Some people feel apprehensive about wearing hearing aids. They would rather put up with the consequences of their hearing loss, even if it affects those around them too. It can stem from the stigma of not wanting to look old or perceived as less competent. We think it looks more ageing to continually be asking “What?” or “Ai?”.
Modern technology has moved along and these days you can stream your phone calls and media audio directly through hearing aids. So they are doubling as a communication device. I would go as far to say taking action to get modern hearing aids demonstrates self responsibility. They are now trendy and should be worn with pride.
If you are still wrestling with the former stigma of wearing hearing aids, then an Invisible hearing aid or two may be the solution for you.
What are Invisible Hearing Aids (iic’s)?
Invisible hearing aids (iic’s) are a product of innovation and miniaturisation. They sit deeper inside the ear canal. They are discrete, if not invisible.
At Harmony Hearing we enjoy learning about the leading hearing aid technology. it helps us improve the outcomes with invisible hearing aids. Every person is unique and tailoring a solution is what we do best.
Benefits of Invisible in the canal (IIC) hearing aids
Cosmetically Discrete to Invisible
If ear canal anatomy permits it these small hearing aids can sit deeper in the ear canals to be completely Invisible. Even the slightly larger completely in the canal hearing aids (CIC)’s are discrete.
Better use of the natural shapes of our ears (Pinna)
Invisible in the canal hearing aids (IIC) are custom made to fit the unique shape of your ear canals. A big advantage is that they make use of the natural anatomy of your ears (Pinna). This uses the ears shapes to direct sound into your ear canals. This better preserves our natural forward focus and spectral cues of sound.
Wind Turbulence is minimal
Microphone positioning is critical in minimising the invasive rushing sound associated with wind turbulence. Microphones of invisible hearing aids are located on their faceplate. This faceplate is the outer most margin of the hearing aid once inserted into the ear canal. Because the whole iic hearing aid sits inside the ear canal its microphones are protected. The air is relatively still near the microphones so there is minimal turbulence due to wind.
Behind the Ear (BTE) style hearing aids on the other hand have their microphones positioned on top of the ear. This exposes them to wind. It can be a substantial problem of a BTE hearing aids user to experience an invasive rushing sound due to wind turbulence. It is compensated for electronically to a degree.
Binaural Coordination of Invisible Hearing Aids
Modern hearing aids attain numerous advantages when they work as a wireless pair synchronising their modes of operation with one another. Invisible hearing aids are now also capable of this using near field magnetic induction to share information with one another. So instead of bluetooth this relatively gentle localised signal effectively connects the two devices into a wireless pair.
Virtual Four Microphone Network for Directional Focus
Small CIC and IIC hearing aids only have room on their faceplate for one microphone. So you have a microphone in each ear canal. Sharing of information between the two hearing aids occurs through near field magnetic induction (NMFI). This enables the input from both microphones to be compared and processed. This creates a virtual four microphone array. By combining this processing we now have CIC’s and IIC’s with directionality.
Smart Phone Adjustable with Apps
Even though invisible hearing aids are too small to house bluetooth connectivity to date, they use other methods to connect to smart phones. For example the Signia Silk X and Signia Insio IIC’s use ultra high frequency sound to communicate with the App. This allows to to adjust the volume, change the relative treble and base and select alternative listening programs for different environments.
Touch Tone Adjustable
The excellent Starkey Synergy Sound Lens and Starkey Evolv IIC hearing aid models have an App called the T2 Remote. This easy to use App produces key tones or audible touch tones to change settings including volume and programs.
Candidacy for Invisible Hearing Aids
Our Audiologists are Invisible hearing aid Specialists with many years of experience fitting these styles of instruments. Your ear canal anatomy will be examined to determine if an invisible hearing aid is suitable. There are other considerations too including: ear canal conditions such as rates of wax accumulation, tendency of ear infections and of course your hearing loss levels and configuration.
Vision and Manual Dexterity
To date invisible hearing aids require tiny disposable batteries. These require good vision and manual dexterity to manage. Also correct orientation for insertion and removal is essential for correct functioning. So these form part of the consideration when deciding whether invisible hearing aids are suitable.
No Bluetooth Audio Streaming
As they are so tiny, invisible hearing aids cannot house the bluetooth wireless technology to date. Therefore they aren’t capable of streaming audio directly from your smart devices. Perhaps this will change with further miniaturisation in coming years. However, this is a consideration when selected iic and cic hearing aids. If it isn’t such a high priority to be able to stream your calls, music or pod casts directly through your hearing aids, then they may be very suitable for you.
Can you Trial Invisible Hearing Aids?
At Harmony Hearing we provide free trials of both the Instant and custom fitting invisible hearing aids. To book a free consultation and trial please click the following link: https://harmonyhearing.com.au/book-an-appointment/
Hearing Aid Brands with Excellent IIC Hearing Aids
Starkey Evolv IIC
Starkey has been a pioneer in making discrete custom hearing aids. Their Sound Lens broke new ground for being the first true digital IIC hearing aid. Because Starkey has been making discrete hearing aids the longest they are one of the best as making them as small and discrete as possible. The non-wireless Evolv is a true IIC.
New Starkey Evolv AI CIC wireless Hearing Aids
The Starkey Evolv AI CIC wireless are the worlds smallest hearing aids that can stream audio from both Android and iPhone. The Evolv 2400 AI is the top of the line or Premium hearing aid that reduces listening effort and maximises noise reduction. Starkey claims up to 40% more noise reduction over the former Livio Edge model.
Custom made to fit discretely, comfortably and securely in your ear canals. The provide effortless hearing all day, every day.
Oticon Invisible Hearing Aids
Oticon introduced a new Opn invisible hearing aid at the end of 2018 alongside the other Opn custom hearing aids. They say that the new IIC is the smallest invisible hearing aid they have ever produced. The new smaller components and shell size will ensure that the IIC will physically fit more people than ever before. Oticon think that their new Opn IICs will physically fit up to 80% of ears. The Opn has proven to be an outstanding hearing aid delivering massive benefits for users.
Phonak Invisible In the Canal Hearing Aids (New Virto P)
The latest Phonak invisible hearing aids are called Virto Paradise or Virto P. These launched onto the Australian market in June 2022. The range comes made in traditional acrylic or with a titanium shell for superior robustness. The titanium shell enables the shell to be made 50% thinner. This improves the likelihood of it been made as a true IIC. There are two technology levels available for the Virto P Titanium. The Virto 90 (Premium) and Virto P70 (Advanced). The traditional acrylic made Virto P also comes as the Mid-Range Virto P 50 and Basic Virto P30. These lower two tiers are still excellent custom fitting invisible hearing aids.
Signia Invisible Hearing Aids
Signia’s invisible hearing aids are truly state of the art. They provide two main types; custom made IIC’s and instant fitting IIC’s.
Signia Insio IIC
Leading German brand Signia is renown for their high quality and robust Signia Insio IIC hearing aids. We take an accurate impression or mould of your ears. It take around two to three weeks to have your custom hearing aids made.
You can use the Signia App to make easy adjustments to the volume, treble and base and change programs. Signia is renown for the natural immersive sound quality of their hearing aids.
Signia Silk X Instant fitting IIC
The incredible small Signia Silk X is likely to disappear in some of the smallest ear canals. It’s considered and instant fitting device in that we don’t have to take a mould of your ears and have them custom made. We carefully select the size and style of “click” dome or sleeve suitable for your ear canal and hearing levels. They sit comfortable and securely in your ear canals with this suitable acoustic coupling.Signia’s latest X chip platform provides the high quality sound needed to follow speech in the most challenging environments. You can also use the Signia App to make easy adjustments.