Slim Tube vs Receiver in Canal – Which Option Do I Choose?

As a discerning buyer of hearing aid products, you have many choices to choose from when picking your hearing aid.  Many times, it is difficult to fully understand the difference in types of models without firsthand experience.  And above all, it is an intensely personal experience – after all, we’re talking about choices that directly influence your quality of life.  Today, I am going to discuss the difference between two behind the ear (BTE) aids, the receiver in canal (RIC) and Slim Tube Technology.

One of the features not found on the spec sheets when comparing hearing aids is maintenance.  Understanding how different styles wear over time, and the associated maintenance with them is an important aspect to consider when choosing a hearing aid.

When comparing the Slim Tube Technology with the RIC products, the Slim Tube models tend to have lower maintence over time.   Although the internal technology for each product is the same, meaning you have the same performance between the two, the difference becomes apparent when it comes time to clean your hearing aid.  The Slim Tube models are easier to clean than the RIC products.   When the Thin Tube becomes clogged with wax (which will happen), you can simply run your plastic cleaning wire through the thin tube after you screw if off of the BTE aid and push out the wax.   Simply screw the Thin Tube back on to the aid, and Bingo! you’re back in business.

With a RIC product, the Receiver is actually attached at the end of the Thin tube.  If wax gets plugged into the receiver, you need to have your receiver replaced!  There is no easy way to remove the wax, and if your aid is out of warranty, the replacement cost comes out of your pocket.  Replacing a Thin Tube may cost you a only a few dollars, but replacing a receiver can cost you several hundred dollars once the aid is out of warranty.  Receivers are typically covered for 1 year replacement.  When do you think your hearing aid will start to become plugged with wax?  My guess is…probably right around the time that your warranty is up.

While we are happy to offer you whatever type of hearing aid you prefer, my professional recommendation (based on severity of hearing loss) would be to recommend the Thin Tube Technology.  Within the hearing aids that we carry, the Mini and Slim models come with the Slim Tube Technology.  We are confident you will be happier (and cleaner!) when choosing this option over a similar model with RIC technology.

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