How do I find the right RIC hearing aid for me?


I am a 30 year old male and have conductive hearing loss, about a 30 dB ABG in the lower frequencies, due to 4 failed tympanoplastys (ear drum patches). I am currently evaluating a Phonak Virto B90 and have not been impressed. It does not seem loud enough 90% of the time, I don’t have symmetry between my good left ear and my right ear with the HA in it (especially when listening to music in a vehicle), there is a lot of static, and the AutoSense feature makes it seem like the hearing aid is turning off.

I want to look at a Micro/Mini RIC hearing aid. The problem I am having is, the internet is filled with biased, commercialized information and I can’t find a one stop shop that allows for comparison between the brands that are in the U.S. market right now. How can I find the available options that suit my needs/wants? What I am looking for:

  1. Discrete (Micro/Mini)
  2. Allows for a feeling of symmetry between my two ears. This may be due to the filter that trys to block out sounds like wind noise but also blocks out sounds that I want to hear. It may also be because my current Phonak IIC doesn’t have the juice to give me the volume I desire.
  3. Gives me more control over volume adjustment. I want to be able to make the changes, not the hearing aid since, from what I can tell, the hearing aid doesn’t do a very good job of it
  4. Allows for the gain to increase with the increase in sound or music. It often feels like the HA only works when the sound levels are at a minimum. For example, when listening to music in my vehicle, my HA will not increase in volume as the music increases in volume

Also, what types of improvements can I expect when switching from an IIC to an RIC? Are there technological or equipment differences between them?



Often the CIC aids will only have two mics while the RIC will have 4. This improves directionality and noise controls.

Some have greater volume problems than others. A compression adjustment should address that. Road noise can cause the aids to consider you are in a noise situation and adjust. You can ask for a car program to address that.


Regarding music: It sounds like you’re describing issues with dynamic range. Widex, Oticon, Bernafon and I believe Sonic deal wth this better than most.

RICs tend to have more features than IICs. They tend to deal with noise reduction as they have more microphones and they have better separation. Streaming music and phone calls directly from ipnone is also common in RICs and tends not to be available in IICs.


Thanks for the reply. It seems to me that with music, the amplification stops at a certain volume. Do you know if it is possible for the gain of the HA to increase proportionally as the volume of music/environment increases?


The issue I’m more aware of is that microphones won’t accept input from certain loud sounds. What you’re describing sounds like a “compression” issue. I’ll try to explain briefly: Hearing aids apply a lot more gain to “soft sounds( often <50dB)” (to make them audible) than they do to “loud sounds(often >80dB)” It sounds like you want more of a linear response. Your hearing aid fitter should be able to set up a program for music with more of a linear response.


I am considering getting these to try out.


Let us know how you like them, Daffy. There will be more like these in the future and that’s a good thing.