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What is the best invisible hearing aid?

Updated: Apr 17

It is simple: invisible hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids. They are comfortable, sound good, low maintenance, and invisible. Read more to learn about them.


This week I had the pleasure of attending a patient choosing between the Oticon Own invisible IIC and another well-established and popular invisible hearing aid. The patient is a long-term user of invisible hearing aids. He is a young professional and unlike many who take advantage of Bluetooth connectivity and rechargeable features of RIC hearing aids he wanted to stay on the course with invisible hearing aids but upgrade his old ones with a newer/better version. Working with him to help him choose the smallest hearing aid that works for him inspired me to write this article. I hope you find the tips and hints in this article to help you choose the best invisible hearing aid that sounds great for you.






We will be discussing the following questions about invisible hearing aids in this article:

  1. Why do people like invisible hearing aids?

  2. Does an invisible hearing aid best fit everyone?

  3. What is the difference between IIC, CIC, ITC and ITE hearing aids?

  4. What are the Pros and Cons of invisible hearing aids?

  5. What to consider when shopping for invisible hearing aids?

  6. Do invisible hearing aids sound better than receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids?

  7. Can invisible hearing aids be programmed remotely through telecare?

  8. What are the best invisible hearing aids on the market?

  9. Can I buy invisible hearing aids without taking ear impressions?

  10. Where can I buy invisible hearing aids online?

  11. Can I return the invisible hearing aids for a refund if they don't sound good?

  12. What warranty and aftercare I should expect for a pair of invisible hearing aids?

  13. How long do invisible hearing aids last?

  14. What's the most common problem with invisible hearing aids?

  15. Do invisible hearing aids are less failure-prone compared to other styles of hearing aids?

  16. Do invisible hearing aids connect to my smartphone?

  17. How can I adjust the volume of my invisible hearing aids?

  18. What is the price range of invisible hearing aids?

  19. What are the best invisible hearing aids in the UK?



Why do people like invisible hearing aids?

In my professional experience, I would say the main reason that people love invisible hearing aids is their vanity. The fact that they are the smallest hearing aids (hence so hidden) is a great advantage to many. The belief that wearing hearing aids is a sign of getting old or a handicap is wearing off in many societies, but still, there is a fair bit of stigma against using hearing aids. A pair of invisible hearing aids removes that concern altogether. Another reason that patients love invisible hearing aids is that, unlike RIC and BTE which sit right behind your ears, the invisible hearing aids do not interfere with glasses and masks. Invisible hearing aids are the best option for people who need to wear masks all the time, such as medical teams, doctors, and nurses.


Does an invisible hearing aid best fit everyone?

The answer is no. The acoustics of invisible hearing aids work best only for a certain level and type of hearing loss. Also, the ear canal of the patient needs to be medium to large to accommodate invisible hearing aids. People with narrow ear canals may not be able to use invisible hearing aids, but likely could still use CIC or ITC hearing aids that may not be as invisible as they wish them to be. My best advice is to consult with your audiologist. Please contact us or book a free consultation for invisible hearing aids in London.


What is the difference between IIC, CIC, ITC and ITE hearing aids?

All of them are custom-made hearing aids and fit in the ear, as opposed to behind the ear. In particular. Please see the below image for a visual illustration of these 4 types of custom-made hearing aids.

  • IIC (invisible in the canal) - IIC is the smallest hearing aid you can find in the market. Your ear canals need to be medium to large to accommodate invisible IIC hearing aids. IICs are not rechargeable and are not Bluetooth-enabled.

  • CIC (completely in the canal) - CIC hearing aids can be visible when one looks at your ears from the side (depending on the size of your ear canal). They are not Bluetooth enabled nor are rechargeable. They are the next best option in terms of vanity if you have a narrow or medium-sized ear canal.

  • ITC (in the canal) - In the canal hearing aids are more recommended when a patient has severe or severe to profound hearing loss. They come in battery-powered and rechargeable. Also, they are Bluetooth enabled so you can stream audio played on your smartphone. Their sound quality and their ability to assist speech intelligibility in a noisy environment might be slightly better than IIC and CIC because they can hold more electronics in them, and they are equipped with more than one microphone.

  • ITE (in the ear ) - In-the-ear hearing aids are recommended for patients with narrow ear canals or when the patient has severe to profound hearing loss. The bigger size of this custom-made hearing aid makes them the best choice when there is a retention problem with hearing aids (not staying fit in the ear canal). They come in battery-powered and rechargeable models and they are Bluetooth enabled.







What are the Pros and Cons of invisible hearing aids?

Like any product, invisible hearing aids have their own Pros and Cons:

Pros:

  • Discrete, vanity, invisible - the smallest hearing aid

  • Simple to operate and maintain

  • Easier to put in for people with dexterity issues

  • Don't interfere with glasses (and masks), a great option for people in medical services using masks all the time

  • Good retention in the ear canal

  • Taking advantage of natural amplification by your pinna

Cons:

  • Only battery-powered (not rechargeable)

  • Don't support Bluetooth

  • Higher occlusion effect (hearing your own voice)

  • Only one microphone hence not the best speech intelligibility





What to consider when shopping for invisible hearing aids?

It is important to understand the Cons and Pros of using invisible hearing aids before you purchase one. In addition to the above list of Cons and Pros, you need to understand different technology levels that result in better sound quality and their ability to help you better in the presence of background noise. Your best bet is to have a consultation with a local audiologist to chat about different models and features of invisible hearing aids. If you are in London, you can book an appointment for a free consultation on invisible hearing aids.


Do invisible hearing aids sound better than receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids?

The quality of the sound of a hearing aid and its ability to help you hear speech better in the presence of background noise depends on factors such as:

  1. The sound processing of the hearing aid (that is different from manufacturer to manufacturer)

  2. The technology level of the hearing aid

  3. The number of microphones

  4. Adjustments, fitting and tunning (that's done by your audiologist)

As you can imagine the answer is yes and no. A pair of invisible hearing aids can sound better than a pair of RIC or BTE if they are tuned and programmed better by your audiologist. Also, a pair of invisible hearing aids could sound better and help you with speech intelligibility if the sound processing of the aid works better with your neural system. My advice to my patients is always to try at least 2 or 3 different hearing aids before you decide which one you want to purchase.




Can invisible hearing aids be programmed remotely through telecare?

Unfortunately no. Since most invisible hearing aids do not support Bluetooth, they do not support telecare and cannot be programmed remotely. The only invisible hearing aids that can be tuned up remotely are Signia SILK CIC invisible hearing aids that allow basic remote adjustment.



What are the best invisible hearing aids on the market?

At the time of writing this article, most major hearing aid manufacturers have an invisible hearing aid in their arsenal.


Can I buy invisible hearing aids without taking ear impressions?

All invisible hearing aids require an ear impression taken by a qualified audiologist and sent to the lab. The only exceptions are Rexton Reach inoX CIC, and Signia SILK. These two models of hearing aids are rechargeable and invisible CIC don't need an ear impression and can be fitted right out of the box. They take advantage of a wide range of sleeve click-fitting sleeves that form into the contour of your ear canal. Book a free consultation on Rexton Reach inoX and Signia SILK invisible hearing aids in London.






Where can I buy invisible hearing aids online?

You can hugely benefit from a pre-purchase free consultation on invisible hearing aids. Book a free consultation on invisible hearing aids in London. See the collection of invisible hearing aids on HearingNow here. You need to remember that since invisible hearing aids require taking ear impressions you can only obtain one through an in-clinic consultation, or through a home visit for invisible hearing aids.


Can I return the invisible hearing aids for a refund if they don't sound good?

Absolutely. HearingNow accepts a full refund for any of the hearing aids sold to patients including Invisible hearing aids should they be returned within 30 days from the date of purchase. Please see the HearingNow Return and Refund policy for more details.


What warranty and aftercare I should expect for a pair of invisible hearing aids?

Almost all manufacturers in the UK offer a standard 2-year UK warranty. We at HearingNow offer a 5-year UK extended warranty for invisible hearing aids. Please see our Warranty and Aftercare policy for more details.


How long do invisible hearing aids last?

I have seen many invisible hearing aids that lived 10 years and more and still work fine. If looked after and done the regular maintenance properly invisible hearing aids should last at least 7-10 years. They are expected to have a longer life compared to RICs and BTEs because unlike RIC/BTE hearing aids they do not have a speaker wire that is prone to get broken after around 4-5 years (again depending on how well they are treated and looked after). Have a hearing aid to repair? Send it to HearingNow for repair.





What's the most common problem with invisible hearing aids?

In my experience, the most common problem with invisible hearing aids is earwax blockage.

  • Those patients whose ear canal creates a lot of ear wax might need to clean their hearing aids regularly (almost daily) and watch out for earwax buildup in the ear. The package of additional earwax guards (or filters) that come with invisible hearing aids comes in quite handy for this group of patients.

  • Another common problem with invisible hearing aids is the blockage of the microphone by dry skin that can be found in the ear canal. Regular cleaning of the inlet of the microphone by the provided little brush would ensure this does not happen.

  • For patients who naturally sweat a lot, the formation of condensate and accumulation of water in the speaker unit could also become problematic. The correct size of the venting for the invisible hearing aids is vital for the sound quality, removing the occlusion and establishing good air circulation in the ear canal.


Are invisible hearing aids less failure-prone compared to other styles of hearing aids?

I must say yes. All different styles of hearing aids are prone to the blockage of the outlet of the speaker by earwax almost equally. However, the invisible hearing aids do not have the wire to connect them to the speaker unit, or the tubes which could cause additional issues with RIC and BTE hearing aids.


Do invisible hearing aids connect to my smartphone?

Unfortunately, at the time of publishing this article no invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aid is Bluetooth enabled. They all take size 10 battery size that could last 4 to 5 days based on your level of hearing loss. However, the invisible CIC hearing aids do connect to your smartphone. You cannot do streaming but you can change the program, adjust the volume of your hearing aids and can receive reprogramming updates to them remotely.


How can I adjust the volume of my invisible hearing aids?

By design the invisible hearing aids are placed right inside your ear canals, hence there is no way to feature a volume control or a push button on the body of the hearing aid that can be practically accessible by the user to adjust the volume (like the ones on ITC and ITEs). But the good news is that all the hearing aid manufacturers have remote control devices that can be used for two main functions, a. to adjust the volume of your invisible hearing aids up or down, and b. to change the program setting of your hearing aids. Please see the accessories section of the hearing aid shop on HearingNow to see the remote control for invisible hearing aids. Please note that you need to bring your invisible hearing aids to the clinic if you want your newly bought remote control to be paired with your invisible hearing aids.






What is the price range of invisible hearing aids?

Just like other hearing aid styles the invisible hearing aids come in different technology levels that determine their price range. At the time of this article, you can purchase invisible hearing aids from local individual audiologists such as HearingNow for around £1,850 to £3,600 range (per pair). As you can imagine the range can be much higher if you purchase your invisible hearing aids from high-end high-street shops such as Hearology or London Hearing. Please see the Oticon hearing aids price list here.


What are the best invisible hearing aids in the UK?

If you are a long-term user of hearing aids I would suggest staying with the same manufacturer. The reason is that after several years of using hearing aids, your brain has used the sound quality of the hearing aids that you have been wearing. If you are a new user of hearing aids and in the market to purchase your first pair of invisible hearing aids then, my best advice is to visit your local audiologist for consultation and try at least two different types of invisible hearing aids before you settle on the one.


In my professional capacity, a high percentage of patients are quite satisfied with Oticon's Own invisible hearing aids. But again the programming and thing up of the aids is always a critical factor in sound quality and patient satisfaction with invisible hearing aids.


I have a pair of Oticon Own invisible hearing aids, how do I insure my hearing aids?

Please see this link for more guidance on hearing aid insurance.




Have a question about invisible hearing aids, please share it at the bottom of this article, or contact us now.






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