Technology

Some things never change…and some do!

No more crossing your fingers hoping for IICs while you drop the hearing aid order in the mail– now you’ll know before you even take ear impressions!

Figure A: Original Virto B-Titanium modeling. The device was so large (ITC), we were not physically able to 3D print the shell- it was outside of the machine tolerances.

For those of you working in the clinical setting wondering what it might be like to work on the manufacturing side of things- let me tell you, there are some things that never change.

For example, the dreaded ‘small ears’ scenario. When I worked in the clinic, patients with ITC or CICs came in asking if anyone can “make the ones that will disappear in my ears yet?” Time and time again I had to tell them, “Your ear canals are just too tiny. A RIC is your best shot at something discreet.” Is it just me, or is it always the people with microscopic ear canals that demand IICs?

Figure B: New Virto B-Titaniums with Titanium FitGuide- a whopping 4 mm deeper and IICs at last.
These days, I find myself on the ITE team at Phonak Headquarters in Stäfa, Switzerland- but the ‘small ears’ problem hasn’t gone away. When Bettina Turnbull, the Director of Audiology and Education for Asia-Pacific, came to my desk and said, “You know, they tried to make me a set of Virto B-Titaniums when they first came out, but they said my ears were too small.” Yep.

 

IICs not impossible after all

Bettina asked, “Think I can have them now that we have the Titanium FitGuide (TFG)?” I broke out in a cold sweat. “Try a RIC” wasn’t a cop-out I could use this time. Since we had these recent impressions on file, I collected her Titanium FitGuide values. I kept my fingers (and toes) crossed for a better outcome this time. As I inserted the TFG into her ear,    I was not disappointed. The TFG reached IIC depth just past the first bend! Relieved that we could finally achieve IICs,   I sent these values for new Virto B-Titanium production.

The fitting went well too! Bettina’s devices fit comfortably, had robust feedback measurements and sounded great! I couldn’t believe my eyes!

The result: Bettina with her new IICs.

Bettina said, “How good is that?! Can’t see anything!! I didn’t think I’d ever be a candidate for IICs, though I thought CICs might be possible – but was disappointed when rejected for Titanium.

The new TFG proved that IICs are a possibility, even for my ‘size-challenged’ canals. So a shout out to my colleagues in the field: get your ‘rejected’ customers back and try again with the TFG, it’s definitely worth a try!”

While a day in the life at Phonak HQ can look similar to a day from my previous life as an HCP- luckily, some things do change! Enjoy your IICs, Bettina!

For more information on the Titanium FitGuide, please visit PhonakPro.

The video below further demonstrates its use, however please review additional training materials at www.phonakpro.com prior to your first use of the Titanium FitGuide.

 

ITC = in-the-canal
CIC = completely-in-canal
RIC = receiver-in-canal
 IIC = invisible-in-canal

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