The 8 Best Invisible Hearing Aids in 2023

Invisible hearing aids are a modern spin-off of traditional hearing aids, packing powerful technology into a miniature, discreet device.

Updated: Jan 13, 2023
Medically Reviewed by:

AgingInPlace.org keeps our resources free by working as an affiliate partner with some companies mentioned on our site. These partnerships or the commission we may earn do not affect our opinions or evaluations of the products we mention. Our reviews are solely based on our research methodology and from input from our AgingInPlace.org Advisory Board. Learn more about our ad policies.

Invisible hearing aids are the smallest hearing aids on the market. They fit completely in the ear canal, so no one can tell you’re wearing hearing aids. 

We’ve reviewed eight of the best invisible hearing aids from some of the top brands in the market. We also consulted audiologists for an insider perspective on what to consider when shopping for invisible hearing aids.

What Are Invisible Hearing Aids?

Invisible hearing aids can’t be seen when worn. Some invisible hearing aids must be inserted into the ear canal by an audiologist and remain there for several months. More typically, you insert the hearing aids yourself and remove them daily by pulling on their removal threads, or clear plastic strings attached to their outermost end. Like with all hearing aid styles, invisible hearing aids have their pros and cons.

Pros

  • Discreet

  • More comfortable for people who wear glasses

  • Less feedback and good sound amplification

Cons

  • Features and battery life limited by small size

  • Can be difficult to handle and place in the ear

  • Limited to treating less severe hearing loss

  • Can create an echo effect for high frequency hearing loss

Invisible hearing aids are best for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. This is because their small size limits space for the technology that’s needed to treat people with more severe hearing loss. Another drawback of their small size: They’re not as easy to clean, change the batteries, or place in the ear canal, especially if you have arthritis or any condition that affects hand dexterity. 

“Ear canals are like snowflakes—there are no two alike,” said Heather Malyuk, Au.D., Head of Audiology, at Tuned, “As such, not every ear canal is comfortable with these styles of hearing aids. They need to have an unremarkable ear canal because the manufacturer needs to be able to fit all of the parts into the shape of their specific ears. If the ear canals are too narrow, too curvy, or have any anatomical abnormalities, this is much harder for the manufacturer to do.”

Invisible hearing aids, compared to behind-the-ear hearing aids, can also be more comfortable for people who wear glasses, masks, or oxygen tubing because the hearing aids don’t compete for space behind the ear, according to Sarah Lundstrom, Au.D., of HearCare Audiology.

Types of Invisible Hearing Aids

There are two types of invisible hearing aids: invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids and completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aids. IIC hearing aids are the smaller of the two types, and only some CIC hearing aids are considered invisible, according to Melissa Karp, Au.D. with Audiology & Hearing Services of Charlotte, North Carolina.

IIC hearing aids rest deeper in the ear canal than CICs. “Someone with an average to large ear canal is a more appropriate candidate [for an IIC-style hearing aid],” Karp said.

Both IICs and CICs require either more frequent charging for rechargeable models or more frequent battery changes for disposable battery models because they can fit only small batteries that don’t last as long. Also because of their small size, IICs and CICs do not typically have volume control buttons directly built onto the hearing aids. CICs are a bit larger than IICs, which, for some CIC models, allows room for Bluetooth audio streaming.

In addition to their cosmetic appeal, invisible hearing aids have audiological benefits from sitting so deeply in the ear canal. 

“The closer the speaker of the hearing aid to the eardrum, the less output is needed. [A] benefit of less output needed is less risk of acoustic feedback,” Karp explained.

Acoustic feedback is a whistling sound that can occur when you wear hearing aids. Invisible hearing aids are associated with less whistling and wind noise.

Discreet Hearing Aids

Other discreet, but slightly larger, hearing aid options exist. They are not considered invisible hearing aids because they don’t disappear into the canal. Discreet hearing aids are designed to be less noticeable, yet still have space for housing more advanced technology than invisible hearing aids. These technologies can include Bluetooth streaming, telecoil, longer battery life, and volume controls for manually controlling volume on the hearing aid. Because larger hearing aids have more room to fit technology, they can also treat more severe types of hearing loss.

Here are three discreet hearing aid options:

Mini Behind-the-Ear (Mini BTE)

Mini BTE hearing aids are a slimmer version of traditional BTE hearing aids. They discreetly tuck away behind the upper ear and loop around to deliver amplified sounds into the ear canal. 

In-the-Ear (ITE)

ITE hearing aids contain no hard shell that hides behind the upper ear like mini BTE. But unlike invisible hearing aids, ITE fit inside the outer ear rather than in the ear canal, making them visible when worn. This style is larger than invisible and in-the-canal (ITC) styles and can pick up more wind noise than smaller styles.

In-the-Canal (ITC)

ITC hearing aids insert into the canal but stick out a bit past the opening of the ear canal, making them visible to others. These hearing aids are smaller than ITE and mini BTE, so their battery life is usually shorter than these larger styles but longer than invisible styles.

How We Research and Test Invisible Hearing Aids

Hours of Research: 4,000+
Experts Consulted: 11
Brands Considered: 17
Models Considered: 18
Models Selected: 8

Our experts research and recommend products that can help give you a better quality of life. Using our high standards and rigorous testing methodology, we’ve spent more than 4,000 hours, collectively, researching the best hearing aids to help you find the device that’s best for you. Throughout our research process, we did the following:

  • Consulted with audiologists and geriatric care experts
  • Mystery shopped the brands
  • Surveyed hundreds of hearing aid users
  • Tested various models of hearing aids
  • Interviewed experts in the field
  • Read thousands of verified customer reviews

We compared invisible hearing aids across brands´ sound technology, features, costs, and purchasing and maintenance requirements.

How Much Do Invisible Hearing Aids Cost?

Many invisible hearing aids are custom-fit prescription hearing aids. Some brands, like Eargo and Embrace Hearing, are not custom fit and can be purchased over the counter (OTC). Prescription, invisible hearing aids are typically more expensive because they are custom-fit to your ear canal and can be purchased only at hearing clinics after consultations with an audiologist. OTC invisible hearing aids can be purchased online or in stores without seeing an audiologist, although some brands have remote consultations available if needed. Based on our review of both OTC and prescription invisible hearing aids, costs range from $1,400-$8,000 per pair.

Despite a more discreet design, invisible hearing aids aren’t necessarily more expensive than other hearing aid styles, Lundstrom explained. “At many practices, the style is not the main factor in price. Providers may base the price on the computer chip technology rather than the style of the devices.”

Best Invisible Hearing Aids

  • Price: $2,950 per pair
  • Battery life: 16 hours
  • Battery: Rechargeable
  • Trial: 45 days
  • Warranty: 2 years

Eargo manufactures invisible hearing aids, and Eargo 6 is the brand´s latest model. Eargo hearing aids are OTC and can be purchased without taking a hearing test or consulting with an audiologist. However, Eargo has audiologists and non-audiologist hearing professionals available for remote assistance should you need it when purchasing and using Eargo hearing aids. The Eargo 6 is not custom fit, but it comes with four ear tips for some customization of size and comfort. The model is also water resistant.

Eargo 6 hearing aids have four listening programs and Bluetooth app connectivity. Bluetooth app connectivity allows the hearing aids to connect to your smartphone for adjusting volume and switching between listening programs. The Eargo 6 also has a manual option for hearing aid adjustments, which you can control by tapping on your ear with the hearing aid in it. Bluetooth connectivity also allows Eargo’s audiologists to remotely update your hearing aids.

  • Price: $1,998 per pair, $109/month with the Audicus Plus Plan
  • Battery life: 4–5 days (based on 16-hour day of wear)
  • Battery: Disposable size 10
  • Trial: 45 days
  • Warranty: 1 year

The Audicus Mini is Audicus’ only invisible hearing aid, and it is offered in the completely-in-canal (CIC) style. Audicus sells OTC hearing aids online, in its own brick-and-mortar clinics in New York, Colorado, and Illinois, and in partner hearing clinics in Arizona, Florida, and Illinois. Although their hearing aids are OTC, Audicus offers a free, optional online hearing test you can take if you want the Mini to arrive preprogrammed to your hearing needs. The Mini comes in a red and blue color option and is eligible for the Audicus Plus Plan where you can rent them for 18 months and then upgrade to a newer model if you renew for another 18-month rental contract. 

The Audicus Mini comes with free reprogramming for the life of the hearing aid. However, the Mini doesn’t have Bluetooth, so in order to be reprogrammed, it must be mailed back to Audicus. Without Bluetooth, hearing aid volume adjustments are made manually by tapping on the ear once the hearing aid is in the ear canal. Audicus also offers the Rexton app on smartphones and an add-on Remote Control to change volume and listening programs. The Mini is not a custom-fit hearing aid; it comes with size medium domes. Small and large domes can be purchased separately.

  • Price: retailer dependent
  • Battery life: 5–7 days (based on 16-hour day of wear)
  • Battery: Disposable size 10
  • Trial: Retailer dependent
  • Warranty: Retailer dependent

Phonak is a prescription hearing aid brand that offers invisible-in-canal (IIC) and completely-in-canal (CIC) custom-fit models. Its Virto Paradise hearing aids come in a titanium model and an acrylic model that use the disposable size 10 battery (known as 10 NW O). The titanium model is more durable. Both models are non-wireless, meaning they don’t have Bluetooth capabilities. Each Virto Paradise model also comes in one of four performance levels – essential, standard, advanced, or premium – that differ by the number of features and technology they offer. The premium performance level has the most features and best technology, so Virto Paradise hearing aids that run on this performance level will cost the most. Virto Paradise hearing aids that run on the essential performance level have fewer features and more basic technology and so will cost the least. Audiologists customize the available features in your hearing aids’ performance level based on your preferences and hearing loss.

Virto Paradise IIC and CIC models have tinnitus masking (for people with chronic ear ringing) and optional telecoil features (for directly connecting to sound systems in public venues). They are water resistant and also come with a mini control for changing hearing aid volume and switching between listening programs. Both the titanium and 10 NW O come in multiple flesh-color options.

  • Price: Estimated costs $3,600-$5,000 per pair for an annual subscription
  • Battery life: 2–3 months
  • Battery: Disposable 
  • Trial: Retailer dependent
  • Warranty: Retailer dependent

The Phonak Lyric is the most invisible hearing aid on the market and unique from all other invisible hearing aids we reviewed. Made of foam, the Lyric is an extended aid hearing aid that has to be placed in the ear canal by an audiologist. After placement, the Lyric stays in the ear for two to three months before needing to be replaced. The Lyric comes in seven sizes from XXS to XXL to accommodate a variety of ear canal shapes and sizes.

We rated the Lyric “lowest maintenance” because it requires no battery changes, recharging, or removal when sleeping or showering—though the Lyric is not made for swimming. If you have tinnitus that keeps you up at night, the Lyric can be especially beneficial because of its tinnitus-masking feature that can be used at bedtime. 

It does not have Bluetooth capabilities. If self-removal is necessary, the Lyric comes with a tool called the SoundLyinc™. The SoundLyinc can be inserted into the ear canal to adjust the hearing aid’s volume and put it into sleep mode. Because of its disposable nature, the Lyric is typically offered by subscription with lower upfront costs than typical hearing aids; however, because they require ongoing replacements and services, these aids could end up costing more in the long run. If you are interested in the Lyric hearing aids, you’ll want to schedule a consultation with an audiologist. Your hearing care provider will need to confirm your degree of hearing loss and the shape of your ear canal to determine if you are a candidate for the hearing aids.

Best for Bluetooth Streaming: Starkey Evolv AI

  • Price: Retailer dependent
  • Battery life: 5–7 days for IIC, 8–10 days for the non-wireless CIC, 3–7 days for the wireless CIC
  • Battery: Disposable
  • Trial: Retailer dependent
  • Warranty: Speak with retailer

Starkey, a prescription hearing aid brand, offers three custom-fit invisible hearing aid options: a non-wireless IIC, a non-wireless CIC, and a wireless CIC hearing aid. The wireless CIC hearing aid is the smallest hearing aid on the market capable of Bluetooth streaming. To have Bluetooth capabilities, the CIC Evolv AI has a small antenna that sticks out of the ear in the place where removal threads would normally go. Unlike removal threads, the antenna can’t be tucked away into the outer ear. 

All three of these hearing aid styles have a tinnitus-masking feature and are water resistant. They also have a tech feature called Edge Mode that greatly reduces background noise and enhances speech when used in noisy settings. The Evolv AI IIC uses a size 10 battery, and both the wireless and non-wireless CIC versions use a 312 battery, which typically has a longer battery life than the size 10. The wireless CIC is able to connect to Starkey’s smartphone apps that have features for fall detection, caregiver alerts, and tracking your activity levels.

  • Price: Retailer dependent
  • Battery life: 3–7 days (based on 16-hour day of wear)
  • Battery: Disposable size 10
  • Trial: Retailer dependent
  • Warranty: Retailer dependent

The Signia Silk X is a CIC prescription hearing aid. While it’s not custom fit, it does come with four silicone ear tips for some customization. The Signia Silk X is “best for tinnitus” because it has more options for tinnitus treatment than other invisible hearing aids we reviewed. It has noise therapy—a common form of tinnitus treatment that produces sounds to mask tinnitus—and Notch Therapy, which has the potential to change brain activity associated with tinnitus.

The Signia Silk X also has Bluetooth connectivity, so you can connect the hearing aids to your smartphone for adjusting volume and other settings and for remote hearing aid adjustments from your audiologist.

  • Price: Retailer dependent
  • Battery life: 3–7 days (based on 16-hour day of wear)
  • Battery: Disposable size 10 
  • Trial: Retailer dependent
  • Warranty: Retailer dependent

The Oticon Own is a custom-fit prescription hearing aid that comes in IIC and CIC styles. The Oticon Own uses advanced sound technology known as BrainHearing™ technology. This technology allows these hearing aids to better differentiate speech from background noise so you can hear sounds more clearly and with less listening effort. The Oticon Own comes with five options for performance levels.

Both the IIC and CIC models are non-wireless, so they can’t use Bluetooth to connect to smartphones. The IIC is too small to have buttons directly on the hearing aid for volume control and switching listening programs, so you can only use the listening program and volume set by your audiologist. The CIC model does have push buttons for controlling these features and comes with tinnitus masking. Both models use a disposable size 10 battery.

Most Affordable Wireless Connectivity: Embrace Hearing C-Series

  • Price: $1,798-$2,798 per pair
  • Battery life: 3–7 days (based on 16-hour day of wear)
  • Battery: Disposable size 10
  • Trial: 45 days
  • Warranty: 3 years

Embrace Hearing is an online hearing aid manufacturer that sells OTC hearing aids. The brand´s invisible C-series hearing aids are the most affordable ones we found that have wireless connectivity for connecting to your smartphone to control volume and switch between listening programs. Embrace Hearing offers an online hearing screening so that your hearing aids come preprogrammed with settings to treat your hearing loss when they arrive. Embrace Hearing also offers unlimited access to its audiologists for hearing aid updates and adjustments.

The C-series comes with two invisible hearing aid options that differ by performance levels, including different numbers of listening programs and processing channels. Hearing aids that have more processing channels have better sound quality. The C-series also has a tinnitus-masking feature and comes with eight different ear tips for limited size and comfort customization.

Consider This When Choosing an Invisible Hearing Aid

Invisible hearing aids have their pros and cons. The more hearing aid technology in a hearing aid, the more space it requires. Technology tradeoffs come with the small size.

  • Limitations in hearing severity the hearing aids treat: Hearing aid receivers, or the speaker that amplifies sound, needs to be larger when treating more severe hearing loss. To fit in the ear canal, invisible hearing aids don’t have room for these larger receivers. This limits them to only treating mild to moderate hearing loss.
  • Bluetooth capabilities: Although some invisible hearing aids do have Bluetooth connectivity that lets them connect to smartphones for volume and sound program control, most don’t have Bluetooth streaming. Bluetooth streaming allows you to stream audio from your TV or phone directly into your hearing aids for better sound quality. Most invisible hearing aids don’t have the space to incorporate streaming technology.
  • Telecoil: A technology that allows your hearing aids to directly stream audio in public venues with a telecoil-compatible sound system, telecoil tends to take up too much space for the majority of invisible hearing aids.
  • Battery type: Most invisible hearing aids have a disposable rather than a rechargeable battery. The Eargo 6 was the only hearing aid we reviewed with a rechargeable battery. This limitation to disposable batteries is also due to invisible hearing aids’ exceptionally small size. Disposable batteries last around one week max when used around 16 hours a day, meaning you can expect to buy new batteries and change them frequently.
  • Volume controls: Unless invisible hearing aids have Bluetooth app connectivity or an ear-tapping feature, you won’t be able to change volume and switch listening programs without a remote, if the brand offers one. For some models, you’ll be limited to the specific program and volume your audiologist sets.

You’ll also need to consider how you prefer to purchase your invisible hearing aids. Invisible hearing aids are available as both prescription and OTC. While OTC hearing aids are less expensive, prescription hearing aids may offer better sound technology for more severe hearing loss, and audiologists can more precisely tailor them to your individual hearing loss.

Invisible hearing aids come in two varieties: custom fit or a generic one size for all. For the best fit, custom-made hearing aids are undoubtedly superior. However, these hearing aids are more expensive than the one-size models. 

For hearing aids made to mold to your ear’s anatomy, you’ll have to purchase a prescription hearing aid, which requires a hearing aid test and consultation with an audiologist. One-size-fits-all hearing aids are usually available for purchase over the counter. They often come with several different shapes and sizes of ear tips, allowing for limited customization to your ear anatomy. OTC hearing aids often also come with a free trial period so you can try them out and return them if you don’t like how they fit and function.

Alternatives to Invisible Hearing Aids

Larger hearing aids may be a better fit if you have more severe hearing loss or want more technological features, like Bluetooth streaming. Some alternatives to invisible hearing aids include behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids. These are your more traditional hearing aids that rest behind the top of the ear. Because they’re larger, they have more room for better sound technology. They come with more discreet options, like the slimmer miniBTE model. For many people who wear this style, the hearing aid hides behind the ear or in their hair.

ITE and ITC models are other alternatives large enough to hold technology that treats more severe hearing loss and streams audio directly into the hearing aids.

Invisible hearing aids are the most discreet hearing aids on the market. They may be the best option for people with mild to moderate hearing loss who are self-conscious about wearing hearing aids. Because of their small size and the need for frequent battery changes, they’re also best for people who have full hand dexterity.

We reviewed invisible hearing aid options that meet different budgets. OTC options are the Eargo 6, Audicus Mini, and Embrace Hearing C-series. Prescription options are Phonak Virto Paradise, Phonak Lyric, Starkey Evolv AI, Signia Silk X and Oticon Own. Eargo, Embrace Hearing, and Signia offer invisible hearing aids with Bluetooth app connectivity. Of the hearing aids we reviewed, only the Starkey Evolv AI offers Bluetooth streaming.

If discreetness is your top priority, invisible hearing aids may be the right style for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Invisible-in-canal (IIC) is the least visible hearing aid. Once placed in the ear canal, the outermost part of the hearing aid, known as the faceplate, can’t be seen by others.

  • Was this Article Helpful ?
  • YesNo

MEDICALLY REVIEWED BY

Dr. Kupfer is an Audiologist and Hearing Aid Specialist in NYC, where she works with adults and older adults daily. In addition to diagnosing hearing loss, tinnitus and fitting cutting-edge hearing aids in her private practice, she serves as adjunct clinical faculty for the CUNY Audiology Doctoral Program.

View Reviewer

Do you want to cite this page? Use our ready-made cite template.

Fact Checked

In order to provide you with the most accurate information related to your health, including medical- and wellness-related products and services, each article is fact checked as part of our strict editorial and research process. This ensures that our content is verifiable and of the highest quality.

Cite This Page

MLA8

Bass Alex. "The 8 Best Invisible Hearing Aids in 2023" AgingInPlace.org. Jan 13, 2023. Web. Jun 12, 2024. <https://aginginplace.org/hearing-aids/invisible/>.

APA7

Bass A. (2023, Jan 13). The 8 Best Invisible Hearing Aids in 2023. AgingInPlace.org. https://aginginplace.org/hearing-aids/invisible/

CHICAGO

Alex Bass, "The 8 Best Invisible Hearing Aids in 2023," last modified: Jan 13, 2023, https://aginginplace.org/hearing-aids/invisible/.