Starkey S7 CIC, or Behind the Ear: which should I get?

I am getting hearing aids next month! My audiologist is recommending Starkey S7 CIC hearing aids.

The California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) is paying for my hearing aids. My DOR case manager says I should consider Behind The Ear hearing aids. He says Behind The Ear hearing aids last longer than CICs, and provide better sound quality.

Would the Starkey S7 CICs be a good choice? Would the Behind the Ear hearing aids provide better sound quality? Which ones would last longer?

Behind the Ear aids do tend to last longer due to the shape of your ear canal changing with time. A CIC would require a completely new aid if the ear changes shape where-as this doesn’t affect a BTE.

CICs also are more prone to breaking - as they are at risk of damage from sweat/wax, which requires them to be sent off if fixed.

There are several different types of BTE’s, there are ones with thin tubes, ones with moulds and there are also RICs (receiver in the canals). Looking at your hearing loss, it appears to be in the range for RICs. Rather than sound travelling through a tube to your ear where it is at risk of degrading, the sound is produced directly in your ear. Because the distance between the receiver and the microphone is longer than if it was produced behind your ear, the risk of whistling is much less. Also, if your hearing loss deteriorates at all, a more powerful receiver can be fitted by your audiologist at no extra cost so they should last longer. Definitely worth checking out the STarkey Zons, Resound Dots or Phonak Audeo Smarts.

I don’t mean to sound like I am criticizing CICs, they have their place - but if it is longevity and sound quality you are after then a BTE may be more appropriate.

I have gone from an ITE aids to the RITE (RIC) aids. And I will tell you that the difference in the sound is like night and day. And as for as comfort is concern that to is the difference in night and day. My Orticon duals are so comfortable with the open domes that I forget they are there. And I was always having issues with the pressure in my ear canal with the ITE aids.

That’s a good point. The other thing about RICs is because they are open fitting i.e. they do not occlude the ear canal, such as a CIC would do, the hearing aid does not need to amplify the low frequencies as much. With a CIC, because it is occluded, this actually creates more of a hearing loss in the low frequencies which the hearing aid needs to take account of. The mix of normal sound and amplified sound with any open fitting makes for a much more comfortable and natural sounding hearing aid.