What are the Best Invisible Hearing Aids?

best-invisible-hearing-aids

If you’re struggling with hearing loss but don’t want hearing aids that can be seen by others, you’re in luck! In the past few years there have been a number of new hearing aids introduced in the marketplace which are 100% invisible.

Want an invisible hearing aid? It’s all in the name!
Hearing aids come in wide variety of styles, from large behind-the-ear devices, to small custom molded in-the-ear devices. Anytime you see a hearing aid make or model, you should also see a three letter acronym next to it, such as BTE (behind-the-ear), or ITE (in-the-ear). If you want truly invisible hearing aids, then look for the letters IIC, which stands for invisible-in-canal. These are the smallest hearing aids on the market and are built specifically to be invisible.

What is the process for getting invisible hearing aids?
Being fit with hearing aids is a bit of an involved process. You want to allow yourself at least 30 days and a few appointments with a local hearing provider to be properly fit with new invisible hearing aids.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Get a hearing test: The first step is always getting a comprehensive hearing test from a local hearing professional. A hearing test is completely pain-free, usually takes 30 minutes to an hour, and is usually around $100 or less. The purpose of the test is to ensure that you are a candidate for invisible hearing aids, because not everyone is. If your hearing loss is bad enough, or your ear canals are not large enough, invisible hearing aids will not work for you.
  2. Get impressions made: At the end of your test, your local hearing provider will take an impression of your ear(s).The impression-taking process is usually completed in less than 5 minutes. During this time, the hearing provider will inject a silicone putty into your ear canal. The putty will dry for a few minutes, your hearing provider will pull the newly formed impression of out your ear, and you are done. This process can be a little uncomfortable for some, because the putty must be injected deep into the ear canal if you want the hearing aids to be invisible.
  3. Get fit with your hearing aids: About 10 days after your hearing provider sends your impressions to the manufacturer, your hearing aids will arrive at the provider’s office and you’ll have your first fitting appointment. This appointment usually lasts between 15 minutes and an hour. Your hearing provider will ensure the hearing aids fit right, sound right, and will provide you with operation and maintenance instructions.
  4. Go to at least one follow-up appointment: Between 7-14 days after your initial fitting appointment, it’s a good idea to go to at least one follow-up appointment with your hearing provider. At this appointment, you’ll be able to discuss any issues you’re having with your new hearing aids; such as the way they are fitting, sounding, or performing. This follow-up appointment gives your provider time to remedy any issues you may be having while you are still in your trial period. You may schedule several follow-up appointments during your trial period until you are either satisfied with the hearing aids, or decide to return them. Usually, these follow-up appointments are included in the purchase price of the hearing aids.

How much do invisible hearing aids cost?
The price of invisible hearing aids will range from around $1000 per hearing aid for an entry-level hearing aid, to $3000+ per hearing aid for the most advanced invisible hearing aids available. It’s your hearing provider’s responsibility to determine whether you need an entry-level or advanced hearing aid. In determining which is right for you, your hearing provider will look at your test results and ask you questions about your hearing loss, lifestyle, and your expectations for the hearing aids.

As a general rule of thumb, if you just want hearing aids to help you hear better around the house, entry-level hearing aids will suffice. If you lead an active lifestyle and want the hearing aids to sound good in a wider range of environments, more advanced models will be a better choice.

Are there any reasons to not get invisible hearing aids?
Yes. In fact, we wrote a whole post about it: 3 Reasons Why You May Not Want Invisible Hearing Aids. In short, they aren’t a good option for everyone, and certain trade-offs in functionality have to be made if you want to wear invisible hearing aids.

What is the best invisible hearing aid?
Because everyone’s hearing loss is unique and their needs from hearing aids differ, it’s hard to say what the “best” invisible hearing aid may be. However, there are a few that I think stand out from the pack, and that a lot of our customers ask for.

Our 2 Favorite Invisible Hearing Aids

best-invisible-hearing-aid-signia-isnio

Visit our product page to see user reviews, 360 degree images, features, and ask questions about this hearing aid: Signia Insio Primax 7px IIC

  • Technology level: Premium (best of the best)
  • Price: $2399.00 (the entry-level Insio 3px is more affordable, at $1299).
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Suitable for: Mild to moderately-severe hearing losses and active lifestyles
  • Estimated battery life: 3-5 days

Why we like this hearing aid
One of the biggest problems with invisible hearing aids is they are usually so small that there is no room for a push-button on the hearing aid. This means that when wearing most invisible hearing aids, you cannot change the volume or program of the hearing aid.

Although this hearing aid doesn’t have a push-button, it does have something unique that no other IIC hearing aids do. Signia has built a free app called TouchControl, that is compatible with iPhones and Androids. Using this app, you can discreetly control the hearing aids from your smartphone. This means that when things get too noisy, or they just don’t sound right, you’ll have complete control over your hearing aids. With most other IIC’s on the market, you are severely limited in this area- some don’t allow for any user controls whatsoever.

Another rarity for an IIC that the Insio provides is Signia’s Tinnitus Noiser feature, which plays soothing personalized sounds through the hearing aids to reduce the sensation of ringing in the ears. For folks with ringing in the ears, this feature can be a lifesaver.

Finally, the Insio Primax is the most powerful invisible hearing aid available, with gain of up to 50dB, while most other invisible hearing aids top out at about 40dB. This means that if your hearing loss is bordering on moderate to severe, this hearing aid may be the only one that is suitable for you.

With 48 channels and 6 customizable programs, this is an incredibly versatile hearing aid that can be highly personalized to your hearing loss.

phonak-virto-v90-best-invisible

Visit our product page to see user reviews, 360 degree images, features, and ask questions about this hearing aid: Phonak Virto V90 Nano IIC

  • Technology level: Premium (best of the best)
  • Price: $2399.00 (the entry-level Virto V30 is more affordable, at $1199).
  • Warranty: 3 years
  • Suitable for: Mild to moderate hearing losses and active lifestyles
  • Estimated battery life: 3-5 days

Why we like this hearing aid
The Phonak IIC is unique to all IICs on the market in that it can be built with an on-board push-button. As you can see in the image above, the push-button will be on the battery door. This push-button allows you to change the hearing aid volume or program with the tap of a finger. However- you’ll need to have small fingers, or perhaps use your little finger. Because this hearing aid sits so deep in the ear canal, this button can be quite hard to access for some people.

An alternative to this push-button is Phonak’s Mini Control, which is a small magnetic wand which can be attached to your keychain. To adjust the hearing aids via the wand, you simply insert it into your ear and get it close to the hearing aid, and the hearing aid will then emit a tone letting you know you have successfully adjusted it. Your hearing provider will help you set up this functionality at your fitting appointment.

This hearing aid also comes with Phonak’s Tinnitus Balance Noise Generator, which is designed to ease the ringing in the ears for tinnitus sufferers.

When it comes to building custom hearing aids, Phonak is known for being able to build some of the smallest, most discreet hearing aids on the market. I have heard from numerous people who were told their ear canals were too small for IICs from other manufacturers, but Phonak was able to build them an IIC.

Summary

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when determining which invisible hearing aid may be right for you. And in fact, there may be no invisible hearing aid that is right for you. Whether or not you are a good candidate for invisible hearing aids is a decision that should ultimately be left to your hearing provider to decide, so a hearing test is the critical first step before you get too far down this path.

Do you want to learn more about hearing aids, and how to make sure you get the best product, at the best price and value possible?

Be sure to check out our 3-part guide to buying hearing aids!

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