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The smallest custom-made hearing aids, IICs are sculptured to fit entirely within your ear canal and have a small, clear cord to enable their removal. As their name suggests, these devices can be essentially invisible, however their exact appearance depends on the size of your ear and your choice of model.

Being positioned deep in the ear canal, IICs make use of something called the pinna effect. By preserving the natural acoustics provided by the pinna (outer ear), the quality of sound they produce is often described as very ‘natural’. The pinna effect also helps with telling whether a sound is in front or behind you. In addition, IICs tend to work well on the phone because their microphone is positioned in the ear canal.

IICs are sometimes associated with another type of acoustic sensation, called the occlusion effect. This is the feeling of having a blocked ear which can result in the reverberation of your own voice. However, our audiologists are skilled at fitting these devices sufficiently deep into the ear canal, all but eliminating the occlusion effect.

Due to their size and relatively limited power, these devices aren’t suitable for everybody. For people with severe hearing difficulties, we would advise a larger and more powerful type of aid. Individuals with smaller ear canals are often not able to have IICs custom-moulded to their ears. There can also be issues with the device working itself free while chewing or talking.

IICs require careful maintenance as both the microphone ports and receiver tube are liable to becoming blocked by earwax due to their position in the ear canal. For this reason, people with dexterity or sight issues may also find the small size of these devices challenging when removing and reinserting them into the ear canal.

Functionally, IICs work well in most common environments but can provide limitations in more difficult listening situations like a busy café. This is because they have a single omni-directional microphone that picks up sounds from all directions. By comparison, larger devices have the ability to reduce background noise and ‘zoom in’ on speech.

Overall, the real benefits of this type of advice are cosmetic and this does come at the cost of some performance issues.

In-The-Ear (ITE)

This design sits comfortably in your outer ear. Being larger than the other in-ear designs, the controls are easier to adjust.
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Behind-The-Ear (BTE)

Like the RIC, these aids also sit behind the ear and have a connect earpiece. Their slightly larger size increases power and battery life.
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