If you’ve been doing any sort of research on hearing aids, you’re bound to have come across the lnSound Lyric extended-wear hearing aid. This little technology marvel stays in the ear canal for up to 4 months. It’s gotten rave reviews from audiologists and from wearer’s alike and has been featured on TV shows like Dr. Oz and The Doctors. But Lyric isn’t for everyone. In fact, research says that about 43% of those who could wear the Lyric (they’re hearing loss is appropriate, they’ve never had chemotherapy or radiation treatment to their head or neck, they aren’t diabetic, the ear canal is large enough) end up not being compatible with Lyric for some reason. Often, the reason is just the fact that the ear canal won’t accept it. So, what do you do if your ear isn’t right for Lyric or your budget won’t allow for it (subscriptions range from $3200 to $3600 a year)? There is a new alternative called the Invisible In The Canal (IIC) hearing aid. If you’re looking for small and Lyric isn’t an option, the IIC may be your answer.
The Starkey SoundLens is the first Invisible in-the-canal hearing aid that can be removed daily by the wearer. The size and invisibility may be the largest consideration for the majority of its wearers, but the SoundLens also offers exceptional sound quality. Using Starkey’s Voice IQ technology, the SoundLens improves hearing in the presence of background noise. It also incorporates Starkey’s industry-leading feedback management system while digital programming allows the instrument to be fully tailored to your listening needs
The SoundLens is the ideal instrument for the active individual who requires a discreet hearing aid. Its sound quality and technology features are best-in-class and the size make it an ideal choice for those looking for a discreet alternative to the typical hearing aid. There are some drawbacks to the SoundLens to consider: because of its size, dexterity is a consideration. It also uses a small battery, which necessitates changing of the battery often. Starkey reports a typical battery life of 5 to 7 days with a 16-hour per-day wear time. Finally, the SoundLens won’t work for every ear. Starkey reports that roughly 60% of people with hearing loss can be fit with the SoundLens. The most common issue is size of the ear canal but it also works best for the mild to moderate hearing loss. Given these few drawbacks, the Starkey SoundLens is a great alternative for those who are looking for an invisible everyday-wear hearing aid.
Starkey is an American hearing aid company with a world-wide vision to change the face of hearing aids as we know it. The company has been working diligently to offer smaller and better technology to those with hearing loss. For the past several years, Starkey has done a great job in this endeavor, offering better sound quality, improved noise reduction, less feedback and better connectivity to those with hearing loss. The latest hearing aid from Starkey, called Xino, was released in August 2011 and promises “something small that will deliver big benefits.” Xino is a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid and is Starkey’s smallest RIC yet. It is the only RIC hearing aid using a 10A battery that offers a push-button control, which acts as either a volume control or memory selection. It also has a tcoil, which makes telephone conversations easier and connection to personal listening systems more attainable.
What Is a Reciever-In-the-Canal Hearing Aid?
Receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids are worn behind the ear. A small tube carrying speaker wiring runs down the side of the ear to the receiver (speaker) in the ear canal, which then delivers sound to the ear. This design sets it apart from other types of hearing aids because it is discreet and allows for more power, allowing people with severe hearing loss to wear a small hearing aid for the first time without the worry of feedback. Starkey’s Xino offers what people with hearing loss are looking for: options in a small package.
Xino includes Starkey’s new Spectral iQ feature, a smart solution for people who have steeply sloping, high-frequency hearing loss, which is commonly seen with noise exposure damage and exposure to ototoxic (ear damaging) medications. Spectral iQ is Starkey’s frequency lowering technology.
What is Frequency Lowering Technology?
Imagine playing a piano with keys missing for the high-pitched notes. Trying to play a piece of music around those missing keys will distort the music. But, if you played the same piece of music in a lower key, it may sound a little different but you will hear all the nuances of the music that the composer intended. Frequency lowering technology works in the same way. It is designed to improve the clarity of speech by identifying high-frequency speech cues and replicating them in lower frequencies. This makes the sound a little different but research says that many listeners don’t recognize the change and if they do, they become accustomed to the difference relatively quickly.
Xino also includes all of Starkey’s incredible performance features such as Voice iQ2, PureWave Feedback Eliminator and HydraShield®2, Starkey’s proprietary moisture protection technology designed to repel wax, oils and moisture. With its discreet style and many options, the Starkey Xino promises to be highly sought after and Starkey proves again that they are a leader in hearing aid technology advancement.
A breakthrough hearing aid technology is now available for those with mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss who are looking for a discreet solution. This instrument, approved by the FDA in March of 2010, is the first totally implantable hearing aid for those with less than profound hearing loss.
Envoy Medical’s new hearing aid implant, called Esteem, is truly revolutionary in its approach to improved hearing. This is because the hearing aid doesn’t require anything to be worn on the outer ear. In fact, none of the hearing aid is visible from the outside. What’s even more revolutionary is the fact that the hearing aid doesn’t have a microphone or speaker.
So, how does it work?
The Esteem is implanted in the middle ear during a relatively simple medical procedure. The implant doesn’t need a microphone or speaker because it uses a sensor in the middle ear that captures sound waves coming into the ear canal naturally through the ear canal and eardrum. A sound processor is implanted in the bone behind the ear. This processor amplifies and improves the sound quality, then returns it to a “driver” attached to the third bone of the middle ear, called the stapes. The sound then continues through the rest of the system as it would naturally. Visit the company’s website to see a video animation on how Esteem works.
The fact that the Esteem processes sound naturally through the outer ear means there is no artificial amplification of the sound prior to reaching the eardrum. Envoy Medical reports that patients find this sound quality much more clear and much more natural sounding. The most appealing aspect for most of its wearers, though, is its invisibility and relatively simple care and maintenance. Although the system can be modified by the wearer for changing environments with the use of a remote control, the Esteem is meant to be hands-free. And, because there are no batteries to change or ear pieces to clean, it is a popular choice for people with hearing loss who really don’t care to think about or take care of a hearing aid.
One of the biggest drawbacks of the Esteem hearing aid is its cost. This hearing instrument is not for the faint of heart. At a cost of $30,000, this instrument is easily the most expensive of the hearing aids available today, next to the cochlear implant. And, because it is an electrical piece that runs on a battery, the system will require additional surgery for replacement of the battery once it dies. Envoy medical estimates replacements will be necessary every 4.5 to 9 years, depending on how it is used (24 hour a day use vs. 8 hour a day use). Battery replacement, according to Envoy, is a relatively simple in-office procedure with a cost of roughly $2000.
Although it’s an expensive choice, the Esteem implanted hearing aid is a promising option for the person who really wants to be as discreet as possible with hearing aids. And, if you’re looking for something that’s easy to use, high-end technology and offers hearing twenty-four hours a day, this unique hearing aid might be worth investigating. Talk to your Audiologist today to see if Esteem is right for you.
In 1994 Starkey, an American manufacturer of hearing aids became the first to offer the smallest of the custom hearing aids, the completely-in-the-canal (CIC), to people with hearing loss. Since that time, technology advancements have allowed a rapid development in the miniaturization of hearing aids – even the smallest of hearing aids have gotten smaller. Starkey now offers a hearing aid they have deemed an Invisible In The Canal (IIC) hearing aid, called the SoundLens, offering an even smaller hearing aid to those looking the most discreet hearing aid choice.
Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids fit deeply into the ear canal providing a discreet hearing aid fitting that is nearly invisible to the casual observer. Besides being small in size, the IIC delivers sound at close range to the eardrum which can improve the sound quality and volume. They are easily removed by a small strand of Teflon string which is attached to the face of the hearing aid. Potential benefits of the Starkey SoundLens hearing aids include a reduction of the occlusion effect, which is a perceived increase in the volume of the wearers own voice, an absence of wind noise and the ability to use the telephone without making modifications to the phone or the hearing aid.
Who Can Use Them?
The new Invisible In The Canal hearing aids are ideally suited for mild to moderate hearing losses, including individuals with fairly severe high frequency sensorineural losses. With Starkey’s amazing feedback suppression system, even those requiring quite a bit of power to overcome their hearing loss have the opportunity to wear a small hearing aid again. In all fairness, the IIC hearing aids are not suitable for all types of hearing loss and a thorough evaluation by an audiologist is the first step in determining if an IIC is the right choice.
How Much Do They Cost?
Amazingly, the Invisible In The Canal hearing aids can be very affordable. Talk to your audiologist about your hearing loss, your budget and what you need the hearing aid to accomplish in your listening environments and he or she will be able to help guide you to the best choice for your specific needs. Be sure to ask what comes along with the hearing aids (warranty, service, batteries etc) as these affect the cost as well.
Things To Consider
IIC hearing aids like the SoundLens from Starkey often require a more precise fitting than the typical custom hearing aids. Because they fit deep into the ear canal, the impression taking process must be more precise and may need to be redone if an exact fit isn’t achieved the first time. An exact fit means a comfortable fitting instrument in the ear canal and an excellent sound quality but to achieve the best outcome, the wearer may require several return visits to the audiologist before the fitting process is complete.
If you think that an Invisible In The Canal hearing aid might be the right choice for you, call our office for a no-obligation consultation with one of our Audiologists. We’d love to show you how great the new technology really is!
After years of asking for a smaller, more discreet hearing aid, hearing aid manufacturers are finally listening to their customers. What those with hearing loss have been wanting is a hearing aid that fits deep enough into the ear canal so that it can’t be seen from the outside, but still offers the best that technology has to offer in the realms of sound quality and noise reduction. In recent years, the Lyric by Phonak has been the best choice for those who are concerned by the aesthetics of a hearing aid. The Lyric is an extended-wear hearing aid. This little technology marvel stays in the ear canal for up to 4 months. It’s gotten rave reviews from audiologists and from hearing aid wearer’s alike and has been featured on TV shows like Dr. Oz and The Doctors. But Lyric isn’t for everyone. In fact, research says that about 43% of those who could wear the Lyric (they’re hearing loss is appropriate, they’ve never had chemotherapy or radiation treatment to their head or neck, they aren’t diabetic, the ear canal is large enough) end up not being compatible with Lyric for some reason. Often, the reason is just the fact that the ear canal won’t accept it. So, what do you do if your ear isn’t right for Lyric or your budget won’t allow for it (subscriptions range from $3200 to $3600 a year)? There is a new alternative called the Micro Canal hearing aid. If you’re looking for small and discreet but Lyric isn’t an option, the micro canal hearing aid may be your answer.
Phonak’s Nano micro completely- in-the-canal hearing aid is a daily wear instrument. This means the wearer places it in the ear canal each day and removes it each night. Batteries must be changed roughly every 4 to 7 days, which can be annoying, but it’s a small price to pay for those who are looking for a discreet option. While the size and invisibility may be the most appealing of the benefits the Nano has to offer, it also offers exceptional sound quality, noise reduction and feedback suppression. It is also available in two different levels of technology, giving those with hearing loss a bit of choice in a time when cost is a concern.
The Phonak Nano is the ideal instrument for the active individual who requires a discreet hearing aid. Its sound quality and technology features offer better hearing in the situations that are found to be most difficult. The size of the Nano makes it an ideal choice for those looking for a discreet alternative to the typical hearing aid. If you are curious if the Phonak Nano is right for you, call our office for a free consultation. We’d love to give you more information and discuss your specific hearing needs.