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Hearing aid maker sings praises of flexible cable

Jan. 7, 2009
An over-the-counter hearing aid that’s both affordable and comfortable is music to the ears of people with moderate hearing loss.

An over-the-counter hearing aid that’s both affordable and comfortable is music to the ears of people with moderate hearing loss. The Songbird flexfit hearing aid, now being billed as “the world’s first disposable hearing aid,” achieves its affordability with a one-size-fits-all design approach, in contrast to traditional custom-fit hearing devices. The clever design incorporates a miniature flexible flat cable from Cicoil Corp., Valencia, Calif.

The highly flexible cable runs from the hearing aid’s behind-the-ear body to its microspeaker earpiece, which wearers can adjust for length and fit. Cicoil’s silicone-jacketed, high flex flat cable was selected for the Songbird hearing aid because of its unique attributes. With the earpiece being regularly looped from behind the ear to a comfortable placement inside the ear, extreme flexibility was a primary requirement. A two-conductor cable uses finely braided copper wire, with base stranding of just 60 AWG, to create the flexibility needed. Yet, while flexible, the miniature cable is also strong enough to mechanically hold the earpiece, and retains the tensile strength to not break while being pulled by the user to adjust cable length and position the earpiece.

The second important attribute for this application is the cable’s clear silicone jacketing. Soft and supple, silicone is also water and sweat resistant, and is completely inert, making it ideal for use with a hearing aid device in constant contact with human skin and hair. The combination of copper wires, a silicone jacket, and a thin form enable the miniature flex cable to blend naturally with a wide range of skin tones and hair colors. For more information, visit www.cicoil.com.

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