Vanish: Hide Your Patient’s Hearing Aids – guest post by Robert M. Traynor

stigmaThe Problem: About 4 years ago, a hearing aid consumer came to me with a problem. Al Musser was using a very nice set of relatively new, high-end receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing instruments but remained concerned that the receiver wire covers were too obvious in his ear. To the audiologist, his RIC fitting was perceived as a very cosmetic solution; to Al, the RIC fitting remained stigmatizing. Stigma has been defined as “the possession of, or belief that one possesses, some attribute or characteristic that conveys a social identity that is devalued in a particular social context” (Crocker, Major, & Steele, 1998). The National Institutes of Health (2014) recently concluded that stigma remains pervasive with hearing aid use. The hearing industry has responded to this issue with smaller, more cosmetically appealing open-fit hearing instruments that have eliminated the need for occluding earmolds.  Despite these advancements, some hearing-aid-wearing patients continue to be self-conscious of their instruments.

VANISH-otpIn response to his experience, Al envisioned a solution whereby the receiver wire covers could blend better with the color of his skin. Over the past several years, he traveled to various dye laboratories and plastics companies to learn more about the composition of plastic tube and receiver wire covers.  From that experience, he formulated a patent-pending dye process that makes thin tubes and receiver wire covers (RWC) less reflective, effectively blending with the color of the hearing instrument user’s own skin. This simple method of dyeing vanish logothin tubes and receiver wire covers is now commercially available as Vanish, a new innovative product recognized at the 2014 AudiologyNOW! Convention as winner of the New Product Showcase by the American Academy of Audiology. So, how does this new product work?

The Process:  The Vanish process is quick and simple and can be completed in a few easy steps. Prior to dyeing the tube or RWC, determine the patient’s customized vanish-color pickingtube/RWC dyeing color by matching the color of the patient’s skin using the color selection chart. Select the appropriate color by holding the chart at the level of the ear in natural daylight. Each color choice is associated with a specific dying-process time. Care must be exercised to ensure the thin tube/RWC is exposed to the Vanish dye for the precise amount of time to ensure the desired color is achieved. Once the best color choice has been selected, click Hide Hearing Aids with Vanish to view a video demonstrating the process.

colors

Vanish is available exclusively at Oaktree Products, Inc.  The binaural kit includes everything needed to dye two thin tubes or RWC including the reusable dyeing tray, dye, and scuffing pad and is available in either Light/Medium (Item# VAN-1-LIGHT) or Dark (Item# VAN-1-DARK).  Replenish your supply with Vanish refill kits which come packaged with dye and scuffing pad only.  The 10-binaural-refill kit (dyes 20 tubes/RWC) is available in either Light/Medium (Item# VAN-10-LIGHT) and/or Dark (Item# VAN-10-DARK) and the 20-binaural-refill (dyes 40 tubes/RWC) is also available in either Light/Medium (Item# VAN-20-LIGHT) and/or Dark (Item# VAN-20-DARK). The refills do NOT come with a reusable dyeing tray.

Add value to your clinical practice by customizing your patient’s behind-the-ear hearing aids with Vanish.  The process is fast, easy, and inexpensive. To order Vanish for your clinical practice, contact Oaktree Products, Inc. toll-free at 800.347.1960 and ask for customer service. You can also order online at www.oaktreeproducts.com.

robert Traynor imageRobert M. Traynor, Ed.D., MBA is the CEO and practicing ABA certified audiologist at Audiology Associates of Greeley, Inc., Greeley, Colorado with a clinical emphasis in amplification and operative monitoring. Dr. Traynor holds degrees from the University of Northern Colorado (BA, 1972, MA 1973, Ed.D., 1975), the University of Phoenix (MBA, 2006) as well as Post Doctoral Study at Northwestern University (1984). He taught Audiology at the University of Northern Colorado (1973-1982), University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (1976-77) and Colorado State University (1982-1993). He was Senior International Audiology Consultant to a major hearing instrument manufacturer for 17 years serving on research and development committees and traveling all over the world providing academic audiological and product orientation for distributors and staff. Dr. Traynor is also a retired Lt. Colonel from the US Army Reserve Medical Service Corps and currently serves as an Adjunct Professor of Audiology at the University of Florida, the University of Colorado, and the University of Northern Colorado. He serves as an audiology consultant to Harmony Products, makers of Vanish. A clinician and practice manager for over 35+ years, Dr. Traynor has lectured on most aspects of the field of Audiology in over 40 countries. Dr. Traynor is the co-author of Strategic Practice Management a text used in most universities to train audiologists in practice management, now in its second edition.

References:

Crocker, J., Major, B., & Steele, C. (1998). Social stigma. In D. T. Gilbert, S. T. Fiske & G. Lindzey (Eds.), The handbook of social psychology, Vol 2 (4th ed.), (pp. 504–553).  New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

National Institutes of Health (2014).  Department of Health and Human Services, Research Portfolio. http://report.nih.gov/nihfactsheets/viewfactsheet.aspx?csid=95. Accessed February 14, 2014.

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5 Responses to Vanish: Hide Your Patient’s Hearing Aids – guest post by Robert M. Traynor

  1. Some of the men I know take great pride in showing off their new technology to each other.

  2. aubankaitis says:

    Darroch, I think that is great. I know when I dispensed many years back, a few patients expressed concern about visibility….to me, missing out on conversations or difficulty hearing things because someone decides they would rather not wear hearing aids calls way more attention to the issue. This product is new and I think of interest to a percentage of consumers who either wear or are in the process of pursuing hearing aids.

  3. Dan Schwartz says:

    Since this dye works on the polyethylene (polyolefin) thin tubes, does it work equally well on conventional #13 PVC and rubberized “Dri-Tube?”

    Also, will bright colors also be available, to match bright BTE cases and earmolds? As it is now, colored #13 tubing is only available in conventional PVC, and not Dri-Tube, which is a pain (espeially for kids) as I only use Dri-Tube.

  4. Al Musser says:

    Hi Dan,
    Thanks for your interest in our new product and raising a good question. Just about all hearing aid tubes are made of polyamide which is a form of silicone plastic. Our dyes have been custom designed to do two things (1) penetrate polyamide which is very difficult to do, and, (2) produce a specific color using a clear tube with a specific immersion time. Our dye will color almost any form of plastic derived from silicone but in the case of #13 tubing and Dri-Tube you are starting with a tube that already has some color which means that the results will be unpredictable. If you are trying to achieve a particular color let me know and I’ll have our lab see what they can come up with.

    Will bright colors be available? Right now, we are putting every thing we have into making sure customers get the attention and service they deserve. Designer colors might be a step or two (or three) down the road.

    Let me know if we can help.

    Al Musser for Vanish

    • Dan Schwartz says:

      Al,

      First off, thank you for taking the time and effort to design a new product for the hearing aid market, as any efforts to broaden acceptance are greatly appreciated, especially for cosmetic-conscious first-time users.

      Also, thank you for correcting me on the polymer (polyamide vs polyolefin) used in today’s thin tubes.

      Please note that, although a small fraction of #13 tubing comes in colors in plasticized PVC and (very little) in vinyl polysiloxane (Dri-Tube), the bulk of it is, in fact, clear, without any dye or pigment colorant.

      Dan Schwartz,
      Editor, The Hearing Blog
      Add me on Facebook

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