The temperature and humidity levels in our ear canals can be problematic, often creating an environment for bad bacteria as well as an undesirable environment for hearing instruments. Since we do not have the ability to control these humidity levels in our ears, anything placed into our ears needs to be able to withstand these conditions.
Each time a hearing instrument is placed inside the ear, it becomes subjected to the extreme living conditions that we experience on a regular basis. Hearing instruments must also be able to withstand other debris found naturally within the ear, such as cerumen, or ear wax.
The overall consumer opinion is that hearing instruments are unreliable. This issue of unreliability is understandable. A repair that cannot be taken care of by a trip to the clinician in the office could mean that the user must wait several days to a week for the instrument to be repaired. Depending on the severity of the issue, if out of warranty, the cost of a typical repair may be $100 or more.
Some damages that could happen to hearing instruments include the following:
- Moisture and condensation on surfaces, such as battery springs, can lead to issues including short circuiting, leakage currents, formation of corrosion, and migration of conductive material.
- Perspiration contains salts, and worsens the issues caused by moisture.
- Leakage of the alkaline electrolyte from the battery caused by moisture.
- Cerument blocks openings in the device and adheres to surfaces, which over time could lead to discoloration.
- Deposits of oil and debris from handling the hearing instruments can clog openings as well. In addition, perfumes and hair products can cause blockages/breakdown of components.
iSolate™ technology addresses some of these particular issues through sealing and coating of individual components. Silicone sealants are applied to tranducers, user controls, and the integrated circuit minimize the damaging effects of moisture while metal coating of conductive surfaces (like battery springs) helps hinder corrosion. Such protection inevitably leaves some areas of the hearing instrument vulnerable. As an extension to iSolate™ technology, iSolate™ nanotech completely engulfs every inner and outer surface of the hearing instrument with a polymer protective coating, which is actually 1,000 times thinner than a human hair.
ReSound has subjected the iSolate™ nanotech hearing aids to a series of Accelerated Stress Tests (AST) in order to provoke damage and malfunctions. These tests expose the hearing aids to extremely strenuous treatment.
iSolate™ nanotech changes the surface properties of all parts of the hearing instruments to be extremely liquid repellent, therefore any liquid that comes into contact with the surface that has been treated by the iSolate™ nanotech will form a bead and roll off. Hearing instruments that were protected with iSolate™ nanotech showed no visible signs of damage at all after being put through environmental testing.
iSolate™ nanotech represents a significant step in improving user satisfaction with hearing instruments.
iSolate™ nanotech is found in ReSound Live and dot2 by ReSound.