In 2010 Starkey introduced the first Invisible in the Canal or IIC hearing aid called ‘Soundlens’. Since then the other major hearing aid manufacturers have also brought out similar products, making Invisible In the Canal (IIC) the newest and competitive style of hearing aid.
Improvements in shell design and computer aided design technology, as well as miniaturisation of components mean that the IIC hearing aids can be made significantly smaller and therefore sit much deeper in the ear canal.
If the aid can sit beyond the second bend of the ear canal then it will be totally invisible, however results will vary depending of the physical size and shape of your ear canals.
There are also benefits to IIC hearing aids other than the invisibility:
- Reduction of the ‘occlusion effect’ – the muffled or blocked feeling that happens sometimes with CIC hearing aids
- Natural directional hearing and noise reduction due to the placement deep in the ear canal
How do I get an IIC hearing aid?
The first step is to come for a consultation, which will include a hearing test to see if an IIC would be appropriate. Next we need to examine your ear canal and take impressions of your ears. This involves putting some soft silicone based material into your ear canals in order to take their shape. The impression material sets in about 2 minutes and then is removed. These impressions are then used to make the hearing aids.
The importance of good impressions
In order for the manufacturer to make the hearing aids it is absolutely essential to have a detailed and accurate impression, which is deep enough to give all the information needed to make an invisible product. The deeper and more accurate the impressions, the more possibility there is of achieving a truly invisible hearing aid, which will be comfortable and fit properly.