Hi everyone,

I’ve been wearing BTE hearing aids since I was about five years old, and I’m just starting the process of finding a new pair. (The pair I’m wearing right now are from the mid '90s. Yikes!)

Anyway, my recommendation was a RITE (Receive in the Canal) pair of aids. My concern is that, as a lifelong BTE user, I simply won’t be able to get used to the RITE style. Has anyone here successfully switched from BTE to RITE? Are there any RITE users here who are happy (or unhappy) with this particular style? Any advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks and take care,


Wouldn’t the only difference between what you are used to and the RITE be that you currently have a tube running from the BTE to your ear canal whereas the RITE has a real fine wire running to the canal terminating to a really miniature speaker (aka receiver) that is actually inside the ear canal?

To me, it would seem that the RITE would feel just like what you are used to, unless I misunderstand what you currently have.

Hi Renovator,

My concern is primarily the receiver that resides in the ear canal. From what I understand, this would be a hard piece of plastic, no? I am currently used to the soft material that BTE molds are made out of, so it would seem as though the receiver would be quite a different feel.

I’m also a little concerned that the thin wire might not securely hold the behind-the-ear part of the hearing aid securely in place. What I mean is, without the hook to securely hold the hearing aid, won’t I feel the hearing aid move around every time I shake or turn my head?

I hope that I’m making sense. :slight_smile:



David, you make complete sense.
The speaker in the ear canal is such a small diameter that a piece of very soft and flexible silicone rubber ‘dome’ is inserted onto the end of the speaker cylinder - which is what touches the ear canal. Yes, the speaker and its cylinder are hard, but they are just a bit wider than a head of a pin. The RITE itself may touch a portion of the ear canal but it is in no way jammed into the canal. What is tight-fitting is the proper-size dome that snaps onto the end of the RITE. I take the largest size (10).

As for you losing them, they are very light and very small. I doubt the piece behind the ear (BTE) is going to get lost. If you have any hair at all, that would help to hold it in place.

Click on my username and go into my Album that I made showing my BTE with RITE, I wear on both left and right sides. Click on each picture to make it larger.

My head is completely shaved and I wear glasses full-time. The hearing aids never bounce around or feel like the BTE is moving at all. I think part of the reason is they are so light, yet that very thin wire is rather rigid and helps to secure them in position. The way the wire is bent in an S shape also helps to hold them in. In order to remove my aids I virtually have to PEEL them off from my head! I suppose if a car hit me going 50 MPH they may get jarred out, but if that happened, the last thing I would worry about are my hearing aids. The same holds true if I fell off the roof and landed on my head against the pavement - again, the hearing aids would be no concern at all compared to other problems I would encounter!

Hi Renovator
Might I enquire what particular advantages do the RITE offer to you over the BTE? I am presently considering upgrading my BTE Phonak Persoe so am very interested in your experience. If it is a matter of cosmetic appearance, that would not particularly bother me as I am big enough and ugly enough for it not to worry me. I had in fact thought of buying some bright red ones or similar. Perhaps I am at the stage of life when I have changed to start bragging about my age and my “disability”!!!:):):):):):):slight_smile:

I’m sorry, I cannot help you there as these RITE BTE aids are the first and only ones I have ever used!

I thought that was clear in my post (my signature line, anyway).

Someone who has been wearing aids long enough who has worn both could tell you.

I was giving details as the original post seemed a bit off with respect to how the RITE’s fit in the ear canal. It seems the OP thought that the hard plastic RITE’s just fit snugly into the canal whereas it is not the receiver (speaker) itself but the silicone rubber dome that is what touches the canal and holds it in place!

The advantage of a RITE is for those of us with mild to moderate high frequency losses - an open or tulip dome results in little to no occlusion. With your loss you’d likely need a power dome, resulting in occlusion and negating the benefit, other than it might be less noticeable in and on your ear that a traditional BTE and ear mold.

One obvious technical advantage is moving the receiver out and away from the case and microphones is somewhat reduced potential for feedback. Also there may be less body fluids in the canal (perspiration…).

A minor disadvantage is that the electronic receiver itself is in( or almost in) the canal subject to all the canal products such as wax etc. Another minor disadvantage is that switching aids with RITE is more involved. With BTE the molds can easily be swapped. Ed

Most of the RITE (RIC) are BTE’s - Just the speaker is in the ear instead of in the hearing aid and them piped to the ear via the tube.

Dave - You’ve been wearing aids since 5? Safe to say you’re in your mid 30’s now? So, have you used Analog aids - I wouldn’t worry about the aid - Try it out! Find out first hand IF you like it or not. Some analog users have a hard switch to the digitals. Try different brands/manfacturers too.

What does your audiogram look like??

I’ve hears some complain of the sore canal while using RICs, but only if they are not used to hearing aids. The wires going from the aid to the receiver are actually quite stiff and in most cases covered with plastic tubing. Also the ones I have came with a little tensioner “kick stand” to keep the receiver properly placed.

I have been using BTE aides for 15 years and just recently got RITE aides. I must say I am having trouble getting use to them, actually mostly the domes. Too far in they feel like I have “hearing protection ear plugs” in, too far out and they feedback. They are always changing position on me with such activities as eating, talking, walking, and such.
As a result I keep pushing them back in place. I am using a 12mm dome. I have an appointment to get an ear mold that will work with the Receiver instead of the dome.

I would like to add a few points.

I believe the device inserted in the RIC or RITE is a “receiver” and not a speaker. The big change over the last five years has been relocating the receiver out of the HA body and into the HA mold.

Plus - receiver in the ear canal or ear should improve hearing level because incoming sound is closer to the middle/inner ear…

Negative - receiver in the ear canal or ear increases chance of feedback, especially when someone talks, chews, yawns. etc.

And then you have to factor in the type/size receiver that’s best for the user as related to hearing loss. Things were a lot easier five - ten years ago when every thing was in the HA itself, when you used a BTE. Now you have to deal with the type HA you want, the type receiver you want, the type mold you want, the type color you want. It can get pretty complicated if you are a newbie or don’t want to do any research on your own.

I still think a majority of HA manufacturers are dealing with feedback problems, more so with the more powerful aids. Wonder when the day comes when you have wireless connection between the HA and receiver which would still be located in the ear canal, or middle ear. Removing the connect wire or plastic tubing would be nice but probably a distant thought.

A receiver is just a misnomer for a speaker - it comes from the early days of the telephone industry where people had to understand that they needed to talk into the mic not the ‘speaker’ unit.

What you are describing in your last paragraph is exactly how a CROS system works - available today.

Looks like that technology is coming, I was just wondering if HA’s will soon not need the connecting wire between the HA and the receiver. The Cros Systemworks looks interesting but its mainly for someone with a dead ear on one side wireless connecting to the good ear. Still its wireless which is what I was thinking.

The FDA held up new HA’s a year or so ago for supposed safety reason related to wireless transmission and the possible damage new aids might do to the inner ear/nerves. I think the FDA over reacted since Europe was selling HA’s with bluetooth capability and other wireless features, and as far as I know, no health or safety issues (hearing wise) have surfaced.

AudiologyNow convention starts in two weeks, so maybe we will hear/read more about the above. And of course new HA’s coming out which I tend to feel with be the same as last years HA’s - with just a fancy new name to confuse consumers.

From a service side of things, a BTE requires the tube to be replaced about twice a year, earmolds require replacement about once every 2 years. (average replacement for most people) There is usually a cost involved with this type of service.

The RITE/RIC hearing aids, are mostly user serviceable with wax guards, replacement domes. These can be purchased relatively inexpensively. Recievers may require replacement due to moisture/wax related issues which if the hearing aid is under warranty, is replaced at no charge.
Custom made earmolds are possible with RITE/RIC aids, but these require no different care, but may need to be replaced as the ear changes.

That said, power levels and how the ear canal is sealed makes all the difference in the world.

My philosophy is that if you are wearing a full BTE and are happy with the performance, stick with it. BTE’s usually have the longest life and useage time of all hearing aids.

I hope that helps.

I have a closed tulip dome on my Phonak Audeo Smart V BTE aids, but am having trouble hearing as my hearing loss has increased. What is a power dome and do you believe that this might work for me rather than having to get a molded ear piece?

A power dome looks like 2 umbrellas stacked on top of each other. It pretty much plugs the entire canal up. Personally, I don’t like them. I find that people who need this amount of occlusion to provide adequate amplification do much better sound quality and comfort wise going to a custom made earmold. Phonak also had a molded piece that permanently houses the receiver - looks almost exactly like a CIC hearing aid but one that attaches to the BTE with the receiver wire.

Thanks doc! Sounds like I need to find a Phonak person here. I got my aids in KC but now live in Indy.

I love my RITE hearing aids but because of my increased hearing loss, I now need to get the molds for the receiver. I would suggest that you just get a different size dome first to see if that works. If the dome isn’t the right size it will shift in your ear. Whatever you get, give yourself time to get used to it. It was so wonderful when I got the RITE aids as I didn’t have the occlusive feeling and they were so much more comfortable. Wish I could just stay with the domes, but oh well…good luck with your aids!