IIC hearing aids?

March 7, 2016 by Janie Durette
Appareils IIC
IIC is short for “invisible-in-the-canal.” While claiming that IIC hearing aids are “invisible” may be a bit of a stretch, it is true that they are the most discreet option on the market, as they sit deep in the auditory canal.

Most hard-of-hearing people choosing their very first hearing aids are afraid of being judged by others. This is why their first instinct is to select IIC hearing aids. But these devices are not suitable for everyone. Let’s see why.

Benefits of IIC hearing aids

IIC hearing aids are by far the most discreet of all models on the market. They sit deep in the auditory canal, which reduces wind noise and takes advantage of the natural resonance created by the shape of the ear, generating more natural sound and facilitating sound localization.

Technological limitations

Because of their very small size, this type of hearing aid offers limited power and functionalities. Gain is limited, and it is not possible to manually control the volume or switch programs. Last, because they sit deep in the auditory canal, they are more prone to failure due to ear wax or moisture.

Level of hearing loss

With their limited power, IIC hearing aids are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss only. People with severe to profound hearing loss will have to choose more powerful devices.

Degree of
hearing loss
Hearing loss range (dB HL)
Normal Less than 10 to 15
Slight 16 to 25
Mild 26 to 40
Moderate 41 to 55
Moderately severe 56 to 70
Severe 71 to 90
Profound 91+

 

Physiological factors

People wearing IIC hearing aids need excellent fine motor skills (ability to use their hands), because the devices are very small—and the battery powering them is even smaller (0.5 mm or 1/32 in.). Putting them on and taking them off thus requires increased precision, which makes IIC hearing aids too difficult to handle on a daily basis for people suffering from arthritis, fingertip insensitivity, or any other disease affecting the hands and fingers, for instance.

The shape and size of the ear and auditory canal also need to be taken into account, as IIC hearing aids will be a better fit for bigger and straighter ears.

In short, IIC hearing aids are the best choice for people with mild to moderate hearing loss that show good dexterity, and for whom discretion is very important. If you wish to know more about IIC hearing aids or find out if you would be a good candidate for them, consult with an audioprosthetist.

To determine which hearing aids are best for you, consult an audioprosthetist.
References:
CLARK, J. G. (1981). “Uses and abuses of hearing loss classification”. Asha, 23, 493–500.
www.healthyhearing.com/help/hearing-aids/types. Web page viewed on 2015-10-20.
news.truhearing.com/pros-cons-invisible-hearing-aids. Web page viewed on 2015-10-20.
starkeycanada.ca/hearing-aids/invisible-hearing-aids. Web page viewed on 2015-10-20.