Invisible Hearing Aids Can Hearing Aids be Invisible? No hearing aids are not invisible. They can be unnoticeable or so small that no one can see you wearing them. But there is trade off that I will mention later and but no...no Hearing Aids are not Invisible - that I know of.
First lets talk about why we are asking that question, why do we need hearing aids to be invisible? The simple answer is vanity. There is a huge stigma to wearing hearing aids.
A colleague of mine, Dan Kennedy - who has written over 10 marketing books and sold his marketing services to 1000s of audiologists said, "The stigma and resistance to wearing eyeglasses-as opposed to wearing hearing aids - diminished in the 1950s and was pretty much gone by the 1970s - today even eye-wear is positioned as a fashion statement - a billion dollar fashion statement - take a look at the websites like www.warbyparker.com. What helped de-stigmatize this was that fact that young people needed vision correction, so glasses were never a symbol of surrender to age or infirmity. Eyeglasses successfully moved out to the doctors office to a billion dollar eyeglass fashion retail industry. Not so with hearing aids. They ARE symbolic of surrender to age. People are resistant to even thinking about trying them. No one wants to wear hearing aids. People are embarrassed by having to wear them, even now that technology has made them tiny, 100% digital, and almost invisible. Seen or unseen, the consumer still feels old and diminished by wearing them...or even thinking of wearing them.
Dan continues, "The second thing to know, and probably the most interesting secret fear, is that most people do not buy hearing aids simply to just hear better. Most of us who wear eyeglasses buy them to see better. Its a simple proposition. With vision below par and worsening, trouble reading small print or seeing signs or driving at night, we go buy glasses - some of us start with reading glasses. But the of buying hearing aids is more complicated, and most people are not sufficiently motivated by hearing difficulties to go and buy them. Instead there are hidden fears and hidden benefits driving people to buy a hearing aid. For example, one of the things baby boomers fear most is "being stuck in nursing home." For the more affluent you can call it "Assisted Living". But still, seniors want to stay in their homes, They want to live independently. They fear nursing homes. And they fear adult children moving them into them. This inspires some creative and risky behavior, as seniors endeavor to conceal difficulties they are experiencing with daily life. They rightly fear their adult children's perception they are "losing it" or "addled" or "confused" which being unable to hear properly can create. Another hidden fear is that their adult children will be reluctant to trust them alone with their adult grandchildren, especially away from home, driving about, on excursions, Being deprived of independent time with the grandchildren will strike terror into the hear of a grandmother, and at least irritate a grandfather. Age and hearing loss fuels fear. So who wants to get in the car, lug their spouse with them, go through an hour and a half of diagnostic tests, got scientific proof that they have hearing loss." This is what Dan Kennedy learned about working with local audiologist offices - do you feel infirmed? Addled? About ready to go into a nursing home thinking about hearing aids? True to you or not - depressing or not - there is a stigma to overcome and that is why want them invisible.
So there are two types of hearing aids, In the Ear and Behind the Ear. In the Ear hearing aids that are invisible or nearly unnoticeable are called CIC or Completely In the Canal hearing aid. Here is picture of all the types of Hearing Aids that various hearing aid manufacturers make and what they look like over and in the ear.
ITC is for In the Canal
CIC is Completely in the Canal
Hearing Aid - and this one is closest you can get to being Invisible
RITE or Receiver in the Ear
(some call it Receiver in the Canal) or Mini Behind the Ear Hearing Aid
BTE is Behind the Ear
and usually saved for folks with severe to profound hearing loss.
Lets say you decide to you have to have that invisible hearing or the CIC or completely in the Canal hearing aids. There are some things you should know - here are the trade offs I mentioned earlier. Let me just share with the Pros and Cons of a completely in the Canal hearing aids:
Completely in the Canal Hearing Aid Pros:
- Small and discreet for cosmetic purposes unnoticeable or ok invisible hearing aids
- Efficient in delivery of high frequencies. (Outer ear collects and focuses high frequency sound waves to the opening of the ear canal).
- You may be able to use a telephone or headsets normally, because the aid is recessed in the ear.
- Sound can be reproduced without driving the speaker into distortion, as speaker is near the eardrum
Completely in the Canal Hearing Aid Cons:
- Not appropriate for severe to profound hearing losses. (Not enough power without having feedback)
- Not appropriate for high frequency (ski-slope) type hearing loss. (Too much occlusion)
- Not suggested for children, as their ears grow too fast.
- Difficult to use and operate for persons with dexterity or eyesight problems. (Small size and battery)
- In the Canal hearing aids have the highest repair rate compared to other hearing aid types.
- Can't have a larger vent opening than a Completely in the canal
- Can't utilize more advanced circuitry because of less room for components.
- Short battery life - they use 10s which last around 40 hours
- Too small for directional microphone
- Ear might feel plugged up unless aid is vented.
- Vulnerable to wax and moisture.
- May not fit well in smaller ears
Returns on Invisible Hearing Aids or Completely in the Canal Hearing Aids are high, normally in the 20- to 30% range. Many folks want the invisible feature but get the aids and say, "wow, I cannot wear this in my ear 10 hours a day - it feels like I am in a tunnel". I have had more people return the Invisible hearing aids and go with an Mini Behind the Ear than the Opposite way (mini behind the ear to In the Ear). But everyone is different, I would say give it a try. You might like them...with the added benefit of having invisible hearing aids.