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ITE's: Choosing the right hearing aid

23 February 2022

In this article on finding the right hearing aid, we dive into two types of ITE receivers; M&RIE and Phonak Lyric. If you haven’t already, see our other article on the advantages and disadvantages of RIC receivers.

Microphone In The Ear technology

In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids have been around for a few decades and provide an alternative to RIC’s.  

ITE hearing aids place the microphone within the ear for starters, rather than behind it. From an acoustic perspective, this takes better advantage of the ear’s natural anatomy, improving the wearer’s ability to localise sound sources while providing better speech recognition in noise.


The concept of localisation doesn’t get talked about a lot when people are trialling hearing aids. But it is very important and is a commonly cited problem with patients. In short, localisation is the ability to locate individual sounds in space.

This distinction becomes most apparent in noisier settings. While happy enough with the test trial, many hearing aid users will struggle to follow a conversation at a family gathering. They probably don’t realise the role that localisation plays in the ability to separate speech in noisy situations.

When a hearing aid’s microphones are placed high up on or behind the ear, it cannot account for sound coming from all directions. This microphone positioning amplifies speech coming horizontally from the front and noise coming from the back. In this way, the microphone acts unlike the human ear, which shapes incoming sound uniquely as it arrives from anywhere in the surrounding space. Identifying the location of sounds in space dramatically affects one’s ability to attend to speech, focus, and comprehend what is said.

RIE solutions

Two interesting innovations in hearing aid technology help put the microphone in a better position to create a more natural sound. The first is the Beltone Imagine Microphone & Receiver in the ear (M&RIE).

M&RIE hearing aids allow one more reference point to locate and amplify speech by placing a microphone into the ear canal. With an M&RIE, the individual’s unique ear anatomy naturally shapes incoming sounds before they enter the microphone, giving all the benefits of the RIC style—including rechargeability and mobile phone compatibility—but with more natural sound quality.  

Phonak Lyric.

Phonak’s are a unique In-The-Ear (ITE) style of hearing aid, which gets placed deep in the ear canal, only millimetres from the eardrum itself. Phonak’s are worn for up to 3 months and are very easy and convenient to use. With such deep insertion, you can eliminate the blocked feeling that you might get by plugging up your ears with other types of hearing aids. Since the microphone is placed deep inside the ear canal, it also takes advantage of the ear’s anatomy to help localise and boost speech in noise.

To learn more about this hearing aid technology please get in touch with us, by contacting our Christchurch or Timaru branches.