Gone are the days when hearing aids were seen as a bulky, beige device that is visible in the ear and looks pretty uncomfortable. Today’s hearing aids are so small and discreet that most people will never even know you’re wearing them. They can fit easily into the ear or behind it, making them virtually invisible to anyone but the wearer. The smallest of all hearing devices today are known as invisible-in-the-canal hearing aids, or IIC for short.
Before we look at your best IIC options, it’s important to stress that best practices are key to optimizing your performance with whatever hearing aid you use. If you want to find a hearing care professional in your area that actually follows best practices, then check out my website, drcliffaud.com. Where you can search for a Best Practice Pro member near you. In no particular order, here are my recommendations when it comes to invisible hearing aids in 2022
Even though the Phonak Lyric has been around for over a decade, most hearing aid users are unaware. But because it is expertly implanted into your ear canal, approximately four millimeters away from your eardrum, and stays there for two months, the Phonak Lyric is easily the most inconspicuous hearing aid.
You get it implanted in your ear canal, and every two months, you return to your hearing care professional to have it removed and replaced with a new one. As a result, this is a hearing aid that you can use 24 hours a day.
This hearing aid can stay in your ear canal when sleeping, showering, or exercising. Submerging your head underwater, such as when scuba diving, is the one thing you can't do while using this hearing aid.
The Phonak Lyric is also one of the best hearing aids for tinnitus suppression. The leading cause of tinnitus is the lack of auditory information, the Phonak Lyric's 'always on' nature means you're looking at a hearing aid that can suppress tinnitus all day and night.
The Lyric hearing aid is acquired on a subscription basis. You pay an annual membership to your hearing care professional to have these units replaced every two months and cover any other services you might need in the office.
Lyric hearing aid users adore their devices, and switching a Lyric hearing aid user to nearly any other hearing aid is not easy. If you're seeking an utterly inconspicuous hearing aid that's also highly practical, the Lyric hearing aid could be the right choice.
Starkey Evolv AI IIC
Starkey recently announced a complete series of new Evolv AI hearing aids; the non-wireless IIC is the smallest, most inconspicuous version. This device is considered a daily wear device, which means you put it in your ear in the morning and take it out before going to bed in the evening.
This hearing aid is nearly undetectable and is one of the smallest custom hearing aids available. Starkey is recognized for its custom-fit products, so it's no surprise that they accept 3D digital scans from a hearing care professional to assure the most secure, discreet fit possible.
Like other invisible canal hearing devices, this hearing aid is best suited to people who have mild to moderate hearing loss.
While the non-wireless IIC version of this hearing aid does not include all of the fantastic capabilities found in the wireless Evolv AI hearing aids, it compensates by being an excellent hearing aid that is practically unnoticeable.
Phonak Virto Marvel Titanium
The shell of this hearing aid is composed of titanium rather than acrylic. This makes it 15 times stronger and 50% thinner than a standard acrylic shell, resulting in a smaller and more discreet hearing aid.
Another great feature of the Phonak Virto Marvel Titanium IIC hearing aid is the ability to add a push-button battery door. So, if you want to change the volume or programs on your hearing aid, all you have to do is push on the small flap of cartilage that covers the opening of your ear canal, which will activate the push button.
Another feature I like about this hearing aid is that it employs the AutoSense operating system, which allows it to identify the acoustic environment you're in and automatically convert you to program settings appropriate for that sound environment.
With the upper tier levels of this hearing aid, Phonak also allows your hearing care professional a lot of customization options to match them significantly precisely to your hearing loss prescription targets.
Overall, throughout the past 4+ years, the Phonak Titanium invisible in the canal hearing aids have been some of my favorite invisible hearing aids to fit my patients.
Signia Silk X CIC
A completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid is technically not an IIC hearing aid. Still, I would argue the Signia Silk X CIC is as inconspicuous in the ear as some of the other hearing aids I've already discussed in this post.
This instant-fit hearing aid is similar to the Phonak Lyric hearing aid. As a result, you won't require a specific ear mold impression like you would with a Starkey or a Phonak hearing aid. Your hearing care specialist will determine the best click sleeve or click dome to use with this device to ensure that it fits comfortably in your ear canal.
The Signia Silk X CIC is based on the same Signia Xperience platform as the company's other products. The motion sensor and own voice processing are the only features that this device lacks compared to the other products in the Xperience platform.
Like the other IIC hearing devices, this hearing aid lacks Bluetooth wireless connectivity. You can still use TeleCare to schedule remote programming sessions with your hearing care professional from the convenience of your own home.
In addition, the Signia Silk X CIC is the only invisible hearing aid that can be used with an invisible CROS transmitter. If you suffer single-sided deafness and need to channel sound from one side of your head to the other, this is the only IIC hearing aid capable of doing that.
Whether invisible or not, correctly fitted hearing aids can make your life so much better, bring back the joy in everyday conversation, and help you interact with the people around you in a way you hadn't thought possible.