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.
Just a few short years ago, behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids were not the style of choice for those who require hearing aids for improving their hearing. In fact, less than 20% 1 of people who wore hearing aids prior to 2000 chose the behind-the-ear style. Who could blame them? The old-style BTE’s were large, bulky and not very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. These issues enhanced the stigma that hearing loss is an old-person’s ailment and a handicap. Technology advancements have improved the number of BTE wearers to more than 60% 2 and with better, smaller choices, surveys indicate that more people with milder hearing losses are now benefiting from hearing aids1.
Along with having a smaller case size, today’s behind-the-ear hearing aids are more stylish and functionally versatile. The first miniature BTE wasn’t much to look at with very few case color choices. Although it was smaller than its ancestors were, it was very limited in terms of its offerings for user controls. In other words, it had very few bells and whistles. It was smaller for sure, which made it more aesthetically appealing, but the functionality limited how the wearer could manipulate sound in the environment. As the number of manufacturers who offer miniature BTE’s increases and the types of technology and sound processing available in the hearing aids expands, satisfaction with the BTE has improved. In fact, overall satisfaction ratings are significantly higher (85% vs 76%) than the traditional custom styles, even though there are no significant differences in perceived benefit or value1.
With technology advancements, behind-the-ear hearing aids are an exceptional choice for nearly anyone, no matter the degree of hearing loss or configuration. If you are experiencing hearing loss, whether you’ve worn hearing aids in the past or not, talk to your hearing healthcare provider about the new BTE to see if it is a good option for you.
1 Kochkin S: MarkeTrak VIII Mini-BTEs tap new market, usersmore satisfied. Hear J 2011:64(11):17-24
2 Kirkwood D: Resilient hearing aid industry records rising sales despite a troubled economy. Hear J 2009;62(12):11-16.
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.
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.