Wearing hearing aids is a stigma and although we understand this fact that human body doesn’t come with a guarantee on the parts, yet when our hearing power gives way we are reluctant to use the means to substitute it. Hearing aids are often ignored due to several reasons one of which is the visibility. Everybody wants to look naturally perfect and hence many shy away from wearing visible aids to hearing. This thought led the hearing aid manufacturers to develop more invisible hearing aid options for the hearing impaired. CIC or completely in canal hearing aid was the first of its kind which provided least visibility when worn. Now technology has moved further ahead to develop even smaller parts to bring out a 100% invisible hearing aid.
Let us understand what IIC or invisible in canal hearing aids are, whether these will be suitable for you and how to order these hearing aids.
Firstly when we talk of 100% invisible hearing aids, we need to understand that this is not a visibly invisible hearing aids; IIC is a custom made hearing aid which goes deep into the ear canal and hence it is not visible from outside. As you see in the diagram below, the red one is a CIC hearing aids and black one is an IIC hearing aid which goes and sits towards the end of the ear canal just before the ear drum or tympanic membrane.
Let us understand if this hearing aid is suitable for all individuals or not.
IIC hearing aid has all the components in a miniaturized form i.e. a microphone, a receiver, a microchip, amplifier and everything is integrated together through circuitry. Before suggesting an IIC for any individual, the hearing professional has to take into account the hearing loss, canal volume and the bend in the canal. Then very carefully, a measurement or impression of the canal is to be taken deep enough to position the hearing aid as close as possible to the tympanic membrane. The Ideal IIC sits 2mm before the ear drum and is black in color. Suitability of IIC is best with a straight ear canal with 8mm x 8mm dimensions. However all ear canals are not straight and some may have an S-shapes bend which hinders the depth of placement of IIC. Moreover if the canal does not have a volume of 8mm x 8mm and is narrower, then invisibility is compromised and the hearing aid cannot be inserted to the required depth. Although IIC uses the smallest microphone & receivers yet there is a minimum it requires to give that required cosmetic effect.
Another suitability criteria for IIC Hearing aids is the hearing loss of the individual. Most of the IIC hearing aids cover up to 80dB of hearing loss with the existing technology. If an individuals’ hearing loss exceeds this then IIC becomes unsuitable. Starkey IIC hearing aids are a little more promising as they have a covering range of up to 100dB in the high frequencies. Hearing professional must take these into consideration.
In India most of the hearing professionals would shy away from taking that deep an impression and all the more the regular impression material which is used across India is slightly harder hence inappropriate for IIC impression purpose. We require a softer material, a vented otoblock (which is a cotton which prevents the material from touching the tympanic membrane) which disallows pressure to be built in the canal and an impression gun which mixed the material with hardner automatically in appropriate proportion.
If you wish to order IIC then all of the above applies to you and more so you need help of an experienced hearing professional.
You must also be aware about the costs and price of IIC hearing aids in India. There are several companies which have bought IIC hearing aid in India the first one of which is Starkey. Following Starkey Oticon and Phonak did the same.
Starkey IIC hearing aid price in India Starts from around a lakh of rupees and go up to 2.8lacs for each piece. If budget is less then Oticon has an option for IIC hearing aids called “Ria Pro”. This hearing aid is priced at Rs. 80,000 and covers up to 80dB of hearing loss. Oticon has other options for Rs. 1,75,000 and 2,50,000. Phonak is the latest entrant in the IIC hearing aid segment with prices starting from Rs. 70,000.
If these prices are more for your pocket then as a hearing professional we can provide you with shallower versions of a CIC hearing aid which are better than a CIC but less than an IIC Hearing aid. These hearing aids are prices from Rs. 16,000 and above.
If you wish to know more details about these hearing aids, you can contact us by filling the form below: