Probably one of the most frequently requested items in the hearing aid industry is the ‘Invisible Hearing Aid’.
Even today one’s ability to hear is treated a bit differently to one’s ability to see. Wearing glasses is accepted as a normal part of daily life, regardless of whether they are needed later in life for reading or from an early age for a variety of reasons. The necessity to wear a hearing aid is still largely associated with the profoundly deaf or the elderly, although the degree of social acceptance and tolerance does seem to be changing. Nevertheless, many people look for a hearing aid that is as invisible and discreet as possible.
It is interesting to explore some of the reasons behind the different attitudes towards hearing and visual impairment. One of the main reasons is the degree of refinement in technology and solutions available. When you consider that spectacles or glasses were invented in the 13th century with an ensuing 700 years of refinement and that the first true hearing aid (rather than hearing trumpet) could only have been invented after the introduction of electricity, it is a no great wonder that hearing solutions and attitudes towards them are very different.
Many people suffering from hearing impairment are afraid that if they acknowledge their condition, society will label them as ‘deaf’ or ‘old’, although these words should not be used to describe hearing impairment.
In the absence of a more common term, ‘deaf’ is often misused to describe someone with diminished hearing instead of ‘hard of hearing’ or ‘hearing impaired’. Bizarrely, deaf (implying someone with no hearing) would suggest that a hearing aid would be of little or no benefit. For example, we do not usually refer to someone who uses glasses or contact lenses as ‘blind’ as they can still see but may need some help for close-up or distance vision. The same applies to hearing aids – they do not fully replace our ability to hear, rather, they augment the residual hearing we have.
The reason that we associate diminished hearing with age is very clear – as we grow older, our hearing deteriorates in the same way as our eyesight does (actually the correlation between the need for reading glasses and diminished hearing is extremely high). Therefore, people may delay acknowledging and treating diminished hearing in fear of being labeled as ‘old’ until they reach a certain age when they believe it will be acceptable to have a decline in their hearing abilities. Therefore the myth is perpetuated – hearing aids are only worn by ‘old’ people. If we seek advice and treatment earlier, this can help change the perception. Perhaps we ought to consider that by withdrawing from some social interactions, appearing to not understand a conversation, turning the TV up ‘just a little bit more’ and suggesting that ‘people seem to mumble more than they used to’ might be more responsible for labeling us as ‘old’ than an invisible hearing aid ever would.
Today, the industry has advanced so much that the idea of such a device is no longer a dream, but a reality. Currently you can find several excellent options at Hearing Direct, for example the HD 392 Digital Hearing Aid. The HD 392 is our smallest, in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aid offering all the very latest digital technology. Perfect for those who live an active lifestyle, the tiny HD392 is remarkably powerful and almost invisible when worn. Being discreet and comfortable to wear, it provides superb speech clarity and an excellent overall sound. It is suitable for users suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.
Another excellent solution is the HD 500 Digital Hearing Aid. This discrete CIC hearing aid comes at a very competitive price and offers great comfort and level of sound quality. Its set of impressive features includes:
- Digital sound technology
- Background noise suppression
- Speech focus
- Feedback suppression and whistle management for better listening experience
- A volume control that is easy to use
- A feature specifically designed to better the experience while listening to music
- Low battery warning
Article date 11/11/2010, last updated 22/5/2014.