What do you think? Nearly invisible Ear machines just a fashion accessory or beyond?
Hearing loss has taken over billions of people across the Globe, leaving them dependent on ear machines. So the Hearing aid industry has developed different models as per the consumer's requirements. In a world where Protective gear like MASK became a fashion accessory and arrived in multiple variants, from Swarovski to prints, everything surrounded them—leaving the world amused.
Then why does your ear machine remain the same old-school solid-coloured?
Due to the appearance of Hearing aids, many people are hesitant to seek treatment. Fortunately, nearly invisible ear machines are at the rescue for them as it provides a discreet solution to hearing loss, allowing people to enjoy improved hearing quality without sacrificing appearance or comfort.
These ear machines come in various shapes and sizes; The widely used ones are as follows,
There are three main types of nearly invisible ear machines:
In-the-canal (ITC): ITC hearing aids fit partially into the ear canal, making them less noticeable than traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. They are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss and offer some degree of customisation.
Completely-in-the-canal (CIC): CIC hearing aids are smaller and fit completely inside the ear canal, making them virtually invisible. They are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss and offer a higher level of customisation than ITC hearing aids.
Invisible-in-the-canal (IIC): IIC hearing aids are the smallest and most discreet type of nearly invisible ear machine. They fit deep inside the ear canal, making them virtually invisible. They are suitable for people with mild to moderate hearing loss and offer a high level of customisation.
How Nearly Invisible Hearing Machines Manufactured?
Now you might be wondering how these Ear Machines are made, though the process may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer; however, sharing the generic procedure of their preparation.
Nearly invisible ear machines are made using advanced technology that allows them to be custom-fitted to the individual wearer's ear canal. Here's how they are made and how they function:
Impression: An audiologist or hearing specialist will take an impression of the wearer's ear canal using a soft silicone material. This impression is used to create a mould of the ear canal.
- 3D Printing: The mould is then used to create a 3D model of the ear canal, which is used to design and manufacture the custom hearing aid shell.
- Component placement: The hearing aid's electronic components, including the microphone, speaker, and battery, are carefully placed inside the custom shell.
- Programming: Once the hearing aid is assembled, it is programmed by the audiologist or hearing specialist to meet the wearer's specific hearing needs.
- Insertion: The nearly invisible hearing aid is inserted directly into the ear canal, where it fits snugly and comfortably.
Functionally, nearly invisible ear machines work in a similar way to other hearing aids. They amplify sound waves and convert them into electrical signals transmitted to the wearer's ear canal. The microphones in the hearing aid pick up sound waves, which are then processed by the hearing aid's circuit to amplify specific frequencies and reduce background noise. The amplified sound is then delivered to the wearer's ear via a speaker inside the hearing aid shell.
Why is there a Shift toward Nearly Invisible Ear Machines from Traditional Ear Machines?
One of the most significant advantages of nearly invisible ear machines is their discreet appearance. Many people with hearing loss are hesitant to wear traditional hearing aids because they are visible and may be perceived as a sign of weakness or ageing. Nearly invisible ear machines eliminate this concern, allowing people to enjoy improved hearing without drawing attention to their ears.
In addition, to their discreet appearance, nearly invisible ear machines offer improved comfort compared to traditional hearing aids. Because they fit inside the ear canal, they are less likely to cause discomfort or irritation. Additionally, their small size means they are less likely to be affected by wind or other environmental factors.
Finally, nearly invisible ear machines are easy to use and can be customised to fit each person's unique needs. They can be programmed to amplify specific frequencies or filter out background noise, and they can be adjusted to accommodate changes in hearing over time.
The industry impact of this shift is enormous and can be analysed by considering the following facts :
Nearly Invisible ear machines were first introduced by Phonak company in the year 2010, disrupting the market of hearing aids. With technological advancement, they have recently launched a waterproof, rechargeable version of a hearing aid. Showing that the hearing aid industry is growing at a rapid pace. Also, the research report concluded that the global hearing aid market size was attributed to USD 10.6 billion in 2022, according to a report by Grand View Research. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.9% from 2023 to 2030.
The growth of the hearing aid market can be attributed to factors such as the increasing prevalence of hearing loss, a growing ageing population, and advancements in hearing aid technology. In addition, the rising demand for invisible hearing aids, such as "invisible-in-the-canal" (IIC) devices, is expected to drive the market's growth further.
The report also notes that behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids held the largest market share in 2020, while in-the-ear (ITE) and IIC hearing aids are expected to witness the fastest growth over the forecast period. This growth is due to the increasing popularity of more discreet hearing aids that offer a comfortable fit and advanced technology.
Overall, the hearing aid market is expected to continue to grow as the population ages and demand for hearing aid solutions increases.
Factors to Consider while Choosing a Nearly Invisible Ear Machine
When choosing the nearly invisible type of ear machine, several factors must be considered. These include the severity and type of hearing loss, lifestyle factors, budget, and consultation with a hearing care professional.
People with severe or profound hearing loss may not be suitable candidates for nearly invisible ear machines, as they may require more powerful amplification. Additionally, the hearing loss type may affect the kind of ear machine most appropriate for the individual.
- Lifestyle factors such as job requirements, hobbies, and social activities may also influence the choice of nearly invisible ear machines. For example, people who work in noisy environments may benefit from ear machines that offer noise reduction or suppression features.
- Luxury comes with cost hence the budget is also an essential factor when choosing, as nearly invisible ear machines tend to be more expensive than traditional hearing aids. However, many people find that the improved comfort and fashion statement are worth the extra cost.
- Consultation with a hearing care professional is essential when choosing nearly invisible ear machines. A professional can evaluate hearing loss, recommend the most appropriate type of ear machine, and provide guidance on how to use and care for the ear machine.
You may also consider consulting with Amplfon’s Audiologists and getting an assessment of your hearing loss and recommendation upon the suitable ear machine tailored to your needs.
However, most audiologists do not recommend nearly invisible ear machines as the best solution, but the audience is too sceptical about their appearance hence industry had to find a solution for them.
Considering the fact that these machines are expensive and a fashion statement, taking care of them is utterly essential to maintain their quality and hygiene.
How to Care for and Maintain Nearly Invisible Ear Machines?
Proper care and maintenance of nearly invisible ear machines are essential to ensure they continue to function effectively.
Here are some tips for maintaining ear machines well:
- Clean the ear machines daily with a soft, dry cloth or a special cleaning tool the manufacturer provides.
- Avoid using water or harsh chemicals to clean the ear machines, as this can damage the delicate components.
- Store the ear machines in a dry, cool place when not in use.
- Replace the batteries regularly, following the manufacturer's recommendations.
- Be careful while removing and using it, as tiny elements may get detached or damaged.
- Get them assessed by audiologists to ensure they are meeting your requirements at the stage you are on, as most of them are customisable.
Nearly invisible ear machines offer a discreet and effective solution to hearing loss, allowing people to enjoy improved hearing without sacrificing appearance or comfort. Proper care and maintenance of ear machines are also crucial to ensure they continue to function effectively. If you are experiencing hearing loss, consult a hearing care professional to explore your options and find a solution that meets your unique needs.
Also, all audiologists do not universally endorse the recommendation of nearly invisible ear machines as a solution for hearing loss. However, the decision to use nearly invisible ear machines versus traditional hearing aids should be made on an individual basis after careful consideration of the individual's hearing needs, lifestyle, budget, and consultation with a qualified hearing care professional.