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.
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.
In November 2011 Phonak launched the Phonak Nano model. Branded by Phonak as a ‘micro-in-canal’ or MIC, 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
Oticon’s IIC offering is the Oticon Intiga i. The Intiga i has followed the trend of the Phonak Nano 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.
Widex’s IIC hearing aids, rather imaginatively are called 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.