By Tammara Stender, AuD, Senior Audiologist
GN ReSound Global Audiology
Let’s face it: the competition in the hearing aid market is pretty stiff. In a market where the devices are getting smaller and smaller, the focus seems to be on the miniaturization of the hearing instrument. Design choices are paramount in this arena. But sometimes, the primary need of a prospective user gets lost in the shuffle of vying to offer the most micro-hearing aids possible. The primary motivation of the patient seeking amplification is, after all, better hearing. What many individuals with hearing loss desire when deciding to purchase hearing aids is improvement in their hearing—all the better if wrapped in a small, attractive package.
With this need for an ultra-cosmetic hearing instrument that also delivers the highest technology possible for its size, ReSound introduces the Verso Invisible-In-the-Canal, or IIC, device. As a member of the Verso product family, the flagship line for ReSound, it contains the Range II platform and features of Surround Sound by ReSound such as Environmental Optimizer II and DFS Ultra II with Music Mode. The entire device is protected against moisture and debris by iSolate nanotech. The benefits to the user provided by this technology are many, including better battery life and feedback management, as well as automatic volume and noise-reduction adjustments based on a sophisticated environmental classification system.
However, the IIC model of hearing instrument also provides other user benefits by virtue of its small design, concealed in the ear. As the microphone is located deep in the canal, concerns about annoying wind noise are greatly reduced. Wind noise can be problematic for hearing aid users, especially if the microphones are located behind the ear. In fact, MarkeTrak VIII noted wind noise as the second biggest complaint from hearing aid users (HJ 2010;63(1):19). To prevent wind from creating noise as it sweeps across a hearing aid microphone, it is advantageous for the hearing instrument to be placed deep in the ear canal, where it will be shielded from wind noise turbulence by the anatomical features of the external ear.
The placement of the Verso IIC deep in the canal is also beneficial for the user’s localization abilities. Localization is the ability to determine the location of sound sources in the listening environment. IIC users can benefit from high-frequency pinna effects that have been shown to enhance front-to-back localization abilities (Hearing Instruments 1976;27:22; J Acoust Soc Am 2008;123(4):2264; Int J Audiol 2011;50(3):164). The preservation of these localization cues allows the user to enjoy a more natural listening experience.
Successful, easy use of the telephone is often a problem for many hearing aid users. With larger custom devices, it can be uncomfortable to press the phone receiver against the device. For hearing instruments with the microphone behind the ear, users may need to hold the phone over and away from the ear to be able to hear well, which can be frustrating as well as unnatural. The potential for feedback is possible in either of these cases. However, the deep placement of the Verso IIC allows for users to hold the phone naturally against the ear in many cases. Feedback is reduced and controlled via DFS Ultra II, the newest and highest level of feedback management technology available from ReSound.
The fitting range of the Verso IIC accommodates individuals with hearing losses ranging from mild to severe. The ReSound Impression Key is available for the hearing professional to evaluate if the impression is adequate in dimensions for this small IIC device.
People decide to purchase hearing instruments not for cosmetics alone; they pursue amplification to fulfill a need for better hearing abilities. If the hearing instrument can be inconspicuous and cosmetically appealing, it is sometimes easier for a person to accept. The Verso IIC fits the needs of individuals who want it all—better hearing abilities through discreet design.