‘Cosmetic’ and 'Invisible' can mean different things to different people. When it comes to hearing aids, people usually mean this in one of two ways. Either in the sense that they want something that looks attractive, isn’t too bulky and possibly shows off their own sense of style. Others say invisible when they want something that is very discreet and as unnoticeable as possible.
For those who don’t want to hide their hearing aids, many manufacturers produce products in a range of sizes and colours. Some people simply want a nice looking hearing aid and the ability to personalise it to show off their individuality. For Example, when Phonak launched the Audeo range they included a model called the Yes. Phonak described this hearing aid as having an ‘Avant Garde’ style and was designed to give hearing aid users a chance to show off their own unique style. Another example is the Starkey Xino. This hearing aid is a mini BTE (Behind The Ear) model but has a sleek design that can be customised with your choice of colour.
However, there are many, for whom wearing hearing aids can make them feel self conscious. They may make them feel old or that people are going to automatically treat them differently. Luckily, there are many solutions available nowadays that are designed for this exact reason, ranging from small and cosmetic to almost invisible. Below are some examples of the smaller and more discreet models available.
ITC (In The Canal Hearing Aids) – These hearing aids are quite small and as the name suggests, sit just in the ear canal. They can still be seen but are far more discreet than the Full Shell or Half Shell aids. Some manufacturers also offer colours to match hair or skin tones.
CIC (Completely In Canal Hearing Aids) – These models sit further into the canal and are almost unnoticeable.
IIC (Invisible In Canal Hearing Aids) – This hearing aid is even smaller than the CIC and sits deep into the ear canal making it ‘invisible’.
Due to their positioning in the ear, these hearing aids are not necessarily suitable for everyone. This could be for a number of reasons. Some people find that the smaller in the ear hearing aids can cause occlusion. This is when you get a ‘bunged up’ feeling and your own speech can sound loud and strange. The ability to wear these types of hearing aids can also depend on the shape or size of your ear canal.
Even when it comes to the BTE (Behind The Ear) hearing aids, most manufacturers have now taken into account that most people are conscious of how their hearing device looks. This means that you no longer have to be stuck with something bulky, uncomfortable or unattractive. If you look around at all the different hearing aids available today you will see they are available in all shapes, sizes and colours so there will be something out there that will match your idea of ‘cosmetic’.