What is an Invisible in Canal (IIC) hearing aid?
Invisible in canal hearing aids (IIC) are the most sought-after style hearing aids due to their extremely discreet nature and inability to be seen. Studies show that people are more likely to wear their devices if they are invisible and unnoticeable to others, hence the development of smaller and smaller hearing aids and subsequently this product. Manufacturers re-developed the “Completely-in-Canal” design, previously the smallest style of hearing aid, so that the invisible style sits even deeper in the ear canal. These tiny aids are great for people with mild to moderate hearing loss looking for discreet, invisible hearing aid product. Let’s discuss few key facts and features about invisible in canal (IIC) hearing aids that you may wish to consider when comparing them to other hearing aid styles.
Invisible in Canal (IIC) Hearing aid Pros & Cons
The main difference of an IIC hearing aid is due to the small nature of the device. Although it is hands-down the best hearing aid as far as visibility is a concern this does influence some of the features/usability elements of the hearing aid. We’ve explained in more detail some of the main differences between IIC and other hearing aid models.
Invisible – Most discreet model
Invisible for most people, sitting deep within the ear canal and removed with a clear extraction cord.
Custom made and comfortable
Sitting within the bony part of the ear canal, once accustomed, most wearers reports that they can barely tell that they are in.
Better localization of sound than with some other models
The location of the aid sitting within the ear canal and presenting the sound directly to the eardrum as opposed to being passed from at behind the ear element means this style has the best of providing natural localization of sound.
Natural use with the telephone
Because this aid sits within the ear itself, the telephone can be used in the natural way, as if not wearing a device at all.
Due to its size, it cannot amplify to higher levels making it unsuitable for all hearing losses including severe to profound. It is however, suitable for mild to moderate losses.
Not suitable for all ear shapes/sizes
This aid to be small enough to remain unseen, but also must be large enough to fit all the internal components. This means it has more dimension requirements that larger custom aids. Although newer models have been designed to the smallest ever and most people are suitable, if you have non-standard sized ear canal you may not be a candidate for this style.
Shorter battery life than other models
For a small hearing aid, you will need a small battery. Size 10 batteries in hearing aids typically need replacement every 2-3 days depending on use. This is approximately half the length of time than in other 312/13/675 or rechargeable devices.
Technology limitations due to due to size comparison to other models in a range due to size e.g. Bluetooth or rechargeable
This product is only available with the smallest size 10 battery across all the best UK hearing aid manufacturers. Typically, the battery life is 2-3 days, and its small size means it cannot carry the Bluetooth components available in other models.
Unsuitable for people with dexterity problems
It should be noted that even though the aid looks good, you have to be able to use it. When considering smaller models, it’s crucial to have the ability to handle the product which includes insert, removal, battery replacement and cleaning. This may be tricky for those who have limited dexterity. At Integrate Hearing we pride ourselves on our ability to find the best suited hearing aids for each wearer and that you will never purchase aids that you cannot manage.
IIC Hearing Aid Batteries and Accessories
This style is great when it comes to being inconspicuous however it does take more maintenance than other styles of aids. Due to the small size of the battery, they do need replacement usually every 2-3 days and the number of replacement batteries you will require will in turn increase so should be factored in when making decision about your hearing aid prices and cost of additional items. This style also required replacement ear wax filters which help to prevent wax from damaging the aid.
Don’t worry, we will explain all necessary running costs, how often items will need replacement, what comes as standard or the replacement cost. At Integrate Hearing we make sure you are up to speed with everything you need to know so there will be no hidden costs!
IIC Hearing Aids – are these custom in the ear devices available on the NHS or only private?
Most NHS providers still currently only offer BTE style hearing aids. These can come in both the more traditional style with a custom made earmould or for milder losses you will be offered an open fit BTE with a slim tube. More recently, some NHS providers have started to offer Receiver in canal (RIC) style aids, although it is only some. For more discreet models such as custom invisible styles you may need to see a private audiologist. At Integrate Hearing we offer all styles of hearing aids from all UK leading manufacturers. Find out more about our other discreet hearing aid styles.
Are private invisible hearing devices right for you? How much do they cost?
At Integrate hearing we offer invisible in canal hearing aids from all manufacturers at all price points. To find out more about our 4 ranges of aids click here or contact us on 01978799387 to discuss our products and book a hearing aid assessment for a 14-day free trial.