ITE (in the ear) vs RIC or BTE

Hi, I’m looking for advice on pros/cons of ITE or ITC style HA compared to RIC or BTE style.

I have been wearing ITC/ITE HA’s for about 10 years. I am about to buy new HA’s, and was recommended to get either 1) Siemens Pure RIC (with molded piece, apparently my loss in high frequencies make the open fits unsuitable - unfortunately), or 2) Nu Ear Imagine 2’s as an ITC or ITE.

Are there noticeable differences in hearing quality:

  • microphone location in more natural location (in ear for ITC) vs behind the ear (RIC)
    -telephone: I was always removing my ITC to use the phone, sound quality was better this way (using telephone volume adjustment) than using the HA (sounded distant, tinny, like coming from a radio) BUT this is how I lost my right HA (recently). Would the RIC/BTE style provide better quality sound on the telephone? I currently have an open-fit as a loaner from my HA dispenser (for the one I lost) and the sound is quite good on the phone (maybe because it’s open fit?)

  • lifestyle:
    - I’m a fairly active person (ultimate frisbee, cross-country skiing, various outdoor activities)
    - would the RIC or BTE be more (or less) susceptible to moisture damage (sweat/rain), or dislodging from my ear during a ‘fall to ground’ type of movement in ultimate)

  • any other pro’s or con’s for the RIC/BTE style compared to ITC?

Thank you,

With your loss, I think you are going to get similar results from either RIC or ITC. I think that these days the trend is more towards the loudspeaker being in your ear, as opposed to in the hearing aid (BTE style).

If you have an active lifestyle the ITC is probably going to stay in the ear better, especially if the put a canal lock on it.

Many companies now use advanced nano technology on their aids to repel moisture. The Nu Ear product you mentioned also has a dual layer of nano technology to repel oils as well as moisture. This will help a lot with sweat or anything else that’s likely to get near it!

Nu Ear, also offer the ‘Look’ aid now, which is basically the Starkey Wi, in an ITC format, which was not possible a few months ago.

The main benefits of a BTE or RIC are going to be more ‘spare’ power should your hearing get any worse. A RIC can be fitted with a more powerful loudspeaker if your hearing changes, and a BTE is likely to have a lot more power in it to start with.

Really though, the type of loss you have one could make a decent argument for various styles of aid. So I’d try one that seems like a good idea, but have an understanding with the hearing professional that you might want to switch styles in the first 60 days at no cost (other than a difference in purchase price).

OK, here are my experiences. First, a bit of my history.

I started wearing 1 Siemens CIC aid for 3 years. I then moved on to a pair of Widex Diva ITC aids for 7 years. Last year, I tried a couple of Phonak BTE aids, first open fit & then with custom molds. A while after returning them, I tryed some open fit BTE aids from Hearsource. I am currently wearing Micro Tech (Starkey) CIC aids.

CIC vs. ITC aids: the user tends to have a better sense of the direction of sound with the CIC aids. Battery life appears to be slightly shorter with the CIC size 10 battery vs. the ITC 312 battery.

Depending on the programming, the BTE aids can have issues with wind or, perhaps, long hair rubbing the aids.

My ITC aids have telecoil & button, so phone was not much of an issue. The BTEs also had either an automatic telecoil or phone program, but you needed to hold the phone a little higher on the ear than normal. My current CIC aids have a phone program, but I do not find it very helpful.

The BTE aids generally can fit more severe or unusual losses that CIC aids. If a receiver (speaker) goes bad with a RIC aid, that is generally a standard part stocked by your professional. CIC and ITC aids need to be sent out for receiver issues.

For the BTE aids I trialled, I do not believe the Phonak aids were properly programmed for me. The Hearsource aids were a lower end product and had feedback issues.

Many professioanals here prefer the BTE style aids for their patients. I sometimes wish I had tried BTE/RIC aids before my CIC trial ran out. I am currently without one of those aids for the second time since June. :frowning:

I hope my rambling helps.

EDIT: I see one of them, ZCT, answered you while I was typing this.

Just call me Flash. Actually, don’t. :rolleyes: