Receiver-in-the-ear (RIC) hearing aids can be difficult for some users to insert into their ears. Along with mobility and dexterity limitations, the person’s fingers can slide off the receivers/tube, and the shape of some user’s ear canals can make insertion problematic. Jeffrey Szmanda, a Milwaukee-based hearing aid specialist, thinks he has a simple innovative solution (click for consumer video) for these consumers’ problems.
Szmanda and his company, Each Ear LLC, has teamed up with Warner Tech-Care Products to offer Gruv Buttons™ (patent pending), a small, soft silicon cap designed to fit over the top of any RIC receiver and wire, allowing the hearing aid user to guide the RIC into the ear canal for easier and deeper hearing aid placement. The Gruv Buttons have four slots that form a square around the button’s cap and “grab” onto your fingernail, facilitating insertion of the RIC. They are designed to be retro-fitted to any RIC in about 10-minutes with a drop of adhesive provided by Each Ear, and instructions and a short online video are provided.
Not only should Gruv Buttons help alleviate the frustration some hearing aid users experience when trying to insert the RIC receivers into their ears, but they should also result in more consistently prescribed amplification due to a deeper fit and feedback reduction due to a better seal, says Szmanda.
According to the Hearing Industries Association (HIA), about 58% of all hearing aids sold in 2015 were RIC/RITE style devices, and Szmanda estimates there are currently about 8 million of these devices in use. Thus, the opportunity to retro-fit RICs with a product enhancement can help drive new customers into a practice.
A sample kit for hearing care providers has been developed by Each Ear LLC, as well as a Gruv Button Retrofit Campaign™ to invite hearing aid users who purchased their devices from another outlet but are experiencing trouble when trying to insert their RICs, or are otherwise dissatisfied with the fit and performance of their devices.