Do you have experience going from BTE to RIC for severe to profound hearing loss?

Hi all! I’m a long-time hearing aid user (30+ years) and new lurker of this page. I’ve worn Phonak Naida M90 BTEs since 2020, and like the Bluetooth connectivity but always felt like speech in noise programming wasn’t perfect (like most hearing aid users). My right hearing aid is finnicky (I have to close the battery door multiple times occasionally for it to turn on) and I’m out of the warranty period, so I’m looking for new hearing aids. I’m currently demoing Phonak Naida L90 BTEs, and I’m not impressed by them. I actually feel like they’re worse than my Marvels in some situations; I’m having to listen more, I’m struggling more in speech in noise situations and some high frequency speech is sounding harsh. I’ve made some programming adjustments with my audiologist, but I’m not noticing a big enough improvement to justify the cost.

I’m considering trying Oticon Intent 1 and/or Resound Nexia 9, but my audiologist is cautioning me against them since I like a lot of gain and it’ll be a RIC instead of a BTE for Oticon at least. I had Phonak Naida Q90 RICs before my Marvels, and they were okay but I felt like I was missing out on conversations and the hearing aids weren’t as durable as my previous BTEs. Obviously, technology has advanced since then.

So my question is, has anyone else switched from BTE to RIC for severe to profound hearing loss and what has your experience been? Are there other hearing aids I should be considering for my hearing loss?

Thank you!

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I have a severe hearing loss and wear Rit aids but never wore the BTE aids. I am now wearing the Oticon INTENT1 aids and f8nd them for my needs wonderful. I have the Samsung S23 phone and have a great experience with connectivity to my phone, but do have to use the Oticon connect clip for connectivity to my tablets, and laptop. I also really enjoy using my Bose over the hear headphones over my aids to stream audio books at times. I have acrylic custom ear molds with embedded receivers. I will say you should try the INTENT aids, but I would never say you will get my experience with them, there is so many variables, with in my opinion the biggest is the audiologist that fits you, how well that audiologist is willing to listen to you, and be willing to make adjustments due to your input. Also on how well you can adapt to the Oticon sound, I call it surround sound as i can hear almost all around me, less s9 right behind me. But i can hear my wife talking to me from the kitchen which is behind me when i am setting in my recliner.

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I have gone from BTE to RIC and vice versa. Personally with my loss I have needed to go with the Naidas, which are more powerful.

I don’t think there is any advantage in speech in noise with a RIC. I think for severe losses it could be worse. I trialled a RIC recently and it was awful in noise, but I’m unsure if that was because it was a bad fit.

I would check your prescriptive formula on your Phonak Lumitys. I assume it’s the Lumity Naida SP. If it’s the Phonak Adaptive Digital it might be worth asking the audiologist to change it to NAL-NL2. It made a big difference in noise for me.

If that is unsuccessful it might be worth trialling the Intent or BTE power that is now available from Resound.

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This is what I thought when I tried the Audeo Marvel. I felt like I was going to loose and break them as they were so tiny and flimsy. (My opinion.)

I’ve worn BTE my whole life.

@kevels55 keeps blowing his receivers / speakers on his RIC due to amount of gain needed.

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I am similar loss and use Naida P90 BTE. It has been over a decade since RIC with power receivers. I got tired of replacing receivers and removing wax filters. I think I hear better with BTE and use assisted devices like Roger for noisy restaurants.

I can’t speak for Oticon or Resound BTE.

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Yeah @Zebras… Twas a pain in the proverbial! I don’t think I got these RIC’s with custom moulds to last more than 10 months, without the Marvel 90’s, blowing a receiver? So much so, I had a set of 105db RIC’s & moulds made up, on stand by for this eventuality… I don’t wear the Marvel RIC’s very often nowadays, but they are without a shadow of doubt, the most comfortable aids, I have ever used! I do wear them occasionally when 1 of my ears flare up, with an infection or a sore (or I just fancy a change) I usually keep them in for a week or so till things die down… Then we are good to go, with my Naida Lumity’s… Cheers Kev :wink:

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I also used Phonak aids, BTE and RIC types.
Your left ear at 3000 and up is a big loss for sure. Can you actually hear tones in those frequencies? Not scratches or clicks etc.

Pending on how you answer the above question I think RIC aids would be worth a try just to see how they do. As others have mentioned the wax guards are a pain. If you sweat a lot the BTE aids are superior to RIC aids IMO. I also agree to BTE aids durability and they are just easier to own and take care of.

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Thanks all. I went to my audiologist today and tried out a new programming on my Lumity Naida SPs and also tried out the Oticon Intent.

  • @glucas They are Lumity Naida SP. It was originally set to Adaptive Digital. I tried NAL-NL2 in the office, but couldn’t stand the sound. I’m trying Adaptive Digital Contrast this week, which Phonak said works well with my loss.

  • I tried Oticon Intent in the office with power domes. Granted, it was just a 5 minute trial without custom molds but it sounded muffled. If I wanted to truly try the Oticon Intent, I would need to get nonrefundable custom molds. I’m not sure if it’s worth it.

  • @Raudrive, I do struggle sometimes with the s, th, r sounds, but I do hear/understand them. The Phonak SoundRecover helps, although they occasionally come off as harsh sounding.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’s a power BTE option that isn’t the Oticon Xceed which is old technology. My audiologist isn’t as familiar with Resound, so I would have to find another audiologist if I wanted to go that route.

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Have you ever took an aid off and just listened with one aid for a few hours? Then write down what is good and bad about that.
Then try the same thing with the other ear. Write down the good and bad.
You might be very surprised at the outcome. Fine tuning for each ear can do really good things for speech understanding. It’s time consuming but is worth it.

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Thanks.
A little bit of frequency lowering might help this, just the left ear. When the S’s slur you have gone too far. This will take some time to adjust to.

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I’m also very interested in this topic for a completely different reason. I am tempted to learn to ride a motorbike but I know my BTE aid would whistle incessently under a helmet. An ultra power RIC would be amazing to find…

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@finovox

I might of remembered wrongly but I believe @cvkemp has a motorbike and wears RIC HAs.

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Personally, I can’t understand why RIC or BTE would make any difference regarding feedback with a helmet on.

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It’s a while since I could wear RIC and they were considerably less prone to feedback but you are correct I should not assume that my current gain requirements which have increased since then would be less prone.

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I have a Vespa scooter, GTS300, I ride it with my hearing aids on an in the default program and default volume.

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I currently have both BTE & RIC aids with profound loss. The VA would only supply me with powerful Oticon OPN-S1 BTE’s. I also purchased KS9 RIC from Costco. The BTE provide me with the best possible hearing for conversation and active listening. The RIC sacrifice clarity for cosmetic, comfort, and active wear. It depends on what your needs are. If you can only have one, the BTE provide the best possible aid to hearing loss.

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Hi Ed, I am just like you. More1 RIC for cosmetic. P70 & Xceed 1 BTE for active listening.

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Go for RIC of course, especially due to the fact that if you need you’ll get software and possibly hardwear upgrades, while w/ your BTE this is not going to happen.

This information is incorrect. RIC aids do have the advantage of changing receivers but that’s all. BTE aids have advantages in other ways as mentioned earlier.

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Not true, modern BTE aids also have firmware updates.

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