Digital Hearing Care can supply pretty much any hearing aid available on the UK market – including the very latest invisible hearing aids. Until recently the smallest ‘in the ear’ hearing aids were CIC (Completely in Canal) type of hearing aids. They are a very discreet model but the faceplate of the hearing aid can still be seen from some angles, which to some clients is not ideal.
A recent development has been invisible hearing aids that fit deeper into the ear canal, so deep in fact as to be unnoticeable from any angle. This type of hearing aid is not suitable for everyone, a certain amount of dexterity is required, a number of factors rule out certain clients, like waxy ear canals, perforated eardrums or tight bends in the ear canals. The dimensions of the ear canal also rules out suitability for some, the ear canal has to be wide enough and tall enough to be able to accommodate this type of hearing aid.
Digital Hearing Care are well placed to supply this type of invisible hearing aid, not all hearing aid suppliers are able to offer it, and we’ve had some great success stories so far.
We are one of the few Hearing Aid Suppliers in the north of England to be able to supply the new SoundLens hearing instrument from Starkey Laboratories. The Starkey SoundLens is the first custom, digital and fully programmable completely invisible hearing aid.
It sits deep in the ear canal, far deeper than where most other commercially available hearing aids sit, making it an invisible hearing aid.
To the left is a picture of where a traditional CIC (Completely in Canal – in red) sits in the ear canal compared to the Starkey SoundLens (Invisible in Canal – in black). SoundLens fits comfortably inside the second bend of your ear canal— completely out of sight.
The Starkey SoundLens needs a special deep impression taken by a qualified IIC trained hearing aid audiologist. This service is only available from a small selection of suppliers UK wide, Digital Hearing Care are proud to be a main hearing aid supplier in the Yorkshire, Lancashire and Manchester area to supply this service.
Another similar product is the Siemens iMini. The Siemens iMini sits deep in the ear canal, not as deep as the Starkey SoundLens, but certainly quite a bit deeper than a traditional CIC hearing aid (which until recently has been considered the most discreet ‘in the ear’ hearing aid available).
Because of the position of the Siemens iMini in the ear canal, it’s faceplate is dark brown. It sits deep in the canal and is in permanent shadow so the dark brown faceplate makes the iMini to all intents and purposes an invisible hearing aid in use.
Its shell is a high quality pearlescent nano coated white, this gives the iMini a very polished high quality look and feel.
In November 2011 Phonak launched the Phonak Nano model. Branded by Phonak as a ‘micro-in-canal’ or MIC, like the Siemens iMini it sits deep in the ear canal in permanent shadow so as to render it virtually invisible. The Phonak Nano achieves a higher rate of success with regards to the percentage of client suitability. (The point being that not all clients have ear canals that are wide or tall enough to allow space to fit all the components onto the ear canal and still allow for the excellent cosmetic virtual invisibility).
Phonak have reported that due to the nature of the manufacturing process (a newer, thinner and stronger shell, redesigned components etc) they have found a successful build rate of in excess of 80% (compared to the Starkey SoundLens at a little over 50%), in other words Phonak Nano can be fitted to over 4 out of 5 clients.
Oticon Intiga i
March 2012 saw the launch of Oticon’s IIC offering, the Oticon Intiga i. The Intiga i has followed the trend of the Phonak Nano and Siemens iMini sitting deep in the canal in deep shadow. Oticon bring a nice extra dimension in a choice of five different coloured faceplates, from dark brown / black through to lighter beige coloured faceplates, the idea being that the faceplates can be matched more closely to the level of shadow in the ear canal which can lead to a more discreet solution in some cases.
Oticon have a good reputation for making high quality neat CIC’s which has enabled them to transfer that expertise to the growing and exciting IIC sector of the hearing aid market.
Other manufacturers are in the process of launching similar products and you can be sure that Digital Hearing Care will be in the vanguard of the supply of this type of invisible hearing aid.
In April 2012, hot on the heels of the Oticon Intiga i product launch, Widex released to market their first foray into IIC hearing aids, rather imaginatively named the Widex IIC. The Widex IIC is available in three technology levels, premium, advanced and mid range, namely 10+, 5+ and 3+ in that order.
Due to the size constraints unlike all other current Widex models there is no wireless functionality, there just isn’t the space!
Widex claim that because all the components are contained in one unit (unlike other hearing aids) there are no joined parts, and an integrated faceplate means there are no hard edges.
Despite its small size, the Widex IIC comes with outstanding Widex technology. It benefits from the Widex Sound – natural sound that doesn’t just help hearing aid wearers hear speech or loud sounds, but all the sounds around them.
ReSound Verso IIC
When ReSound decided to create an invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) device, one their goals was to offer a product that could fit more patients than comparable products on the market. ReSound claim to have a higher candidacy rate than other manufacturers, in other words ReSound’s claim is that the Verso IIC will be suitable for some clients that have been rejected as unsuitable for an IIC product due to size and space limitations within their ear canls.
The Verso IIC was released to market in September 2012 and is suitable for those with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss, up to about 75 dB. The ReSound Verso is part of their premium technology level and ReSound assert that the technology is equally accepted by new and long standing hearing aid wearers.
The ReSound Verso IIC, in common with the rest of the Verso line-up has iSolate nanocoating for excellent moisture repellence.