The invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aid style is one of the smallest hearing devices available. The IIC is similar to the CIC where the body of the hearing aid fits entirely inside your ear canal. The difference is that the IIC is fit even further down the ear canal. The only visible part of this hearing aid style is the tiny wire that protrudes just outside the ear canal used for inserting and removing the device.
The IIC hearing aid produces a very natural sound profile, using the advantage of the resonances of the ear profile to conduct its natural function. The users voice will sound more natural to themselves in comparison to styles with a microphone outside of the ear canal. This same placement also eliminates wind noise distractions and helps to detect where sound is coming from because the sound funnels through the ear canal.
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BTE: Behind The Ear
Simple to maintain, easy to adjust, the BTE hearing aids supply significant power, long battery life and a variety of features.
CIC: Completely In
For mild to moderate hearing loss. This tiny custom style rests deep in the ear canal. A discreet hearing aid solution.
RIC: Receiver In Canal
Suitable for mild to severe hearing loss. Worn behind the ear, the receiver sits directly in the ear canal.
Pros and Cons
Similar to the CIC the IIC cannot house a large amplifier to provide lots of power. Making the IIC best suited to those with a mild to moderate degree of hearing loss. The small size and placement in the canal limits any on-device controls or remote access capabilities. The tiny wire or “fishing line” wire used to assist in removing and inserting the device demands good manual dexterity of the wearer. The small batteries also have a short life span so be prepared to change then often. This style of hearing is also susceptible to damage from moisture and earwax – a regimented cleaning and maintenance routine will keep these performing at their best. The device is custom fit, comfortable and even reported to not be felt by the wearer. However not all ear shapes can accommodate this style, your hearing health professional will be able to advise if you are a good candidate during a consultation.
Connectivity to smartphones is limited, but many remote controls are discreet and can be small enough to fit onto your keyring. If you want a hearing aid that can connect to a wide range of Bluetooth devices, consider a larger product than can house the technology. If you wear two IIC aids each will need to be programmed and adjusted separately due to the placement deep in the ear canal there is no option for binaural communication between the two different hearing aids.