Tired of RIC and looking for BTE again

Long story short, my first week into the virus shutdown, my TV died, a short time after that, my left hearing aid died too. It’s a RIC and my second time being repaired. The first time it broke it was under warrenty, but no more. It’s a Widex Clear 440 RIC. I have to admit I’ve always hated RIC because I find them just as fragile as the Starkey ITE models I’ve worn, which is the replacement I’m wearing right now. Like all of my ITE hearing aids, this one is now broken too - the standard, the battery is stuck in the hearing aid and the battery door won’t open to allow me to change it. I knew this would happen. So…all my old hearing aids for the left ear, are broken.

I let my audiologist know that going forward, I’m done with RIC as they’re not as solid as BTE which have a longer life and less hassles. No one is open to repair anything. So…anyone wear Widex? I’m considering Dream Fashion or Dream Fashion power. I’d appreciate opinions.

Secondly, I want a back up pair but I’m planning on something from Costco (when it’s open). I’m thinking of Phonak Brio 3. I prefer using batteries rather than a recharger. Can anyone give me any input here? My next hearing aids are going to have a thick wire and pure plastic custom ear mold with no more wax guards. Looking forward to your comments and thank you, folks.


I understand costco has the Brio 4 now. It is based on the Phonak Marvel aids, should be really good BTE aids.

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I wonder if the Brio 4 is a regional thing or a recent thing? It’s not shown on their website. When I was last at Costco, we were at the Danvers, MA location. They gave my father an appointment in July, which he was unhappy about at the time because this was a long wait. They said that they were unable to keep people at the Danvers store, and recommended the Everett, MA store to see if he could get an earlier appointment. It was undecided by him at the time and then the virus happened. If the new Phonak model is now in stores, I’m surprised it hasn’t been advertised, but I’ll certainly be looking into it for the both of us if it’s available at the stores in my state. Thank you for the heads up.

This has been my question for a while now. I am currently in RICs but I’ve always been a fan of BTEs. I’m thinking next year when I go to change these ones, I’m going for a mini-bte. For me it’s not just the fragility of RICs but also I really don’t like the idea of something hard in my ear (speaker) It seems too invasive having something electronic inside my ear canal…I don’t know is that weird? lol!

So I understand where you are coming from!

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I don’t know about the mini, but I’ve personally no issues with larger BTE models. In fact, my ITE model, as stated died. Incredibly, if I use tape or super glue, I may be able to reattach it and get it to work. I just tried it now by putting the battery in and it does work, so it’s a matter of getting the battery in and out. It’s worth a shot while everything is closed, and it is broken anyway so anything is an improvement if I can hear.

At the moment, I have my old Starkey BTE - this has got to be from the 1990’s. It’s not perfect but it is working! To me, this makes a big statement about the longevity of the BTE models. Now for whatever reason, my audiologist seemed to dismiss the idea of getting the Widex BTE in favor of the RIC. Maybe the RIC is the bigger money for them - I don’t know. I suspect the price is quite close, but I’m really done with how fragile the RIC has proven to be.

I suspect, if you’re interested in the mini BTE, that too will be the better purchase over the other more sensitive models. Be very clear with your audiologist about what you DON’T want. Getting the right hearing aid saves you the back and forth trip to the office, and for me, any hearing aid that has twice stopped working, now out of warranty (which only lasts one year) and a year to go before my insurance will cover a new set - just isn’t worth the high price.

BTE, I don’t think it’s odd to want something more soft. I went with a soft ear mold for my first Widex. It was a pain to put on and remove until I used it a couple of weeks or so. The second pair I got, it was available as hard shell mold. While this was an improvement with regard to changing the wax guards, it was not nearly as comfortable.

This is from the forum. Great information that could help you.

I went through RIC models like crazy… Luckily all under warranty. I am wearing the Resound Quattro BTE 88. I can wholeheartedly recommend it. You might be able to get by with the 70 series BTE Quattro. Same 13 battery but it isn’t as powerful. Battery lasts about 10 - 12 days.

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Hmmm interesting…just noticed Widex is not making the moment (latest model) in any type of BTE just RICs

I find this extremely interesting, I have had issues with the only pair of RITE aids that I have had in the past. And I have been wearing ITE aids because I have had so much better luck with them. But I am getting new aids this summer and the aids I really want or not available in ITE aids, only MiniRite or BTE aids. I am also leaning towards the BTE aids seeing the issues I had with the RITE aids.

ITE have great quality hearing due to the location of the microphone. Yet for my range of loss, moderate, sloping to severe in the left ear, and severe sloping to profound in the right ear - the ITE models are no longer appropriate for me. So that leaves the RIC or BTE as an option. Personally, I’ve never cared who sees my hearing aids nor does it bother me to answer questions about them as I’ve worn them since age 5.

I do appreciate all the information and feedback on this forum with regards to my question. Thank you people!


I am with you on not caring about my aids being visiable, and I have always worn ITE half shell or larger aids. The only truly hidden aids I wore were the RITE aids. They were so small that the wind would blow them off. Well at the time I lived in Central Texas and the wind there can blow down a small person.
All I want is the best I can get in understand speech in any environment. And If they give me better music listening that is just a bonus.

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I’m in Georgia and the Brio 4 quietly came into my Costco just before everything shut down. I have the KS9 right now and not 100% happy with it. Not bad, but I had the original Brio’s that I loved. With the KS9, I’m hearing most things but in some cases people will be right next to me and I’m trying to figure out what they’re saying, which I definitely don’t recall happening when I had my Brio’s (lost them.) I like my HA tech but she’s discouraging me from trying the Brio 4 instead of the KS9 (I’m still in 6 month trial period.) She’s telling me it will be basically the same as the KS9, same processor inside and doesn’t’ think it will be a material difference. Have not had a chance to pursue the discussion further, that will happen when everything opens up again. Was also considering demo’ing the Philips again. I have not had BTE, only the RIC style like KS9. I love reading comments here, as there is so much good feedback from those that have tried all of these styles!

I’ve heard of audiologists doing this, in fact, mine did when I mentioned I wanted the Fashion BTE Widex over the RIC. Not letting that happen again… I suspect the Costco audiologist was doing this because the store wants them to push their products over the other brands. Side by side, the Phonak probably costs less too which is another reason they’d push theirs, but there is no difference in quality. More $$$ doesn’t make it better.

I’ve worn three types of hearing aids: BTE (Behind the Ear) ITE (In the Ear) and RIC (Receiver in Canal). Some of the differences, pros and cons:

ITE - easy to use and change battery, good placement of microphone. Comfortable to wear and no wax guards required. Cons: can last three to five years. Frequent issues I’ve had with this model involve the battery getting stuck in the hearing aid, battery door breaking completely, and the hearing aids splitting in half when dropped. As they age, the line surrounding the ear mold gets more pronounced, making them fragile. Mine were often out for repair. It is suitable for mild to severe loss.

RIC - comfortable depending on the ear mold (hard, soft), not as obvious in the ear (if that’s a concern), lasts about the same as the ITE - 3 to 5 years. The issues I’ve had is that the ear mold uses wax guards, which requires frequent changing, and it’s not always easy to handle or see what you’re doing given the tiny size of the both the hearing aids and wax guards. If the guard fall off and wax gets inside the ear mold, the hearing aid is beyond repair. This is what happened to my most recent set. Like the ITE, they are fragile. Suitable for mild to severe loss.

BTE, easy to handle and involves little maintenance (usually done by the audiologists: tube changing, deep cleaning, etc.) It has greater volume range than the ITE and RIC; not as prone to breaking, even when accidentally dropped. No wax guards on this model. Size wise, much larger than the RIC and more comfortable to wear as it feels secure on the ear. More than fifteen years later, I was still able to get use out of the BTE when needed as a backup. They are very robust and last five or more years if maintained. Suitable for mild to profound loss.

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@Lau2046 with respect to RICs/RIEs/RITEs as we are all I assume referring to the same thing, how do you mean if wax gets in they are toast? Don’t all RICs have the ability to install a new receiver? There’s just an electrical connection to the bit behind one’s ear, so wax can’t affect that. With mine, there are two spots of wax control; first is the design of the dome itself and second is a filter in the end of the receiver (which after two months is still visibly perfectly clean; my ears though have never produced much wax).

Not advocating for RICs necessarily, just wondering what you mean. I have admittedly little experience; only been a few months now.

My ITE aids have tinny wax guards that are a pain the change.

My ITE were Starkey and I never had wax guards. I never saw them until I brought my first digital and had to buy the RIC models which were pushed by everyone. This is what my RIC looked like. One of the things my audiologist always warned me about, and what happened to me, was when I went to change the wax guard, somehow it came off the ear mold. When I noticed the sound was muffled, I went to change the guard and couldn’t - and realized that it had fallen off and wax got inside the ear mold which damaged the hearing aid. It was not repairable at that point. I don’t think I had it more than three years at that point. The receiver is a separate issue, ear wax getting inside the hearing aid and causing damage is completely different and isn’t repairable.

The issue with my my current hearing aids is that the receiver must be replaced, for the second time, and it’s now out of warranty.

Another urban myth, this is simply not true.

ITE do in use wax filters. Plus these ITE typs are exposed to a higher risk of damage due to earwax, moisture or dirt.

Yes this is “good” as it helps prevent the wax from entering the receiver thus protecting it. Oh and by the way receivers fitted with domes also use wax filters.

Again not sure what your on about here, the wax filters never “fall off” once fitted correctly, and it most certainly doesn’t damage the HA.

You have got this all wrong, ITE cshell, yes a bit fragile if you drop them on a hard surface, RIC/RITE much more robust. The biggest killer of HAs is moisture/water.

Not much size difference at all
(just millimetres) unless it’s the SP and UP models (size 675 battery, now that’s a “big” HA)

Apsolutely correct, so you know that most HAs when looked after will last this length of time.

Your referring to your ITE model and not your RIC model right? but anyways they both use receivers.

The wax blocks the receiver in a ITE model, but doesn’t damage anything else circuit wise, it was common for ITE models to have them cleaned and even have the receiver replaced.
It seems once out of warranty the manufacturers can’t be botherd doing this anymore.

What has happened, is the wire broken or something else.
Just out of curiousity, whos diagnosing the issues you have been having, your audiologist or the manufacturers?

I have had a lot better luck with ITE aids over the years than with RITE aids. But I am hoping to get BTE aids this summer.

Yes for whatever reason, some people are not having the best experience with RIC, BTE is just as good as anything else, as they have been around for a very long time, well proven design with plenty of battery juice.

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