Boy, I would love to jump in here with both feet! We sell lots of mini BTE open ear hearing aids, both RIC and non RIC aids. I’m not sure of the percentage but it is a significant number of the failures of RIC aids over the non-RIC. And, to top it off there is little to no difference in performance.
All of you with RIC aids need to know how to change/clean wax guards. It is absolutely imperative! Sorry, I don’t mean to be on the soap box but it is a growing problem. Once all the RIC aids come out of warranty the receiver will be in the neighborhood of $100 US and you will not get a warranty on them.
If you do not know how to change/clean your wax guards please get help.
At our website we have a number of articles about maintenance and are always happy to answer any questions on how to maintain a hearing aid.
In addition, here is a brief article on cleaning aids:
Maintenance and Cleaning
Did you know that just by putting your new open ear hearing in your ear one time you can make it fail to work? It’s true, so learning the care and cleaning tips which follow is important.
Open ear hearing aids fall into two categories with regard to maintenance, RIC and non-RIC. RIC stands for Receiver-In-Canal.
RIC hearing aids:
These have a small electronic component on the end of the tube that is placed in the ear canal. This component is called a receiver and works like a speaker making sound right next to your eardrum.
Usually a mushroom shaped dome, sometimes it is shaped like the tulip flower, is fitted over the receiver with a very snug fit. The dome will need to be removed by pulling on the center part that is stretched over the receiver.
Once the dome is off it should be inspected closely for blockages. Many domes have a very fine grid or screen in them to prevent wax and moisture from getting into the receiver. Clean the screen carefully with alcohol and blow dry before replacing it on the tube, making sure to get it all the way on to the tube so that it cannot be pulled off easily.
Some manufacturers have a replaceable wax guard over the end of the receiver. These come in packs of 5 to 10 each with a tool for easy removal and replacement.
Non-RIC Hearing Aids:
On non-RIC aids, since the receiver is kept in the case and sound travels through a hollow tube into your ear canal, there is very little chance of wax getting into the receiver. However, the tubes can still become plugged and no sound will come out.
The tubes either snap on or screw onto the hearing aid. Start by twisting the tube, where it connects to the hearing aid, counter-clockwise ¼ turn. If the tube detents into this position it is a snap on tube, so simply pull it off. If the tube continues to turn easily it is threaded onto the hearing aid and will simply unscrew.
Once the tube is disconnected from the hearing aid a simple remedy is to blow through the tube from the end that was connected to the hearing aid. If you can feel the airflow, by putting your fingertip close to the dome end, then the tube is clear and ready to be reinstalled.
If the tube is plugged use a short piece of monofilament line, heavy test fishing line, to push through it to unplug it.
It is a good idea to have extra non-RIC tubes, domes, and wax guards (for hearing aids that use them) on hand along with extra batteries.
Do one at a time so you do not get mixed up by putting a left side tube on a right side hearing aid or vice versa.