Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) hearing aids have been the standout growth driver of the hearing aid industry over the last years. The RIC segment is growing three times faster than the overall market and accounts for roughly one quarter of the global market today. A Phonak survey among hearing care professionals worldwide has revealed why RICs are the rising stars in the hearing aid market.
And why they especially appeal to a group that is the most difficult to win over: people with mild to moderate hearing loss. The most important advantages of RIC models quoted are a discreet design and a high instant fit rate. Audéo Q, the new Phonak RIC model based on the Quest Platform, fulfills exactly these expectations and has become a huge success since its market introduction.
RIC (Receiver-In-Canal) models are experiencing a veritable boom. A global survey of 1,119 hearing care professionals regularly fitting RICs shows which clients opt for this form factor: The typical RIC client generally has a lesser hearing loss, is more likely to choose an open fitting and places more importance to aesthetics. Therefore, RICs appeal especially to those who are the hardest to win over: people with mild to moderate hearing loss. As they may only experience difficulties hearing in specific situations like group discussions or dinner in a noisy restaurant, the barrier to decide for a hearing aid is higher than for people with severe to profound hearing loss.
“Convincing this group requires a really compelling value proposition,” says Maarten Barmentlo, Group Vice President Marketing for Phonak. “Audéo Q, our Quest Platform-based RIC solution for mild to moderate hearing loss offers all the benefits that first-time users are seeking in a hearing aid:
a small and lightweight housing with a thin wire leading into the ear canal as well as a high instant fit rate. Furthermore with our unique Binaural VoiceStream Technology™, Audéo Q enables uncompromised sound quality. The extremely positive market response to Audéo Q shows that a sophisticated, yet convenient solution can win over even those people that often decided against a hearing aid in the past.”
Favorable market trends – RIC models ideally meet hearing aid wearers needs
In 2011, Alex Morla* already highlighted four market trends – convenience, size, simplicity and flexibility – that have and will continue to transform hearing aid wearers demands. As soon as a buying decision is taken, the client wants to experience the product immediately. Thanks to their design, RICs can be conveniently configured for the client’s need on the spot. The parts that sit behind the ear have been minimized, and the thin wire that carries the sound into the ear canal further adds to the discreet aesthetics of RIC models. The exchangeable receiver can grow with future hearing needs and offers maximum flexibility.
Better understanding in challenging hearing environments
Common daily activities like conversations in a busy restaurant or on a noisy street can quickly turn into a challenge for people even with mild to moderate hearing loss. Featuring the Binaural VoiceStream Technology™, the Audéo Q offers a comfortable and discreet solution in a simple and straightforward way. The RIC hearing aid enables more signal, less noise and better understanding in even more listening situations, and practically disappears behind the ear.
* Morla, A. (2011). Four Transformative Patient Demands.