Hearable devices include products that enhance streaming media entertainment, enable hands-free phone and video conference calls, cancel external noise, and assist with hearing loss. We’ve written recently about Phonak’s Audeo Paradise AI-assisted hearing aids that self-adjust as you move about your day. We covered Nuheara’s third-generation IQBoost Max hearables with active noise cancellation. We also shared our experience with Wear and Hear’s BeHear Access shawl form-factor hearables.

Whether you think they look cool, geeky, or odd, people can see them when you wear the three hearables above. Of the three, Phonak’s Audeo Paradise hearing aids are the least visible with their tiny behind-the-ear module and thin clear tube that inserts into the ear canal, but they are still visible.

Audicus recently introduced The Aura invisible hearing aids. The tiny devices that fit in the ear canal aren’t really invisible, because if you put them on a table or hold them in your hand you and everyone else can see them. However, when you insert the Aura in your ear, anyone else would have to get very close indeed to peer into your ear and maybe see them. Another unexpected advantage of the inside-the-canal form factor is you won’t dislodge the Aura when putting on or taking off pandemic-related protective face masks. I wear glasses and when I also use hearables that have parts outside the ear, I find I have to be extra careful, especially when I remove the mask. I once removed a mask carefully and still somehow pulled a $2000+ hearing aid totally off my ear and sent it flying. If nothing sticks out of your ear, nothing can get caught on a mask ear loop.

Like Nuheara and Wear and Hear hearables, Audicus has a self-administered online hearing test. After you take the test online, Audicus programs your hearing aids. If you have an independent hearing test you can send that in as well for the programming step. In addition, the company offers free reprogramming as long as you own the devices. Unlike every other hearable we’ve looked at, the Aura does not have an associated smartphone app that you can use to configure the device or monitor battery status.

The Aura aids use a hypoallergenic dome to hold the device in the ear canal and an earwax guard under the dome. Three dome sizes come with The Aura so that you can select the size that is most comfortable and seals the audio canal for best listening quality. A tiny flexible antenna-like drawstring protrudes a bit from the device (but not outside your ear) so you can remove the hearing aid. The Aura is rated for up to 105 hours of operation with one replaceable number 10 Zinc-air battery per ear.

Audicus offers The Aura hearing aids for sale for $699 per ear or on a membership basis for $49 per month per ear. The Audicus Care Subscription ships replacement batteries, domes, ear wax guards, and tools and supplies to maintain the hearing aids for a $12 monthly fee.

I haven’t tried invisible hearing aids, but I look forward to the opportunity. I hope we can all stop wearing masks in the foreseeable future, but if not, hearing aids with no external parts are doubly appealing.