One of the things that often draws attention to Eargo hearing aids is our in-the-ear design. This specific style of hearing aid is called a Complete-In-Canal (CIC) hearing aid and is desirable for many reasons. It is virtually invisible; discreet; out of the way of glasses, hair, masks, hats, oxygen cannula, etc.; and is usually very comfortable to wear!
However, Eargo is a unique design in the world of CIC hearing aid options. In the traditional sense, CIC hearing aids are custom fit to the user, meaning that an audiologist would fill the client’s ear canal with silicone earmold impression material and send it off to a hearing aid manufacturer to make a hard, acrylic hearing aid from that mold.
The process looks something like this: (1) schedule an appointment with local audiologist to take earmold impressions and place order; (2) return to clinic 1-2 weeks later for fitting of custom devices; (3) return 1-2 weeks later for hearing aid modification or make a new earmold; and (4) start this 1-2 week process over again. Sometimes the fit is great the first go round, but due to the dynamic movement of the average ear canal, often at least 1 round of remake is necessary—which means it can take around 2-5 WEEKS before you get your well-fitting custom hearing aids home with you for good.
Another thing to note with a custom in-the-ear hearing aid is that by taking a silicone earmold impression and making a hearing aid the exact shape and size of your ear canal, the hearing aid will fill up the entirety of the ear canal, which leaves very little space for air and sound transfer around or through the hearing aid. While customization is often a good thing, for hearing aid users that have normal-or near normal-hearing in the low and mid frequency range (like a great percentage of the adult aging population), this hearing aid fit leaves the ear plugged or occluded. Under these circumstances, the user often feels as though they are listening to sounds as though they are underwater. Also, the user’s own voice may sound muffled, or the user is unable to adjust to the reduction in their good hearing (due to the presence of the hearing aid occluding the ear canal). The difficulty adjusting to the new sounds can lead the user to become so frustrated that the user exchanges their CIC custom hearing aid for a behind-the-ear hearing solution, which allows for the ear canal to remain less occluded.
**It should be noted that there are hearing loss types that occluding the ear canal is the PERFECT solution and these users would not have this same experience**
Eargo offers a unique CIC design that is NOT custom fit. (In this instance, we’re referring to the physical fit of the hearing aid in your ear, not the ‘fitting’ of the hearing aid to your hearing needs). Eargo ships hearing aids directly to your home, which typically arrive within a few days. You can use Sound Match in the Eargo app with your smartphone to self-fit Eargo 5, Eargo 6, and Eargo 7 to your unique hearing needs in about 15 minutes. No traditional in-office clinic visits are needed to fit the hearing aids! Also, our team of hearing professionals is always available to guide you through self-adjusting the hearing aids and creating custom audio profiles.
Eargo 5, Eargo 6 & Eargo 7 have very small tips, known as Petals, that fit into your ear canal. The Petals fit so that it feels like the hearing aids are “floating” in the ear canal. The Petals allow for full contact with the ear canal without totally occluding the ear canal.
The Petals are also vented to allow for air and sound transfer all the way around the hearing aid while it’s in your ear. The venting allows for your normal hearing ability (in the low and mid frequencies) to pass around the hearing aid and be heard more naturally to how you are used to hearing. The sounds that need amplification (usually the high-frequencies) are amplified appropriately to achieve better hearing overall. As a result, you will have more natural sound quality, much less occlusion, and much easier transition into the experience of wearing hearing aids.
When the hearing aid is in the ear canal and not behind the ear, the wearer can benefit from the natural noise filtering of the earlobe (the Pinna Effect*) to achieve better results in background noise.
So you see, sometimes less is more! (If we’re talking about the size of your in-the-ear hearing aid, of course!)
*To learn more about the Pinna Effect: