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What are invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids?

an audiologist is showing her patient a pair of ITC hearing aids

If you’ve been told by your audiologist that you may need a hearing aid, then you’ve got a lot to think about. The style of your hearing aid will probably be at the front of your thoughts. If you’ve thought about invisible in canal hearing aids, then you’ll want to weigh up the pros and cons.

Are invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids the right ones for you?

They’re immensely popular because they look better. People are far more likely to wear a hearing aid if they’re invisible to others. IIC aids fulfill this function. They do have certain similarities to completely in the canal aids. However, IIC is completely invisible, even if someone were to look directly into your ear. This is what makes them far more popular, especially with youngsters and children.

There are clear differences to other aids though, and even some disadvantages. With the huge reduction in size, naturally, the battery life decreases. This will improve as time goes on and innovations improve. It also directly impacts the levels of power and technology which the IIC can hold. If you’re prepared to make these trade offs, then it’s likely the IIC is for you. They’re likely to be suitable if your hearing loss is slight and mild. For the more extreme you might need something a bit more powerful. 

The advantages

There are clear advantages of IIC hearing aids. The only visible part is a small wire extending from the aid so that you can pull it out and insert it. Even this is small, and it’s likely no one would notice it even if they were looking into your ear. 

The control function can’t be an app as the aid is so far in your canal. But there is usually a small fob for you to turn the volume up and down and to turn it on or off. This is just as discreet as the aid and can be clipped onto a keyring. 

Because the aid is so far inside your ear, the sounds you ear sound natural and not garbled or obviously loud. It means the aid only catches sounds the ear would, and that you aren’t hearing naturally amplified sounds around you. The aid can also naturally detect which direction the sound is coming from. This is a big plus as it allows you to maintain your orientation because your outer ear grabs the relevant sounds and funnels them to your eardrum and aid. 

They’re extremely comfortable to wear, you won’t even know it’s there most of the time. They rest against a particularly bony area of the canal and fit in tight without moving, for superior comfort. Each one is made custom to fit the shape of your canal too so it really is made for you and fits just right.

Due to the unique fit they allow you to keep going through life as you always have. This means you can still wear helmets in the same way, still listen to music with your favourite headphones and use all headgear where appropriate. Great for those active cyclists or mountaineers, and of course, for those who don’t like things affecting their lives too much.

Disadvantages

There are far less features than with other aides. Especially with the usual lack of amplify function. This is simply because they’re too small to include powerful processors required. 

The aids can also cause bouts of occlusion, with certain sounds sounding unnatural like eating, or hearing your own voice. Most people manage to get over this and it doesn’t bother them, especially when adjustments are made by your hearing professional. Slight shifts in settings can combat occlusion, providing you with a natural experience.

Determining what hearing aid is right for you is an important step in treating hearing loss and communicating with the world around you again. With a wide range of styles to choose from, including behind the ear (BTE), in the ear (ITE), in the canal (ITC), completely in canal (CIC) and IIC, it’s important to consult your hearing professional to learn more about all the pros and cons these devices have to offer.  

If you are looking for a solution that offers you privacy, minimal maintenance and a simplified sound experience, talk more to our team about the benefits of IIC hearing aids and whether or not they are right for you. 

To find out more consider looking into the The Hearing and Tinnitus Center, give 303-534-0163 a call.