Are invisible hearing aids really invisible?
Sometimes, when a person is getting a hearing aid, they really want something that can’t be seen, something that is invisible. Hearing aids that sit in the ear come in a variety of sizes. The smallest of these are the invisible-in-the-canal aids or IIC’s. They are called invisible hearing aids – but are they really invisible?
IIC hearing aids are really small hearing aids that sit deep into the ear canal. They are custom made to your ear. IIC aids require all of the electronics of the hearing aid to be fitted into a small portion of your ear canal. Basically, you are putting a minicomputer in your ear. It is pretty impressive that all of that technology can fit into such a small space. The hearing aid then usually has a little wire – called a removal line – attached that you can grab hold of to pull it back out once it is inserted. When all of the parts of the hearing aid can be fit into the deep part of the ear canal, these hearing aids are invisible. If you look REALLY closely you might be able to see the removal line coming out to the entrance of the ear canal but in general terms they really are invisible.
However, to fit all of the hearing aid components in your ear, it is necessary that your ear canal is large and straight enough. If the ear canal is too narrow or too bendy it won’t be possible to fit the parts in. In this instance the hearing aid would need to fill up more of your ear canal and possibly extend out past the entrance of your ear canal, meaning it would no longer be invisible.
Further, depending on your hearing loss, you might need a hole in the hearing aid, called a vent, to allow air and sound to pass in and out of your ear naturally. Again this may necessitate a larger hearing aid meaning it is no longer invisible. Similarly, if you need particular features, these may not be able to be fitted into an IIC leading to a compromise between invisibility and functionality.
What does all of this mean in terms of whether invisible hearing aids are actually invisible? It means that IIC’s in their true, intended form are basically invisible. However, these particular aids can have limitations in terms of what they can offer you and also whether they will physically fit inside the deep portion of your ear canal required for an IIC to be invisible.
At Hearing Aid Specialists SA, we understand that you might want a discreet or invisible hearing aid. If this is important to you, please make sure you tell our hearing aid specialists when you have your hearing assessment. Your hearing aid specialist will be able to advise you of the benefits and limitations of an IIC hearing aid based on your ear anatomy, hearing loss and communication needs. If an IIC is not the best option for you then your hearing aid specialist will be able to advise you on other, discreet hearing aid options.
So if you are after an invisible hearing aid, book an appointment to see one of our hearing aid specialists at Hearing Aid Specialists SA and we will be able discuss with you how an IIC might work for you.