Hollow tubes vs wired speaker


Do folks have any opinion on or preference for BTE HAs connected to the ear canal via a wired speaker or connected via a hollow tube. I currently have Phonak Audeos, connected by a wire to what I presume are tiny speakers in the ear’s canal. I am guessing that for those HAs connected by a hollow tube there would almost certainly be some attenution/diminution of sound generated in the HA and “broadcast” down the hollow tube. Or am I all wet?

I assume, but don’t know for a fact, that the wired speakers would have to be more expensive than the hollow tubes?


You have a RIC aid. (Receiver In Canal)

BTE aids have the tube. They are for those with a large loss.

What you have is the latest tech for those who’s loss can be covered with the RIC.


BTE (with hollow tube) and RIC (with speaker) are similarly priced. BTEs tend to be preferred for for profouind losses.


May I ask why? It seems counterintuitive. One would think that having the RIC would provide clearer “reception” than having the sound come via a hollow tube, no? Not being argumentative; just trying to sort things out in my head. Thanks


It is related to size. The BTE can house a larger speaker. A smaller speaker can distort more at higher output.


It depends on the hearing aid model. I had a RIC with a heavy duty receiver however it wasn’t powerful enough for my profound hearing loss. I went back to my older BTE aids. I am getting new Phonak Naida V90s UP aids.


My current RIC is indeed sufficient. Told my audiologist today that when I put the HAs in each morning, I use the remote to move down to the lowest volume setting, then move up three clicks. I think the halfway point is 5 clicks. I only use the highest setting under the most adverse of conditions: rooms with lots of sound absorbing materials combined with a speaker with a very soft voice.

Love to be able to try the BTE/tube HAs to see if the quality of the sound is better than the RIC.


It would be helpful for us to know if you have severe or profound hearing loss. Your audio-gram would help us to understand your loss and provide a better response.


I’ll email my audiologist and ask for a copy of today’s audio-gram.


For moderate losses, a slim tube option might be better if you have an ear with effusion or produce excess wax.
Severe losses can be fairly well handled by RIC for dry ears, but the amount of headroom might be limited if there’s a subsequent decline in the loss.
Profound losses usually require a high powered BTE, but some people can do better with the refinement of a well tuned RIC, especially if there’s a distortion issue.

The answer is ‘it depends’ on the power, the pathology, the shape of the loss and several other factors.


Hi everyone, I’ve been around for a while checking things out but have not posted. This question convinced me to sign up and make my first post.

I have a moderate hearing loss and I’ve been using an RIC for the past 8 years in my Oticon hearing aids. I switched audiologists (I like them both, but the new one is less expensive) and my new audiologist advises against them because of the high replacement cost if anything goes wrong. I assumed they would help to improve my hearing, but he had me try the tubes and compare, and I personally could not tell a difference. That’s not to say that other users wouldn’t see a difference, or that I would be unable to differentiate in all conditions and circumstances.

Thanks for your question. I need to buy new hearing aids and haven’t decided which direction to go with them, so I’m eager to hear the responses of those who are better informed. I hope this thread will continue!


What was at the end of the tubes? Was it a dome? Just curious because I was wondering about shifting from the RIC to a type of HAs whereby the sound comes down the plastic tube to the ear. BTW, anyone know the proper terminology for the HAs that are behind the ear and use the tubes vice a RIC?

Also, FYI, I was talking to my audiologist about moving up to a set of HAs that is controllable by a smartphone app. She was very enthusiastic about the Oticon HA IF one wanted to control them via a smartphone app.


Tubes are BTE aids.

I don’t see the high replacement cost unless it is cheaper because you pay for all support. If that is the case, you price reduction should be 50% in ala carte pricing. Otherwise, you can get them online for that or a bit less and pay him per visit with the online vendor giving you at least a two year warranty for repairs. You new guy sounds like he’d charge you for all repairs and pocket that.

BTE tubes need replacement about every 6 months. Will he charge you for that?

Look to Costco for a longer warranty coupled to lower price.


Hearing aids “with tubes” are BTEs (Behind the Ear) . BTEs can be further differntiated by being “thin tube” as well as the standard sized tube. The classic reason to use a BTE is if you need more power as RICs have pretty powerful receivers now.

Although Oticon Opns have a great reputation, they are not known for having a great app. Resound Linx 3D (or Forte 8 from Costco) have great apps.


FWIW, a good friend of mine, another senior, got his first pair of RIC HAs from an audiologist with sterling ratings. Next pair he got was Oticons, RIC, at COSTCO. He paid about 50% less for them at COSTCO and he said, just last week, that he has been completely satisfied with their sales and service.
That said, I live in an area which has a quarterly publication (Washington Consumer Checkbook), a local equivalent of Consumer Reports, which rates service providers: doctors, dentists, audiologists, painters, etc. They list the HA services of the 1/2 dozen COSTCOS in the area and the ratings vary widely. The highest rating for Overall Quality was 93%; lowest was 59%. If there is more than one COSTCO near you, it would behoove you to check them out before deciding


Costco does not carry Oticons. They do carry Bernafons, which are made by the same parent company, but they are not Oticons.


Have to agree with this. My senior pal showed me the Oticon App on his iPhone X. Not very impressive, I was expecting an app which somewhat resembles the equalizer (if that’s what it’s called) on a good stereo system, like this:

The Oticon’s app seemed sadly lacking.


I will double-check with my friend, but fairly certain the app he showed me on his phone was Oticon. I just messaged him, but no reply. Perhaps COSTCO offers different products in different geographic areas?


You are right; I was wrong, His are ReSound HAs. My bad :frowning:


What would you do with that?