CIC Vs. RIC Hearing Aids: How to Choose the Right One

Written by the Nano Hearing Aids Team
Reviewed for Accuracy by Lindsay Roberts, AuD.

Lindsay Roberts
CIC Vs. RIC Hearing Aids: How to Choose the Right One

How can we fill our souls without hearing sounds, tunes, melodies, and the voices of our loved ones? Unfortunately, sometimes we need a little help with that. That’s where hearing aids come in. 

CIC vs. RIC hearing aids, which one should you get? CIC stands for ‘completely-in-canal’, these are the tiniest hearing aids and are custom-built for the patient’s ear. On the other hand, RIC stands for ‘receiver-in-canal,’ a type of open-fit hearing aid. The body of RIC hearing aids sits behind the ear while a microplastic tube extends into the ear. The soft, small tip of this tube sits in the ear canal but does not seal or fill the canal entirely. 

But those are not the only differences between the two types. Let’s dive in and learn in-depth!

CIC Vs. RIC Hearing Aids

CIC Vs. RIC Hearing Aids: What Are The Differences?

Let’s learn how CIC and RIC hearing aids differ in some key aspects:

CIC Hearing Aids 

CIC Hearing Aids

As mentioned before, CIC stands for ‘completely-in-canal.’ These hearing aids are custom built to fit into each patient’s ear canal. It’s a small hearing aid and does not have any knobs or buttons for control. It is barely noticeable when worn or used because of the size and fit. 

CIC hearing aids are perfect for mild to moderately-severe hearing loss. Moreover, the perfect fit keeps out wind noises for improved hearing. Most CICs do not need removal for up to several months. The ones that do need to be removed are very easy to do so, with the help of a small string attached to the body of the CIC hearing aid. 

Custom built to fit your ear perfectly. Smaller battery (less battery life).
Reduces noise caused by wind. Prone to ear wax clogging the device.
Small and discreet. May make you feel ‘plugged up.’
Automated, no need to struggle with the adjustment.
Comfortable to wear.  

For example, NANO CIC hearing aid is known as one of the most comfortable hearing aids. Priced lower than almost every CIC hearing aid, this one particularly focuses on user comfort. Focused mainly on essential features such as noise reduction, feedback and frequency control,  etc., this device is perfect for social and personal settings. Most importantly, it provides excellent sound control. 

RIC Hearing Aids

RIC Hearing Aids

RIC stands for ‘receiver-in-canal.’ This type of hearing aid is also known as canal receiver technology (CRT) or receiver-in-the-ear (RITE) hearing aids. Unlike CIC, the body of the hearing aid sits outside the canal behind the ear. The soft receiver tip of the aid stays inside the ear canal but does not seal it. The placement of RIC aid gives the user the comfort of not feeling plugged up. 

The hearing aid receiver is placed just at the eardrum. Essentially, away from the body of the device. This short distance results in less transmission loss and battery power loss. This type of hearing aid is great for mild to severe hearing loss. But, it lacks the ability to cancel wind noises.

Does not make you feel ‘plugged up.’ Comparatively expensive.
Comparatively bigger battery resulting in longer battery life. The receiver end inside the ear canal is susceptible to moisture damage.
Discrete due to small casings and thin tubing. No wind noise cancellation.
Open fit allows the sound of your voice to escape. 

Maintenance and Durability 

Usually, hearing aids can last up to 5-7 years, but CIC aids have a shorter lifespan due to their placement inside the canal. Almost all CICs come with the guarantee of 1-2 years. Some CICs need to be removed before sleep and be placed again in the morning. Most CICs, however, fit into the ear canal and do not need daily removal. In cases like these, make sure you visit your doctor for cleaning and check-ups at least every 4-6 months. 

RIC hearing aids last longer than the average 5-7 years. It’s easy to replace and reinstall the main body, as it’s not connected to the receiver. The aid also doesn’t collect ear wax, and it is relatively easy to gently clean away the dirt and dust it accumulates. You don’t need to get your RIC checked as frequently as CIC; however, you should still stay cautious and get it checked every six months or so.

The most popular hearing aids have a receiver in the ear. Read the article to learn more about the RIC hearing aids.


CIC hearing aids are comparatively more affordable than RIC hearing aids. The price range for CIC can start from $600 and go up to $1800 - $2000. On the other hand, the average price range for RIC (according to surveys in 2017-18) is $1200 - $2900. 

As already shown, RICs have the main body outside the ear with the receiver sitting near the eardrum and a short wire connecting the two. If somehow your RIC hearing aid gets damaged, there is a great chance you don’t need to toss the whole thing. You can easily afford to repair or replace only the damaged piece. 

    Which One is Better for you - CIC or RIC Hearing Aid?

    Which type of hearing aid is better for you depends entirely on your personal preference.

    If you are uncomfortable with your hearing aid probing out, you should opt for the CIC hearing aid. Another reason to consider getting CIC is if you’re afraid that having a hearing aid behind/outside the ear may cause you to lose them. 

    However, if you are uncomfortable with the idea of your ear being filled by the device, RIC may be the better choice for you. You can choose your preferred size while buying a RIC to ensure a better fit. 

    Your budget is undoubtedly an essential factor in deciding which hearing aid you should opt for. CIC hearing aids need mandatory checkups every few months to prevent severe earwax buildup. They also have a lower-lasting lifespan. Even though RIC is expensive, it can last longer with less maintenance. So, if you are looking for a long-run solution, RIC is a good choice.

    Lastly, which device you should get depends on how mild or severe your hearing loss is. We recommend you consult with your doctor for clearer insight and suggestions. 

    Take a look at some of the most powerful CIC hearing aids available on the market.

    Bottom Line: CIC vs RIC Hearing Aids

    Deciding which type is best for you is not easy. While CICs are more discreet and custom-built, RICs are more adjustable and comfortable. We hope our article has helped you better understand their differences! Let us know if you have more questions.

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