Let’s face it – a lot of hearing aids are large, and definitely noticeable. And when possible, most people want to avoid this. Luckily you can! The answer to the title of this article is yes! You can buy invisible hearing aids. But what are they and how do they work? And are they actually invisible? Today we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about invisible style hearing aids.
What are invisible hearing aids?
Invisible style hearing aids are, as you probably have already guessed, hearing aids that are barely visible to the human eye. Are they actually invisible? No. But thanks to ever evolving computer chip technology, hearing aids are now made small enough to fit right in the ear canal. This means that outsiders won’t even be able to notice you are wearing one.
Why do you need invisible style hearing aids?
The truth is, you don’t. Regular style or larger hearing aids work just fine. But did you know that in a recent study, those presented with the option to buy virtually invisible hearing aids were 30-40% more likely to display interest in purchasing them than those who were not presented with the option? In addition, 48% of people who suffer from hearing loss who have not purchased hearing aids say that their hesitancy to do so comes along with the stigma of wearing them. Invisible style hearing aids can help to reduce this stigma, and restore confidence to those with hearing loss.
How do invisible hearing aids work?
First, a small shell with all vital hearing aid electronics is made to customly fit your ear. Once created, the invisible-in-canal hearing aid fits deep inside the canal of the ear. It uses the natural shape of the ear to help amplify sounds. When finished wearing them, a small extension cord that is attached to the aid can be pulled. This makes for easy removal when it’s time to lay your head down.
What are the benefits of invisible style hearing aids?
- They’re invisible. – Quite possibly the most obvious benefit of invisible aids is that they are barely visible to anyone around you. In return, it’s unlikely that anyone will even know you are wearing them.
- They have a natural sound quality. – Because invisible style hearing aids are placed so far into the ear canal, natural cues from sound interact with the shape of your ear to create natural sounds. Some hearing aids have wires and tubes that can get in the way. They plug up your ear and impede natural sound. This is not a problem with invisible hearing aids.
- They have a more natural feel. – A lot of hearing aids can feel bulky and uncomfortable. Invisible style aids are slim and fit right into the canal so even you will barely notice you are wearing them.
- No occlusion effect. – The occlusion effect occurs when people report that their own voice is too loud. Alternatively they report that sounds sound “hollow” when wearing hearing aids. This occurs when low pitched sounds become trapped between the eardrum and the hearing aid. The result is distorted sounds, and sometimes even discomfort. But because invisible style hearing aids sit much deeper than other aids, the occlusion effect is no longer an issue.
What are the disadvantages of invisible hearing aids?
- They lack advanced features. – Because invisible style hearing aids are so small, they don’t have room to attach a lot of advanced features. Microphones are a good example of this. Many larger style hearing aids have multiple microphones attached to them to help the wearer detect speakers in front of them, while at the same time reducing background noises. Smaller, invisible aids don’t have this feature. In return, noisy environments can make for difficult conversations.
- The battery life is short – Because invisible style hearing aids are so small, so are the batteries. Unfortunately, small batteries often come with small lifespans. In return, the batteries of invisible aids need to be replaced more often than in larger hearing aids. This can become quite expensive over time.
- They aren’t a one size fits all – Unfortunately, invisible hearing aids don’t fit everyone’s ears. Some people have shorter ear canals, some have smaller ears, some have narrow ear canals – we are all different. But if your ear canal is too small, or shaped in a certain way, you might not be able to have an invisible aid properly fitted. In some cases, you may have no option but to opt for larger hearing aids.
Are invisible style hearing aids for everyone?
Unfortunately not. Not only can ear size be a problem for invisible hearing aids, but so can the degree of hearing loss. Invisible style hearing aids are most beneficial for those with mild to moderate degrees of hearing loss. Because of their small size, advanced technology, powerful speakers, and stronger processing power necessary for more severe hearing loss is not possible. In return, invisible aids are not recommended for those in the more advanced stages of hearing loss.
So can you buy invisible hearing aids? Absolutely! Are the actually invisible? Unfortunately not, but they are pretty close to it! When wearing invisible style hearing aids, they are so small, and so well fitted into the ear canal, that no one around you will even be able to notice you are wearing them. Unfortunately, invisible aids are not for everyone. Speak to your audiologist to find out if they are an option for you!