Phonak offer two types of invisible hearing aids on their Virto in the ear products. They say that they are custom-made to perfectly fit in your ear. I have several customers who are having great success with the hearing aids. Since the Virto B range was introduced, ( now replaced with Virto M ) Phonak are the world’s first hearing aids with Biometric Calibration, which take your individual ear anatomy and hearing needs into account. That's an interesting description.
They say that they will identify over 1600 biometric data points in and on your ear, and the unique calibration settings are calculated for each Virto hearing aid. In this way, their Virto is able to more reliably sense where a sound is coming from, thereby giving you access to a better hearing performance.
Phonak is the first-ever hearing aid manufacturer to carefully map the outer ear to take advantage of its natural abilities. They say that the new process will deliver a 2dB signal to noise ratio improvement. Basically means it will make the signal 2dB higher than the noise. Giving you a better opportunity to hear what you want to hear.
2dB doesn't sound like much but combined with all the other strategies that Phonak use it will be a marked improvement. Phonak Virto M is available in six models which will include an invisible hearing aid option. It will be available in the usual four levels of technology, the 90, 70, 50 and 30.
As part of a raft of introductions in 2017, Phonak announced that they were introducing a new Virto hearing aid type as part of their Virto Belong range. The Belong range was the first-ever range with a titanium shelled hearing aid. Belong has now been replaced by the Marvel range however in order to provide a complete historical overview I have made references to Belong.
They named the hearing aid as the Virto B-Titanium ( now replaced with M technology level ) and said it will be the most discreet in-ear device they have ever made. Using titanium for the shell instead of the usual hard acrylic offered them many benefits including the fact that they are probably the toughest hearing aids ever made. This is the first time ever that titanium has been used in the manufacture of a custom hearing aid. The metal has real advantages over traditional materials.
The material is exceptionally strong, which allows Phonak to make the shell much thinner than ever before with even more strength. This combined with new component design allows them to deliver an invisible hearing device that they say will fit 68% more ears.
The deep position in the ear canal of the device will allow the hearing aid to use the natural shape of the ear to funnel sound to the microphone. This strategy has always proved to deliver excellent directional hearing.
The Virto Titanium is now available for the Marvel range at 90 and 70 level of technology.
Resound is another manufacturer who offers so-called hidden hearing aids. They call their version Invisible In Canal hearing aids. Because the device is so small you will lose some of the benefits of their technology.
However, that is always the trade-off for discretion. The device is available with only one level of receiver power, the LP. It will only cover hearing losses to a max 70 dB in the low frequencies and 85 dB in the high frequencies which is a severe hearing loss.
The suitability for this device is also based on the size of your ear canal. If your canal is too small, you won't be able to avail of it. If your hearing loss is close to 70 in the lows and 85 in the highs, you won't be able to avail of it.
It can not have a push-button or volume control, but the devices all have smart start which gives you a couple of seconds to get it in your ear before it comes on. But you lose out on the direct audio streaming, no ear to ear communication, and no wireless accessories. The battery size on this aid is size 10.
The feature set of the device is as follows.
Widex also calls their devices IIC, their version is small enough to be placed very deep inside the ear canal, making it invisible. This combined with the famous fantastic sound quality of Widex makes this a superior option. While you lose some of the fantastic new Widex technology because of the size, it still benefits from their outstanding Widex sound. The Widex IIC is placed deep into the ear canal so no part of it can be seen.
Features of the IIC include:
Oticon has designed their IIC range to be unnoticeable to everyone else, and unnoticeable to you, too. Oticon's IIC instruments with wireless technology make it possible to combine all the benefits of invisible hearing aids, outstanding listening performance with wireless access to communication and entertainment and the optional remote control.
This is Oticon’s most invisible hearing solution. It is shaped to fit so snugly deep inside your ear that no one will see it, or even realise you are wearing it. The sound level adapts automatically to sounds and places as they change throughout the day, so you will always have the sound you need to participate.
Oticon IIC will also have minimum impact on the rest of your lifestyle – fitted inside your ear, it will not affect your use of headsets or telephones, nor how you wear your glasses, or even how you do your hair. As it is placed deep inside the ear, Oticon IIC captures sound in the same way that your ears were designed to do. Based on Oticon’s premium hearing aid technology, Inium Sense, and available at three technology levels to suit all budgets, it gently preserves and amplifies sounds so that what you hear is always clear – and you will be able to participate confidently in all situations.
Up until now, the ultra-compact IIC has come at the price of reduced features and limited use cases. Not anymore. Oticon's new IIC instruments with wireless technology make it possible to combine all the benefits of invisible hearing aids, outstanding listening performance, and wireless connectivity, what more could you want?
Starkey introduced the SoundLens several years ago, in fact, I believe it was the first of the current crop of invisible hearing aids. They to have been updating the technology within their invisible hearing aid offering. Recently they made the device even smaller and they added a second wireless invisible hearing aid to the lineup. The wireless version of the SoundLens is no bigger than the older SoundLens type, so it will be a discreet deep-fitting hearing aid.
The SoundLens Synergy is available in three technology levels, the top of the range i2400, the mid-range i2000 and the entry-level i1600. SoundLens is Starkey's most-advanced invisible hearing aids on the market. Custom fit to your exact needs and unique ear canal shape, they rest comfortably deep in your ear, so only you know they’re there. SoundLens comes loaded with all of their leading technology. They were the first and most popular custom-fit Invisible-in-the-Canal (IIC) hearing aids ever made. At the heart of SoundLens is Starkey’s new Synergy platform with twin compressor technology and a high-definition operating system, Acuity OS.
The wireless connectivity gives you the ability to connect to all of the devices you use every day. Connect to your mobile phone or any of the Starkey Wireless Accessory products while wearing the most discreet hearing aids available.
The Starkey SoundLens Synergy comes in two styles
Wireless (invisible-in-canal), slightly larger than the non-wireless device but no bigger than the original SoundLens, which means it is a truly invisible hearing aid.
non-wireless (invisible-in-canal), the smallest of the two devices
This is a late addition to the article, Signia also provides an invisible option on its Insio models. They are, in fact, the most powerful invisible hearing aid available covering hearing losses well into the severe range. It is available in three levels of technology the 7, the 5 and the 3.
The Insio is also a wireless invisible hearing aid.
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