Invisible Hearing Aids

What are Invisible Hearing Aids?

Invisible hearing aids are the perfect solution for those who want a discreet hearing aid and have mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Hearing aids have come a long way. Today’s small models are comfortable, inconspicuous and sophisticated digital devices that vary in size, colour, special features and the way they are fitted in your ears. And importantly to some users, many of these miniature hearing aids are virtually invisible.

Invisible hearing aids are the smallest type of hearing aids and are placed very deep inside the ear, making them invisible to the naked eye. This type of hearing aid provides superior sound localisation, as the microphone is so deep in the ear canal that the wearer is able to benefit from the natural shape of the outer ear.

Invisible hearing aids normally utilize the most cutting-edge digital technology, work fully automatically and are in sync with other technologies including smartphones. There are 2 types of invisible hearing aids currently available: daily-wear devices called Invisible In The Canal (IIC) and the extended-wear type called Invisible Lyric.

Invisible Hearing Aid Benefits

They’re invisible!

Invisible In The Canal (IIC) hearing aids are popular because they are essentially invisible. Although there are a wide range of In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids available on the market, IICs are the smallest and fit the furthest down in the ear canal, making them well hidden and virtually undetectable. If you are concerned with the appearance of Behind The Ear (BTE) hearing aids, IICs are a good option that give you the benefit of hearing aids without advertising to the world that you’re wearing them.

lyric cutaway

Invisible hearing aids have natural sound quality

For many users IICs provide a more natural sound quality, which makes it easier to adjust to wearing hearing aids. Because IICs are placed deep in the ear canal, the natural cues from the sound interacting with the shape of your ear are preserved. There are no wires or tubes getting in the way, and they don’t block your ear, allowing sound to enter your ear naturally. As an added benefit, the placement of IICs may increase your ability to localize/determine where sounds are coming from.

Invisible hearing aids feel more natural

IICs can improve how you hear your own voice while wearing them, allowing for a more natural hearing experience. Often, when people wear hearing aids that fill a significant portion of their ear canal, they report that their own voice is too loud or that sounds have a hollow quality to them. This is called the occlusion effect and happens when low pitch sounds (like your voice coming from inside your head) get ‘trapped’ in the ear canal between the eardrum and the hearing aid, which can create discomfort and distorted sounds.

IICs help to reduce the occlusion effect in two ways. First, they sit much deeper than other aids so a smaller portion of your ear is covered, creating less internal vibration and less unnatural sound distortion. Second, IICs are typically much shorter than other ITE devices, making it easier to release or ‘vent’ the low pitch sound waves to the outer ear, causing less occlusion discomfort.

Limitations of Daily-Wear Invisible Hearing Aids

They lack advanced directionality and Bluetooth connectivity

A disadvantage of IIC hearing aids is that they’re too small to fit more than one microphone, making directional features impossible to support. The limited size also makes it difficult for some advanced features – like Bluetooth connectivity – to be built in.

They may not be strong enough for people with severe hearing losses

IICs are most beneficial for individuals with mild or moderate hearing loss. Because they’re so small, there just isn’t enough room on the hearing aid for more advanced technology like powerful speakers and stronger processing power. So IICs are not recommended for people with very severe or profound hearing loss.

They have a short battery life

Another disadvantage of IICs is their short battery life. Because IIC hearing aids are so small, they use smaller hearing aid batteries that need to be replaced more often than those in larger hearing aids, which can become costly.

IIC’s aren’t for all ears

Everyone’s ears are different; some shorter, narrower or differently shaped than others. If your ear canal is too small or shaped in such a way that the IIC device cannot be placed in the right area, an invisible hearing aid may not be an option. Also, if you have vision or dexterity problems and can’t reliably place the hearing aid in the right position in your ear canal, you’ll get less of a benefit from the aid.

Additionally, IIC’s may not be an option for people with constant ear wax build up, as the ear wax can block the microphone and speaker, thereby reducing the hearing aid benefit.

Are Invisible Hearing Aids Right for you?

IIC hearing aids are an excellent choice for many individuals, particularly those with mild-to-moderate hearing loss looking for a discreet device. However, they may not be appropriate for all users or lifestyles. If you have questions about IICs for yourself or a loved one, talk to one of our qualified audiologists. Your audiologist, after looking at your clinical needs and personal preferences, will be able to recommend the hearing aid likely to give you the most benefit.

When a discreet device is important but the traditional daily-wear IICs are not suitable, your audiologist may recommend a Phonak Lyric hearing device. Lyric is 100% invisible and can be worn 24/7 with no need for daily insertion, removal or battery change.

Talk to an Audiologist

Speak to one of our Audiologists to find out if you benefit from hearing aids. Book a free 15-minute Audiological phone consultation.