RIC (Receiver In Ear) hearing amplifiers are relatively new to the market. In this new market, what is the best RIC hearing amplifier? At a glance, they look identical to BTE (Behind The Ear) hearing amplifiers, there is one notable difference. It’s not a difference you see, but one you hear.
Both RIC and BTE hearing amplifiers have a receiver and controls stationed behind the ear. This is where outside sounds are collected. RIC hearing amplifiers use a technology that’s comparable to landline telephones, where the (digitalized) sound is transmitted over a wire and amplified directly into the ear via a small speaker.
BTE amplifiers take a different approach. These amplifiers first amplify the sounds out of the speaker located on the receiver and then transmit that sound into the ear canal through a hollow tube.
The idea is that the more direct transmission of an RIC hearing amplifier improves the sound quality. Although these receivers were new a year or so ago, right now you can have your pick of RIC hearing amplifiers from different brands. In this comparison, we’ll look at four popular options from four brands.
To learn more about different types of hearing amplifiers, click here.
|Model||Key Feature(s)||Full review||Price|
|Neosonic MX-RIC||Best Product||See here||Check|
|Banglijian BL16R||Best Value||See here||Check|
|Britzgo 1704||Rechargeable||See here||Check|
|Zyon Rechargeable||Ease of use||See here||Check|
|NewEar||Waste of money||See here||Check|
The Neosonic MX-RIC replaced the Neosonic Mini RIC that used to own this top spot. While the model has changed significantly, the top spot has not. In fact, the MX-RIC is one of my top 3 models on this website. It features rechargeable hearing aids, is water resistant, has dual microphones and is more powerful than most of its competitors.
On top of that, the MX-RIC has a lot of options, a superior sound quality and comes from a company that offers a 45-day trial and a one year manufacturer warranty. This newer model is slightly bigger than the mini model that preceded it, but it has a lot more to offer, too.
The best news is that a pair of these hearing aids is cheaper than the Neosonic Mini RIC that was here before: $589 for the MX-RIC, while a pair of the old model cost you $598.
Banglijian BL16R RIC Hearing Amplifier
The Banglijian BL16R is (spoiler alert) the only real competitor for the Neosonic Mini. Just like the Neosonic, the BL16R comes fully equipped. It features three different listening programs, seven volume settings (with feedback function), and has two more channels than the Neosonic. This model is an update from the AL08R, which previously took this place. While it doesn’t change much for the outcome of this comparison, the BL16R is a just better deal than its predecessor.
Another key feature for the Banglijian BL16R is its rechargeable battery. An overnight charge gives you 14-20 hours of use. One potential downside for the BL16R is the lack of a company website; you can only buy these hearing amplifiers on Amazon, where they cost around $160 (price varies based on availability and promotions). Yes – half the price of the Neosonic.
Although the information on the Amazon page isn’t exactly flattering, Banglijian itself has a great track record when it comes to customer service. The BL16R is covered by a one-year warranty and a 45-day money back guarantee.
Britzgo 1704 Aria
The Britzgo 1704 Aria is this company’s RIC model. Unlike the Neosonic and the Banglijian, this RIC model is a typical limited model. The only “listening options” are presented with the two volume buttons (unless you count turning off the device as an option). At the highest volume settings, you unfortunately compromise sound quality.
It also has a rechargeable battery, and gives an impressive 50 hours of use for every (overnight) charge. From here on, things get less impressive with the Britzgo. I already mentioned the lack of listening programs, but the sound quality is also below PAR.
The Britzgo is available for the same price as the Banglijian, but a far inferior hearing amplifier.
Zyon Rechargeable Hearing Amplifier
The Zyon Rechargeble hearing amplifier has a very notable feature: it offers different listening programs, but automatically adapts the listening experience to your environment. This means you don’t have as much control as you’d find in other hearing amplifiers. This is a matter of preference, but can be an important factor to some.
Fortunately, the sound quality is excellent. Another plus in my opinion is the use of bigger buttons; most hearing amplifiers are difficult to handle for people with shaky hands or limited fine motor skills. The Zyon makes it easier.
Naturally, the Zyon is also rechargeable. Four hours of charging gives you 20 hours of use. While the Zyon doesn’t have the features that the Neosonic or Banglijian models bring, the allround ease of use gives this model clear benefits for a select group of people.
The Zyon’s price point hovers around $150 and is essentially the same as the Britzgo’s and the Banglijian’s.
NewEar Rechargeable Hearing Amplifier
Until the arrival of the Sengdong, this NewEar amplifier was the single worst device that I had ever seen. At first sight, things don’t look that bad, but hearing amplifiers are worthless on sight alone. Yes, it is rechargeable, and yes, it is the only ambidextrous model in this comparison, but no, it’s not worth the money – not even at the perpetual discount that makes this by far the cheapest model in its class.
The NewEar is outdated and offers nothing you can’t find in other models. If you’re wondering what makes the Sengdong even worse, I can be brief: the NewEar does offer volume settings. This is by far the worst model in this comparison.
Conclusion – What is the best RIC hearing amplifier?
There are really only two competitors for the title of best RIC hearing amplifier: the Neosonic MX-RIC and the Banglijian AL08R. The Neosonic is by far the better model, and blows the competition out of the water. Between the two, it beats the Banglijian for the top spot in every category. However, the Banglijian is a lot cheaper. For some people, that will make the bigger difference, especially since Banglijian still offers a good sound quality. The Zyon rechargeable hearing amplifier still deserves an honorable mention for the great ease of use.