Self-conscious about wearing hearing aids? You’re not alone. Many people search for invisible hearing aids, or at least discreet hearing aids, in the hopes of concealing the devices from view. Their searches will typically land them on a type of hearing aid called an “Invisible In the Canal,” or IIC hearing aid, which is a custom-fitted device that is meant to sit completely inside the ear canal where no one can see it. The major hearing aid manufacturers all offer a version of this device. You may be searching for these yourself; that search may even have led you to this article! However, “invisible” hearing aids may not be right for you. Here are the top five drawbacks to this type of hearing aid:
They require you to change batteries every few days
They’re much more prone to problems with wax and moisture
Because these “invisible” hearing aids sit so far inside your ear canal, they are surrounded by, well, your ear canal. Consider this: the inside of the human ear is a hot, humid environment, and everyone has earwax. This is a pretty inhospitable environment for tiny electronics! IIC-type hearing aids are susceptible to wax buildup in both the sound outlet and the microphones, and they are also more prone to shorting out or fading due to moisture buildup; the hearing aids then have to be shipped back to the factory for repair much more often than the equivalent behind-the-ear or RIC hearing aid.
They might not be invisible anyway!
The images you see of these hearing aids sitting so far inside the ear canal that they can’t be seen from the outside are only accurate if your ear canal is large enough to accommodate the electronics that far inside. Many people have ear canals that are small, bendy, or narrow enough that the hearing aid must be manufactured larger in order to fit the electronics. Their so-called invisible hearing aids are anything but invisible!
They could plug up your ears and sound hollow
If you have mild to moderate hearing loss, the odds are that your low-frequency hearing is normal or near-normal; the most common type of hearing loss is a high-frequency problem only. If your hearing is good in the low pitches, plugging up your ear with custom hearing aids isn’t a good idea. Why? Try putting your fingers in your ears and then counting to ten out loud. How does your own voice sound to you? Now imagine that your hearing aids, which are supposed to improve your hearing, have this same sound quality! If you have a moderate or greater hearing loss, this won’t be an issue, but for many folks who are getting hearing aids for the first time, leaving the ear canal as open as possible is critical to having a good experience with their hearing aids. Again, we’ll talk about RIC-style hearing aids in a moment, but for now, you just need to know that RICs are designed to avoid plugging up your ear, and most people with milder hearing problems are happier with them than with in-the-ear hearing aids of any type, invisible or not.
You have to be fitted for them at a clinic and attend in-person follow-up visits
Because “invisible” hearing aids are custom-fitted to you, the process begins with a hearing care professional taking an impression of the inside of your ear. This means an appointment at a brick & mortar clinic to take the ear impressions and another one once the devices arrive. These “invisible” devices don’t have Bluetooth capability, so any follow-up appointments for adjustments must also be done in person. By contrast, Earlux can fit receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids completely virtually – no driving to the clinic, no sitting around in a waiting room, just the comfort, and convenience of your own home (or office, or car, or vacation home, or anywhere you have Internet service on your phone).
We hope we’ve shown that “invisible” hearing aids aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. The much more durable, comfortable, Bluetooth-compatible option Earlux offers is the receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid, which is a tiny device that sits on top of your ear with a thin wire sending sound into your ear canal. These devices are often actually more invisible than the “invisible” hearing aids because your hair will hide the device and the wire is so thin no one will notice it. Even if you’re completely bald, they hide behind the top of your ear and unless someone is staring straight at the back of your ear, they still won’t notice that you have hearing aids. Still not convinced? Earlux offers a risk-free trial. You can use the hearing aids for up to 30 days and return them for a full refund if you aren’t happy with them – but you will be! Please give us a call to set up a consultation, at 1-833-4-EARLUX.