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!