Hi- new here. Got my 1st IIC aids almost 4 weeks ago and hate them. Trying Oticon RIC's next week. Looking for people who tried both


Hi all. I’m new to HA’s and as a 49 yr old woman I wanted to try IIC’s first, despite my audiologist advising me that RIC’s would be better for me, I have a bilateral mild-mod loss that’s been getting more obvious over the past few years and I finally decided to take action. Both my parents (in their 70’s now) have been wearing HA’s for years and they complain about them all the time and gave me no helpful advice.
I’ve been wearing the Starkey Soundlens IIC’s with Bluetooth for almost 4 weeks and I’m not having a great experience with them. I’m still getting used to the feeling of something in my ears all the time- sometimes I feel like they’re more like earplugs than hearing aids. They’re also TERRIBLE anywhere with a lot of background noise. I went back to the aud 2 of 3 times to fine tune them and try to fix the settings for restaurant mode (I have a Starkey remote to carry separately that was supposed to help in louder settings), but all they do is amplify the background noise so that I can’t hear the people with me at all. I end up taking out the hearing aids in noisy environments, which is obviously not helping me. My audiologist is allowing me to try out the Oticon RIC hearing aids for a few weeks to compare and see if I feel better with those. He was actually wearing them and showing me his own. I’m wondering if anyone here has worn both types and can tell me what to expect? I’m still not thrilled about having something behind my ear, but I think I need to get what’s going to work best for me. It’s just accepting the hearing loss at a relatively young age that’s been hard for me. Please don’t flame- I’m trying here. Thanks for any advice or comparisons!


It is a shock and a type of loss, and you are reacting normally to a loss. It does take some time to get used to the idea. It also takes some time for your brain to adjust to the new sounds.

Some pros suggest a gradual program of wearing them in quiet environments first, then one-on-one conversations in quiet places, and gradually working up to louder places over a period of several weeks. Jumping right into loud restaurants is probably not going to work, with any hearing aids.

As some here have said, hearing aids are not like glasses, where you put them on and see perfectly. At first, sounds like clanking dishes and potato chip bags are almost unbearable, but your brain learns to ignore some of that and concentrate on voices.


Hi there,

I understand your situation completely. I have been using iic aids for the past 10 years, and still do every day for work in a fairly quiet office. Using them in noise is a fairly awful though, just a cacophony of loud noise. I would always take them out in restaurants or busy social situations- just when I really needed some help.

3 months ago I decided I was missing out too much, and found myself avoiding social situations. I went to Costco and was fitted with RIC aids - Phonak Brio 3s. In a quiet setting, they perform about the same as the iic aids, but the ability to process sound in noise was a revelation. I am still making adjustments, but now I use the RIC aids every evening and weekend and wouldn’t be without them. I have closed domes with 2 tiny vent holes, so have no occlusion at all, and I honestly forget I am wearing them they are so comfortable.

I love the iic aids for their discreetness, but there is no comparison in terms of functionality and versatility, the RIC aids winning hands down.

Do give the RIC aids a go - the version I have is so small no one ever notices them, but as they use a size 10 battery, I am changing them every 3 days or so - which I am fine with.

Good luck with finding something that works for you.


give Oticon a go! been good to me for years


Thank you all for your responses. My audiologist didn’t tell me to ease into wearing them, although I did hear that from others. I’ve been wearing them as much as possible b/c I know my brain needs to adjust and I was hoping that wearing them for most of the day would help accelerate the process. I’m sure I need more time to adjust and get used to them, but I can’t see getting used to the way restaurants currently sound with them in- it’s deafening and distressing.
I’ll try the Oticons next week and see how I feel and how they differ. I was really hoping to like the Soundlens HA’s- I read so many posts from newbies who talk about wearing their hearing aids for the first time and how amazing everything sounds. That’s not what I’m experiencing, although they do help in quiet environments. I just have an active life and I’m often in groups and restaurants and cafes, etc. I think I want to be able to hear better more than I want my HA’s to be invisible. Hoping that I get more benefit from the next pair.



Hopefully you have also read all the posts about the overwhelming new sounds. It takes at least a month for your brain to figure out what sounds can be safely ignored, hence the advice to “ease into it.” Different people react different ways, but we’ve all gone through that initial struggle with the new noises.

That’s a very good place to be.

I never tried an IIC, but I did try a Starky Muse CIC and liked it a lot. CICs are very obvious in your ear, but I don’t care. I enjoyed not having something behind my ear, and I found the noise suppression to be impressive. I gave up on it because of the Bluetooth funtionality. I now have Phonak Marvel RICs, so I’m back to having a device behind my ear. But I can hear clearly, and it plays well with my phone, those are the most important things.

I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Keep us posted.


My own 2-cents’ worth here, having worn aids for 35 yrs: ITE custom mold initially, and now REI the past few years.

Of all the aids I’ve tried over those decades (Starky, Phonak, AGX, Oticon) my new Phonak Marvels win HANDS-DOWN! These do require a small unit behind the ear, and the receiver has a silicone dome IN the ear - so you’d have those two areas to get used to with new sensations.

There is also the annoying hair-rustling and even whistling with hats over the ears. However, in contrast to ALL other aids I’ve worn, these Marvels really do seem to work the best in noisy places. I may be deaf as a doorknob, but with aids, I actually have a very discriminating and nuanced ear, capable of articulating exactly how a pair of aids render sounds: music, noisy places, speech, etc.

I have found that these wide-beam mic’d Marvels give me about a 17% advantage in hearing in noisy places over my year-old Phonak Audeo B-Direct. Also, these stream in stereo with my Android phone. So IF this is an option worth exploring: GO FOR IT. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain finding a pair of aids that work for YOU.

You mention: <<I’ll try the Oticons next week and see how I feel and how they differ.>> The Opns did NOT work for me at all. No idea why, but I found ALL noise was just equally competing for my ear/brain to process. No amount of fiddling with the frequencies or setting up a directional program worked worth a gnat to me. Each person’s listening preferences are different, so perhaps these will work beautifully for you. If not, don’t stop there. Try the Phonak Marvels.


I am also a first time user and I have been wearing the Marvels full time for the past three weeks. I totally agree with Bluejay although I don’t have any basis for comparison (except for the LG headphones I used to wear while working out). I haven’t had any problem getting used to having them behind my ears; they are quite small and light and I don’t even know they are there. Also my hair is somewhat long so they aren’t visible but even if they are I really don’t care. My experience thus far is all positive. I am using the large closed domes (small hole at the nipple) and they are still somewhat noticeable to me but most of the time I don’t even realize they are there and each day is an improvement. Same with loud noises (plates banging, doors slamming); at first very uncomfortable but gradually my brain is adjusting. Attended two concerts and numerous loud restaurants and the improvements have been significant.


I’m also the same with my Phonak Brio’s. They perform outstanding in background noise. I have no issues what so ever.


^^^ Lucky! Lucky! Lucky!

I’m not there yet - but striving for that kind of satisfaction. :slight_smile:


Thank you all for chiming in. Sorry to have disappeared- I was traveling over winter break and then I came home to a 2 day power outage! Anyway, I went back to my audiologist yesterday and am now wearing the Oticon RIC’s and I already like them so much more than the Starkey Soundlens IIC’s that I thought I’d like. These are so much more comfortable- I’m not dying to get them out of my ears by the end of the day. Instead, I’m almost forgetting that I have them in. I’m in my first Starbucks right now since getting them and I’m not overwhelmed by background noise, which is nice. I’ll have another test tomorrow when I meet a friend for lunch in a busy café. I avoided these at first b/c I was afraid they’d be more visible, but my family can’t even see them with my longish wavy hair. My kids literally didn’t know where they were. I think I care less about the visibility at this point anyway, after experiencing how much I disliked the IIC’s/. I think part of the problem was my narrow ear canals- the IIC’s really plugged up my ears and weren’t as far in as they would typically be.
Anyway, I also mentioned the Marvels to my audiologist and asked if they would be an option if these aren’t working for me and he assured me that they would be. He said that he used to deal with a lot of Phonak devices, but lately has mostly switched to Starkey and Oticon.
Anyway, I just wanted to get online to say thank you again for the input and advice and to share what limited experience I have with my 2nd pair of HA’s. Thanks!