Hearing loss is a real challenge for many seniors. Diminished hearing makes daily life harder and more stressful. If you can’t hear clearly it’s harder to follow a conversation, especially in a crowded room.
However, for some seniors, the thought of wearing a hearing aid is also stressful. There’s often an assumption that the hearing aid will be large, bulky, and easily visible. Wearing a visible hearing aid isn’t a problem for every senior, but for those that are concerned, there is another option: Invisible hearing aids.
Who Needs An Invisible Hearing Aid?
Invisible hearing aids are ideal for seniors who are worried about the stigma of wearing a traditional behind the ear hearing aid model. Invisible hearing aids are designed to be worn in the ear canal, rather like headphones.
What exactly makes a hearing aid invisible? Quite honestly it’s all in the eye – or ear – of the beholder. In the ear hearing aids come in three main styles:
- Custom molds are custom made to fit either the whole or half of your outer ear shell. They can be seen, but they’re not nearly as noticeable as a behind the ear hearing aid.
- In the canal hearing aids are much less visible than other hearing aids. They’re custom made to fit partly in your ear canal. Someone would have to be paying very close attention to know you’re wearing one.
- Completely in the canal hearing aids are the least visible of all. They’re made to fit completely inside your ear canal, making them very difficult to see indeed.
When wearing an invisible hearing aid, you will be aware of it sitting inside your ear. However, with the right fitting and support, you’ll hardly notice the sensation, and you’ll be able to go about your day and forget you’ve got them in. The biggest difference you’ll notice is improved hearing.
How Do Invisible Hearing Aids Work?
Like all hearing aids, invisible models work by amplifying sound so you can hear more clearly. Each device contains a tiny microphone that registers the sound around you, plus a process that converts the sound into electronic data and amplifies it. Lastly, a receiver sends the sound to your ear. The result is that sounds are clearer than before and you’re not struggling so hard to hear.
Today’s hearing aids are far more advanced than older models. They have the capacity to adjust to the sounds around you, amplifying the parts you want to hear, while muffling the parts you don’t want to hear.
What Should I Look For When Choosing An Invisible Hearing Aid?
Hearing aids are a significant investment. Most invisible models start at $1500 per hearing aid, and some are as much as $3000 per hearing aid. That’s why we recommend checking out the following, to make sure the hearing aid you choose has everything you need:
- Is there an evaluation period? You’ll find plenty of hearing aid companies offer an evaluation period (usually 30 days), during which you can return your hearing aids for a no-questions-asked refund. An evaluation period is fantastic, as it gives you the chance to try living with your hearing aids before committing to them.
- Is there a warranty? Hearing aids are a serious investment – you want to know how long you’re covered in case of faults.
- What kind of batteries do they use? Some hearing aids take rechargeable batteries, while others use the kind of battery you need to replace regularly. It’s helpful to know before purchase what kind of battery your hearing aids use, and how often you’ll need to replace or recharge them.
- What is the pre and post-sales customer support like? Find out what the process of getting hearing aids is like. Are there centers you can visit? Will they help you choose the best model for you? You’ll also want to check what the post-sales support is like. At the very least you want to know you can call someone if you have questions.
- How are they cleaned? It’s always helpful to know how to clean your hearing aids, though it’s usually a straightforward process.
- Are there financing options available? Some companies offer payment plans to spread the cost of hearing aids. If cost is a concern, this is worth looking into – always be sure to read the small print before you sign up though.
Top Invisible Hearing Aids
Here are three invisible hearing aid manufacturers that are well worth a look.
Widex offers a range of hearing aids to suit different lifestyles, with a strong focus on solutions that fit into your daily life and make it much better. Read the full review of Widex hearing aids here.
Invisible models: Widex offers two main invisible hearing aids: Evoke and Unique. Unique is an in the ear model. Evoke comes in two models – in the ear, and completely in the canal, for ultimate invisibility.
Our choice: All Widex models offer excellent quality, thanks to their state of the art of technology. However, we’re particularly impressed with Evoke. Widex bill it as the world’s first smart hearing aid – and users will appreciate it’s unique approach to hearing. Evoke learns from each situation you’re in, and remembers what it learned so it can create the ideal sound profile for each new situation. You can be proactive about telling it what you want, or you can set it to “universal” mode and leave it to work its magic. Control of the sound profiles and preferences is via an app.
Type of hearing loss: Evoke is suitable for mild to moderately severe hearing loss.
Batteries: You can charge Evoke overnight in the handy little charger, so they’re ready for you the next morning. If you prefer, you can also use changeable zinc-air batteries (these also make a good backup.)
Accessories: Widex offers an impressive range of accessories to enhance your listening. You can purchase accessories to help you hear phone calls, smartphones, the TV, or FM radio, more clearly.
Support: Widex has a network of nationwide centers where you can go for support and help choosing the best hearing aid for you.
Evaluation Period: Yes
Customers love: Widex is comfortable to wear (particularly important for in the ear hearing aids), and people love the crystal clear sound quality. It seems that Evoke lives up to its promises, offering clearer hearing across a wide range of situations.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Some users had difficulty getting the app to work as desired, and we saw a few reports of equipment not lasting as long as expected. However, most reviews we found were positive, and Widex seems popular.
Ideal for: Seniors who want a hearing aid that works well no matter where they are or what they’re doing.
Our verdict: A high powered hearing aid that literally learns what you want from it, for the most personalized hearing experience possible.
Invisible models: Signia offers two invisible models. Insio Nx is a custom made model, designed to enhance speech. Silk Nx is a ready-to-wear model that’s almost invisible in the ear canal.
Our choice: Insio Nx is an incredible little device that lets you stream music, TV and phone calls direct to your hearing aids, all while offering advanced speech enhancement to make conversations so much easier to hear. Insio makes it easier to hear your conversational partner even in crowded or noisy environments, and also adjusts as you move, making it easier to hear both your partner and your own voice when you’re out and about.
Type of hearing loss: Insio Nx is suitable for mild, moderate and severe hearing loss.
Accessories: You can get accessories to turn your hearing aids into headphones, stream audio such as from the TV directly to your devices, and even a tiny remote control for if you don’t want to use an app to control your hearing aids.
Support: You can visit one of many Signia centers nationwide to get personalized fitting and support.
Customers love: The clear, natural sound of Signia gets lots of praise! We also noticed that people report positive experiences with Signia staff.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Some customers have issues with the sound cutting out from time to time, but the number of complaints seemed pretty standard for a company of this size. In general, Signia is well-liked.
Ideal for: Seniors with an active social life who want to be sure they can keep enjoying the conversation as they always have.
Our verdict: Tiny, powerful hearing aids you can hardly see, and yet they enhance everyday hearing in so many different ways.
Oticon’s website states that they’re all about “breaking the rules.” That means tiny, discreet hearing aids that are big on power but small on size, with impressive connectivity to all your favorite devices. Oticon also offer some veterans benefits too – ask their hearing specialists to find out if you’re eligible! Read the full in-depth look of Oticon here.
Invisible models: Oticon Opn and Siya both offer in the ear styles.
Our choice: Opn is an amazing little device. Some Opn models are so tiny as to be virtually invisible, while some larger (but still in the ear) models have all the connectivity you need to stream sound direct. Opn is designed to process sound in a way that supports your brain’s natural way of hearing, reducing stress and making life easier.
Type of hearing loss: There are several Opn models available, covering a range of hearing needs from mild to severe hearing loss.
Batteries: Rechargeable or changeable, depending on the model you choose.
Accessories: Oticon offers a great range of accessories to help you stream music or TV, control your hearing aids, or even turn them into headphones. You can even link some Opn models to other wireless devices in your home so that, for example, your hearing aids turn on if someone rings your smart doorbell, or off when you turn off your lights at night!
Support: Oticon has centers nationwide where you can chat with hearing professionals and have a fitting.
Evaluation Period: Yes
Customers love: The thing we saw mentioned most frequently in reviews was how comfortable Opn is to wear! As they’re going to be in your ears all day, this is a huge bonus.
Customers aren’t so keen on: Opn is generally well-liked, but we noticed a few people didn’t quite get the speech quality they wanted.
Ideal for: Seniors who want a discreet style of hearing aid, but aren’t willing to compromise on comfort.
Our verdict: Innovative ideas and a wide range of styles make Opn a fantastic choice for those who want an invisible hearing aid.
Hearing aids don’t have to be bulky and unsightly. With invisible hearing aid styles, you can enjoy clearer hearing in comfort and ease, and with devices so discreet no one will even know you’re wearing them.