Guest Article: Why Invisible Hearing Aids Don’t Make You Happy

Today’s Guest Article by Gianluca Trombetta is on why it’s A Bad Idea to wear invisible hearing aids. Our own opinion is that tiny completely-in-canal and other custom hearing aids assembled by hand are less reliable than their robotically assembled behind-the-ear cousins; and also tiny custom aids often lack wireless capability.

OK, so out of all the different models and sizes and fits, you’ve decided to buy invisible hearing aids. Great. Now, you have no problem in the eyes of a stranger who sees you for the first time and you don’t have to deal with the what-will-they-think-of-me? stigma/complex/problem/whatever.

Then you meet your buddies for dinner and go to a loud restaurant and can hardly follow the conversation. Now, you have two choices: You can pretend you follow everything or you can tell people at the table that you find hard to follow.

If you decide to go with the first – something I’ve done personally several times –you don’t have to admit that you have a hearing problem, in the eyes of everyone else you’re normal, but especially in your own judging eyes. You can nod and smile, grab a word here and there but truth is that you’re not having a great time, and nobody other than you knows that.

Lisa-1820-crop

Nobody can mistake our dear friend Lisa for being anything other than deaf as a brick; but just to make sure everyone knows, she wears a brightly colored hearing aid and earmold.

If you, on the other hand, decide to tell everyone that you struggle to follow and are able to explain it in a way that everybody can understand: “For me, as I am a bit deaf, it’s like we were in a club, I can hear the person sitting next to me, but it’s hard to follow what the entire group is saying, especially if they all speak at the same time.” You will generally find that people, whether they’re your closest friends or new acquaintances, will try and help how they can. Sometimes there is little you can do to make the conversation more comfortable but just having a one-to-one conversation with the person next to you can make your night.

So, invisible hearing aids would make you happy if they completely fixed your hearing problem but, as soon as you wear them for a week or two you realise that even if they do improve your hearing, they do not restore it completely and you will always struggle in some situations. And when that struggle arrives, there is nothing worse you can do than not sharing your problem. An invisible hearing aid gives you the licence to fake it. And it’s hard to come back from that.

The hearing aid industry keeps overselling the dream to the hearing impaired: “come and buy these, they’re invisible, nobody will notice that you have a problem” but truth is, you still do have a problem, and hiding it is the worst you could do.

Gianluca Trombetta of Mimi Hearing Technologies GmbH is located in Berlin; and they publish both hearing test and hearing amplifier apps for both the iOS and Android platforms.

← Guest Article: Using The Apple Watch With Hearing Devices 16/14 and 10nM Semiconductors Enabling 2.45gHz Digital "Moore's Law" Bluetooth Radios For Hearing Aids & CI's →

About the author

Dan Schwartz

Electrical Engineer, via Georgia Tech

6 Comments

  1. Nicole Carlsson
    June 24, 2015 at 10:35 pm

    Hi. Just wanted to say thanks for this article about invisible hearing aids. My 9yr old daughter has a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. We homeschool and did a discussion on the article yesterday. We both found it very interesting and relatable. I noticed my daughter nodding in agreement as we read through, and l feel that it gave us both some new food for thought.


    • Dan Schwartz
      June 24, 2015 at 10:53 pm

      Nicole, thank you for the kind words all the way from Perth, Western Australia! ♥


  2. drdata
    September 20, 2015 at 7:14 pm

    I think Nicole’s experience shows something important but I want to do a fork on this comment. Something I have run into with hearing aids and glasses. Children have more colorful choices. Apparently past a certain age, one is only allowed dull colors.

    With aids, I want the brightest, boldest, loudest colors in my aids. Well good luck with that. Give me BRIGHT PINK. No?

    I want people to see them so they know I am hearing impaired. Given that people who can hear are notoriously bad about picking up on us non-hearing folks, any help is appreciated. And, too, if the police see you and say: “STOP,” you sure want them to note that you are not among the hearing brigade. It is just–maybe–the thing that may save your life. Maybe.


    • Dan Schwartz
      September 20, 2015 at 11:08 pm

      @drdata: I’ll reply to all 3 of your comments at this link (give me a few moments to compose my reply) — I can’t reply to the e-mail addy you provided :-/


  3. drdata
    September 21, 2015 at 10:33 am

    This email address did not work?

    Love this site. Gosh. What a find.

    We live in Duluth, GA if you want to get a beer sometime.

    Bob


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