The 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.
In 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 thin 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 tube/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.
Vanish 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 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.
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.