It wasn't long ago that hearing aids were big ugly things that nobody liked to wear – even if the device could provide a big improvement to a person's lifestyle.
But it's amazing what a few years and technological advances can do, and these days, hearing aids are small devices that are comfortable to wear and usually barely noticeable once they're in place. What's more, they offer even better functionality and precise sound enhancement than their clunky predecessors.
So it should come as no surprise to hear that the Intiga – one of the newest products from hearing aid manufacturer Oticon – was named as a finalist in the 2012 iF Product Design Awards.
This Danish design award was first given in 1953 and over the years it has become one of the most prestigious honours for product design and innovation.
Remarking on the recognition, Oticon President Peer Lauritsen said: "When we created Intiga, our goal was to design an innovative hearing solution that would maximize first-time user acceptance and benefits. We knew that in addition to outstanding audiological performance, Intiga’s look and feel would be critical to attracting first time users."
He goes on to explain that the award confirms the company's belief that the Oticon Intiga is a 'discreet' and 'aesthetically appealing' hearing aid that will be an especially good choice for people who are just beginning to use such a device.
So what's so special about the Intiga? Well, for one thing it's the world's smallest and fully wireless hearing solution (compared to other behind-the-ear solutions that incorporate binaural processing and streaming capabilities).
During the product development, Mr Lauristen explained that Oticon "based Intiga’s unique design and premium audiology on end-user insights to ensure that hearing care professionals find it easier than ever before to increase trust, gain first-time user acceptance and prepare people new to hearing solutions for long term positive outcomes."
The main body of the device is just 2.5 cm long. It has a thin, petal-shaped profile and can be provided in a range of colours including various skin tones, as well as fun shades like lilac, blue and pink. Four dome options are available, depending on your preferences.
It is a full-featured RITE hearing instrument and can be used for improving the hearing of people with mild to moderate hearing loss. Three performance levels are available, depending on your requirements.
The iF Design website says of the Oticon Intiga: "It addresses new user’s desire for discreetness, natural sound quality and rapid acclimatization with an exclusive design and unequaled performance."
What's more, "the lightweight shell design houses highly advanced technology perfectly crafted to fit inside… Its shell surface is clean and unbroken; its organic shape follows the physical outline of the ear, achieving a close, comfortable fit – making it almost invisible behind the ear."
If you have difficulty hearing and are considering using a hearing aid, here at Leighton's Hearing we have a number of high-quality products for you to choose from, including the Oticon Intiga.