There is probably more misinformation about RIC versus non-RIC than almost any other aspect of open ear hearing aids.
Resound has done some blind tests and people, with various types of hearing loss, could not consistently identify a RIC or non-RIC, even when fitted with one of each.
I have tried both back to back. Same model and brand of hearing aid programmed the same with the same results. I can’t tell any sound quality differences.
Starkey, who have extended warranty plans in the very DNA of the company will not cover receiver tubes in extended warranties.
If you doubt what I am say here there is an easy way to verify if it is true. Many dispensers do not have a restocking fee so find one that sells Siemens, Phonak, or Unitron. Unitron is probably the simplest.
Buy 2 pairs of hearing aids and have them both programmed exactly the same and try them both in varying sound situations then you will know what works for you and return the ones that don’t.
Siemens: Pure 500 / Life 500
Phonak: Versata / Audeo Yes 5
Unitron: Any model that comes in Moxi and Moda/ModaII
Advantages of a RIC are most manufactures offer varying receiver power levels so it is possible to fit a greater loss with a RIC aid.
Disadvantages of RIC are mostly due to maintenance issues. It is much more tedious to keep them free of wax, moisture, and other debris found in some people’s ear canals. The connection of the receiver to the hearing aid case can be a source of additional problems if it is not absolutely waterproof.
Wax guards, grid domes, etc. What ever wax protection the manufacturer uses must be changed often. An ongoing expense. Replacing a RIC tube once out of warranty is in the $100 area.
Non-RIC also called slim tubes, sound tubes, Life tubes, etc
Advantages of non-RIC tubes are greater reliability, simple and easy cleaning, and overall costs.
These tubes are easier to reshape for non standard shaped ears, just remove them from the aid and dip in very hot water and hold in the new shape while they cool.
To clean a blockage remove from the aid and blow through it. ( can be done in the dark while walking down the street )
Very easy and inexpensive to replace which should be done every few months.
Disadvantages of slim tubes are few.