BTE's - RITE or not?

After almost 5 years with my current HA’s (Oticon Syncro P BTEs) I’ll probably be upgrading within 6 months. (details of my situation posted in another message thread). There have been quite a few changes in the past 5 years, and I’m just catching up on the technological changes – mainly by reading messages here. Although the Oticon Agil/Agil Pro are on my ‘short list’, this question is really not too specific to this particular model.
Regarding BTEs with receiver in the ear: I understand the concept of the receiver and thin wire to the receiver, and that sound doesn’t have to be transmitted down a hollow tube, so in theory sound should be better (correct?). What other advantages are there to RITES, and disadvantages? I currently have custom earmolds which I really don’t mind (not much moisture or occlusion) so, are there RITES that would be in a hard earmold? I take good care of my aids – do the receivers last as long as the base hearing aid? Yes, I will be discussing the options with my audiologist on the 25th, but I want to go in prepared.
Thanks for your advice

I’m no expert but what I have learned is that the RIC or RITE style allows the audiologist to match your current hearing loss and then if you need a change in the future you can get a different receiver (wire and speaker). For example, I am trialing the Rexton Cobalt 16 from Costco. I have the 55DB receiver and if that’s not enough I could get the 65 DB receiver. They also sell a 45DB receiver for the Cobalt. You could go from moderate to severe and keep the same aid, just changing the relatively inexpensive receiver. Some other brands have even more range, one (can’t remember the brand now) has 40DB to 70DB receivers.

Appearance-wise RICs allow the BTE portion of the aid to be slightly smaller and can significantly reduce the diameter of the plastic tube leading from the BTE into your ear. Going from standard earmold tubing to RICs make your instruments much less visible to others.

Performance-wise, as Don mentioned, due to the ability to replace receivers the same hearing aid can be configured to fit a patient with just about any loss from mild to profound. In some situations this could allow you to keep using the same set of aids even if your hearing deteriorated significantly. Of course at this point your aids are often more than a few years old and power level is less likely to be driving your decision to upgrade to a new set.

There are instances where RICs might not be as appropriate (very narrow canals, ears with drainage issues, etc.), but there are some manufacturers that have already overcome these issues in their current offerings.

The biggest negative I’ve seen in my experience is that in some cases the RIC receivers have failed sooner than I would have expected the receivers in traditional BTEs to fail. Of course, when that happens the receivers on RIC models are much easier to replace and can be done right in the office (patient leaves with hearing aid working rather than having to wait for it to be sent away for repair).

Replacement receivers are relatively cheap. I was told that Costco sells replacement Bernafon Verite receivers for $45. Even if it is twice the price at other audiologists seems like a bargain compared to the original cost of the hearing aid.

I have similar hearing loss at 1-2 kHz as you and I am currently using Oticon Agils RITE. Using custom micro-molds, I am experiencing feekback problems at 2 kHz which limits the gain that I can set for soft sounds. This makes me think that I should try the tube option.

Thank you everyone for your replies, much appreciated. I now have a better understanding of the advantages/disadvantages of RITE/RIC.
After a good cleaning at the audiologist the aids are performing better, however, I’m having difficulty with the clarity of many words. At work they intentionally pipe in ‘white noise’ (sounds more like a jet taking off) which adds to the difficulty. However, if I really concentrate when talking to people, I find that helps some.
Thanks again,

I too had this dilemma when choosing my aids a year ago. …I got the RITEs. I did have a receiver go bad and it was replaced. Otherwise I’ve found the receivers surprisingly durable (unless my current repair calls out the receiver). Some pros

Easy cleaning of wax.
More resilient to sweat +abuse
Long lasting (my hard molds were many years old …really only tubing needs maint).

Was told they either work or don’t …are not intermittent (not sure if I believe)
Domes much easier to replace than getting new tubing every so many months.
More comfortable than molds.
Replaceable by audi (vs. sending the whole aid back for new receiver)

Only wish list: NOTE TO OTICON. They should make a tester that the audi can hook
the RITE up to and it can check the RITE unit for all frequencies and performance.

I believe they do, it’s called a HAT Box. (Hearing Aid Test Box), it gives you the read out, (like the ANSI Strip) that you would get from the manufacturer. I assume that it works w/ RICs.

Typically it’s the bte that can generate the most gain and cover the widest frequency range. You all should go to the manufacturer’s site and look at the actual numbers for the aids.

The reason for the ability to generate higher gain is because bte aids have less issues with feedback. I believe it’s due the longer distance the sound waves travel to get from the speaker to the microphone. the way rite aids deal with feedback is pretty much cut out the gain.

Although this is still true with most manufacturers, it is no longer universal. Currently Starkey’s most power hearing aid is actually a RIC model and I suspect this will soon be true of others as well.

The reason for the ability to generate higher gain is because bte aids have less issues with feedback. I believe it’s due the longer distance the sound waves travel to get from the speaker to the microphone. the way rite aids deal with feedback is pretty much cut out the gain.

What you’re saying was actually true of all hearing aids up until a few years back. Since then all of the major manufacturers have moved to active feedback cancellation systems for both RIC and traditional BTE models. This improvement is actually the reason why the vast majority of hearing aid wearers can now wear open-fit hearing aids, whereas in the past so many required custom earmolds to achieve best results.

This isn’t specific to hearing aids, but a description of the basic idea behind active feedback cancellation can be found here:

Even though I consider myself fairly competent at learning new technologies (in general), it looks like I sure have quite a bit to learn about the technology behind hearing aids.
When making purchases, I tend to over analyze things, however, when it comes to one of my senses I am willing to get the best for my condition, which of course doesn’t mean the most expensive or one with the most bells and whistles. I appreciate all the responses as I’m beginning to feel a lot more confident when I go back to the audiologist and I ask him about the different options (before, I just went with what he recommended).

Apart from the obvious—being able to hear better—hearing aids are proving to increase customer’s level of life satisfaction. In fact, a recent study reported increased happiness in 5 different areas of life—for both the hearing aid user and their family members.


The study of over 2,000 adults reported that relationships at home improved 66% for hearing aid users and 56% for family members. The feelings about self improved 60%, satisfaction with life overall improved 62% (48% for family members), relationships with children and grandchildren improved 50%, and the increase in social activities was around 30%.



I think the RIC or RITE is a very good option worth trying.

As others have said some companies, including the one I work with a lot (Starkey) can go up to 70dB of gain now, and with modern feedback cancellation, that’s one heck of a power aid.

The ear piece is more likely to get damaged by wax, so if you make a lot of wax that is a consideration.

But a RIC can be waterproof, from some companies so that’s a nice bonus.

Sometimes a BTE can have more features or at least buttons or controls on the aid itself, simply because it is a bigger product.

Given the way the industry is headed, I think I’d try RIC/RITE just to see.

Thank you for taking the time to respond. I have my last visit tomorrow with my current audiologist (he is moving) and I’ll ask him for his opinion. I had another set of custom ear molds made, so hopefully I can get a few more months out of my current set. I really don’t have a wax problem and as soon as I feel moisture buildup I wipe out the ear canal.
My current short list:
Starkey WI; Oticon Agil Pro; Phonak Ambra

Here’s a little tip for you. When you try the Starkey Wi, once it is set up, have them exit the fitting software (called Inspire). This stops the aids ‘talking’ to the programming box. Now the aids will talk to each other automatically, giving you the binaural spacial mapping that many patients report sounds like ‘3D.’ See if they will let you walk around in noise wearing them.

It’s so new, many hearing professionals don’t realize the aids are not doing the BSM while they are talking to Inspire via the programming box.

well few months ago I felt the problem of hearing aids in my left ear. but very soon i visit this :-www/worldflightforhearing/com and this sort out my problem.