Invisible Hearing Aids
This page covers everything you need to know about invisible hearing aids. Clinic Compare has compiled a complete guide to assessing if an invisible hearing aid is right for you, which manufacturers make them and how much they are.
We also look into the top invisible hearing aids as well as technical details such as their lifespan and how often the batteries need replacing.
What is an invisible hearing aid?
Invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids (IIC) display no obvious signs that you are wearing anything. They were first developed in 2010 by Starkey Hearing Technologies and have proven hugely popular over the last few years.
An invisible hearing aid is custom-made to fit each individual ear canal after being moulded by a hearing specialist and producing a hearing aid in the same shape. Some brands produce completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aids which still sit in the ear canal but are slightly more visible.
The invisible hearing aid works by using a deep placement within the ear to achieve a more natural experience by using the shape of the ear to collect sound and allow it to travel down the canal.
Typically, the invisible hearing aid is most suited to those with mild to moderate hearing loss. They are not suitable for elderly individuals.
Is an invisible hearing aid right for me?
An invisible hearing aid might be suited to some, but not everyone. Your suitability will depend on factors like your hearing level and age. We have compiled a pros and cons list of invisible hearing aids so you can assess whether you think it might be an option for you.
|They are invisible.IIC are the smallest and most discreet hearing aid on the market. This provides benefits to those that may be concerned with appearance but still need assistance to hear||Suitable for mild to moderate hearing loss.Due to their small size, IIC are not strong enough for those with moderately-severe to severe hearing loss. This is also a problem if your hearing starts to decline as you may need to change type.|
|Natural sound quality. Invisible hearing aids work by using a deep placement within the ear to give a more natural experience by using the shape of the ear to collect sound and allow it to travel down the canal. Some IIC users say this makes it easier to get used to wearing a hearing aid.||Short battery life. Compared to other hearing aids, IIC have a reputation for having a much shorter battery life due to their small size. Most IICs can only use the smallest battery available, so a 16-hour-a-day wearer can only expect 2-5 days of power. This means a lot of battery changes and extra cost.|
|Your own voice sounds more natural. With other hearing aids, a large proportion of the ear canal is covered and people often complain that their own voice sounds distorted or too loud. IIC’s reduce this effect by covering less of the ear canal and creating less internal vibration.||Lacking in the latest tech. Because of the lack of chip space, IICs miss out on the most advanced speech enhancement technology. They are also unable to include a Bluetooth connection, which is a feature that many hearing aid wearers find very useful.|
The pros and cons illustrate that the small size of the IIC is both an advantage and a disadvantage. What it gains in natural sound quality and discreet wearing, it lacks in battery power, the latest tech and the suitability to those with more severe hearing loss.
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Invisible hearing aids manufacturers
There are several manufacturers that have developed invisible hearing aids. The most well-known manufacturers are: Starkey, Phonak and ReSound.
Phonak have developed the Lyric hearing aid which claims to solve the poor battery problem of the typical IIC, with battery life of up to 120 days at a time.
Starkey produce the SoundLens Synergy hearing aid which was the first IIC ever made.
Oticon have also developed a solution simply called IIC which comes in varying tech levels to suit budget and lifestyle requirements.
Top invisible hearing aids
Clinic Compare has compiled a selection of the three best invisible hearing aids on the market from a selection of customer reviews.
|Invisible hearing aid model||Manufacturer||Pros|
The Phonak Lyric claims to solve the invisible hearing aid’s reputation for poor battery life. The Starkey SoundLens has wireless technology, making it compatible with your smartphone which may suit some lifestyles. For those with varying budgets and lifestyles, the Oticon IIC has three different tech levels to choose from.
Cost of invisible hearing aids
At the time of writing, Amplifon and Hidden Hearing offer invisible hearing aids. In the below table we have sourced the price range of invisible hearing aids from each of these retailers.
|Hearing aid retailer||Invisible hearing aids price|
|Amplifon||£2,199 - £3,499|
|Hidden Hearing||Price on application|
The model and the level of features of an invisible hearing aid will effect its cost. The newer and more advanced the hearing aid's technology, the more expensive it will be. You should discuss with your hearing specialist what features are available and which are best suited to your lifestyle.
Can I get invisible hearing aids on the NHS?
Invisible hearing aids are not issued as standard on the NHS. Typically only behind the ear hearing aids are offered free on the NHS. You will need to visit a private retailer to discuss the invisible hearing aid models on offer. These will be financed yourself.
What is the lifespan of invisible hearing aids?
Compared to other hearing aids, invisible hearing aids are known to have shorter battery life due to their small size. Most models take the smallest battery available so a full time wearer can only expect 2-5 days of power. Typically, invisible hearing aids last for approximately five years.