I have some news about a recently released product for current patients and those who need hearing aids but have chosen not to wear them. The leading manufacturers have developed an invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) instrument. This design has been the demand of many in the public eye (actors, for example) and others who, for one reason or another, want an unnoticeable solution for their hearing loss. The outermost portions of IIC products lie out of sight, about half an inch inside the ear canal, so they are completely invisible. IIC instruments are not like the extended wear hearing aids that I have discussed in other articles (see: “Should You Consider Extended Wear Hearing Aids?” on the Hearing Aids—Info section of my website). The new devices are removed nightly and are cared for and stored in the same way as all in-the-ear style hearing aids.
The factories recommend IIC units for those who have a mild to moderate hearing loss and an ear canal of “normal” size and shape. Very narrow, irregularly shaped or child-size ear canals will not allow for placement of the components into the canal. Therefore, patients with ear canals of this type are not suitable candidates for an IIC.
The manufacturer will offer to make a regular completely-in-the-canal (CIC) style when it is unable to produce an IIC. But naturally, when this occurs, both the patient and I are disappointed. Research and development is ongoing, and I am certain that IICs will continue to miniaturize, making them suitable for smaller ears. In the meantime, please be cautious if you are promised that an IIC can be built for you. What you may be getting is simply a CIC product with a different name.
Many of you have expressed an interest in an invisible product that offers superior performance. To find out if IICs will work for you, come on in and see us. During your appointment, I will gladly measure a casting of your ear and determine whether you are a candidate.