after a month in Texas humidity, I’m going to have the form factor changed to In The Canal (ITE) so that I don’t have to put up with very frequent moisture shutdowns. The moisture in my hair and scalp wicks into the battery compartment and the aids shut down. I never had such a problem with my Siemens ITEs over 15 years.

I wish you luck in finding what you need,

Thank you all for the information. It was very helpful. My apologies for the delay in response; I’ve been on work travel.

I’ve gone with my audiologist’s recommendation of the latest Phonak Audeo Smart RITE. They should be in soon!

I think you will be impressed in a GOOD way!:wink:

Receiver in the ear aids simply means that the loudspeaker is located in the ear canal instead of in the body of the aid. A receiver is a telephony term for loudspeaker. A SITE or STE aid is the same thing except that the term “speaker” is used instead of “receiver.” Personally, I’d rather use the word “loudspeaker” instead of “receiver” because everybody knows what a loudspeaker is. RIC aids are Receiver in the Canal aids and are in fact, the same thing as a RIE or SITE or STE or any of the other combinations. All these hearing aids are BTE type aids.

The old style BTEs had the loudspeakers located in the body of the aid. Locating the loudspeaker in the ear, as in an RIC BTE, allows several things: the body of the hearing aid can be smaller because it no longer houses a loudspeaker. The aid will be more resistant to certain types of feedback (squealing) because it’s located further away from the microphone and there’s some sonic isolation provided by the ear itself. Locating the loudspeaker closer to the eardrum means there’s less power lost from running the sound through a hollow tubing. The fitting tends to be more discrete because a thinner tubing into the ear can be used. Most problems with hearing aids can be traced to the receiver - which can be serviced by the fitter simply by plugging in a new one.

There is another type of BTE that uses a thin tube to transmit the sound from the receiver, which is located in the BTE, to the ear pieces. This type of aid tend to be on the lower priced BTEs and doesn’t have quite the sound quality of the RIC but in a lot of cases they’re fine.

Currently, BTEs account for the majority of hearing aids sold in the US. Just a few years ago, they only accounted for around 15% of the market. If you’re a new user with a high frequency hearing loss, you’ll probably like these aids a lot. Audiologists and hearing aids specialists like to fit these aids because of the quick fit it provides but I’m of the opinion that they’re not for everybody - for what that’s worth. :slight_smile: