Are 'Open ear' hearing aids the same as 'Receiver-in-the-ear' hearing aids?
The term 'open fit' is used to describe hearing aids that do not occlude (block up) the ears but still allow natural sound to pass in and out of the ear canal. This is achieved with a hearing aid that sits behind the ear and has a very slim tube with a dome on the end which sits in the ear canal. The receiver (loudspeaker that sends the sound into your ear) is located in the main body of the hearing aid behind your ear. The key difference with a Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) hearing aid is that the receiver is located just behind the dome which sits in the ear canal and not the main body of the hearing aid. This is an attempt to improve the quality of sound going into the ear and to assist with the reduction of feedback (whistling) for more severe hearing losses. Both types of 'open fit' hearing aids are suitable for the vast majority of hearing losses and are now the most popular type in both the NHS and Private sectors.