Approximately 80% of hearing aid wearers have a receiver-in-canal (RIC) device that sits behind the ear. This style of hearing aid is popular for several reasons, including advanced sound quality, comfort, connectivity, and more.
Because of RIC’s popularity, dozens of options exist. Every leading brand has its take on the style, and that can make choosing the right one a challenge.
Our team has trialed nearly every leading receiver-in-canal hearing aid for comfort, quality, and features. We even dunk test them to check their waterproof claims.
This guide will dig into the best receiver-in-canal hearing aids on the market.
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Receiver-in-canal hearing aids all share the same design.
The body of the hearing aid sits behind the ear, with a small wire that reaches over the top of the ear and down into the ear canal.
Inside the canal, a tiny speaker (called a receiver) plays amplified sounds from the world around you.
Most receiver-in-canal hearing aids have two microphones on the body of the hearing aid. These microphones gather sounds from the world around you, then process and amplify that sound and send it to the speaker in your ear through the receiver wire. The whole process takes less than half a millisecond.
Reciever-in-canal and another style, called BTE hearing aids, are sometimes confused. Instead of a speaker inside the ear, BTE hearing aids house the speaker on the body of the device (behind the ear) and broadcast sound down through a rubber tube into the ear. BTE hearing aids are most commonly prescribed for severe to profound hearing loss where more power is necessary. Read our full breakdown of the two styles here.
Why are receiver-in-canal hearing aids so popular?
More space for technology.
The first reason is practical. The space behind the ear is a convenient and comfortable place for your hearing aid to rest. Most receiver-in-canal hearing aids are still relatively small, but they are larger than most in-the-ear styles.
RIC hearing aids are comfortable.
Receiver-in-canal hearing aids also tend to be the most comfortable style of hearing aids due to the lightweight wire and speaker that sit in the ear.
Receiver-in-canal hearing aids are also popular because the style typically takes priority when new technologies are released.
Most manufacturers launch their latest algorithm updates and sound enhancements to receiver-in-canal hearing aids before rolling them out to other styles (usually 6-12 months later).
So how did we choose the list of products below?
In general, we weighted sound quality, ease of use, and company credibility heavily in selecting the products we recommend.
Ultimately the designs that made this list are a mix of top-of-the-line premium devices and some more affordable options for those looking to purchase on a budget.
One important note is that not all receiver-in-canal hearing aids are programmed the same way.
On the list below, we’ve included hearing aids with three different care models:
- Hearing aids that are prescribed by a doctor locally (most hands-on support)
- Hearing aids that are prescribed through Telehealth (convenient and less expensive)
- Hearing aids that are sold over the counter with no professional involvement (least expensive)
We’ve included our top two choices in the prescription, Telehealth, and OTC categories.