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Nanoplug, the invisible hearing aid that's a lifestyle product

No bigger than an eraser, the Nanoplug is affordable and, its makers claim, half the size of conventional hearing aids.

The Nanopug is certainly nano-sized. Can this invention allow more people to feel comfortable wearing a hearing aid? Nanoplug/Vimeo screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Nevena Zivic has worn hearing aids all her life.

A Serbian geography professor, she believed that there must be a way of creating hearing aids that were smaller and more affordable.

So she hired industrial designer Jongha Lee to create something now known as the Nanoplug. It's the size of a tiny eraser, smaller than some coffee beans. Indeed, its makers claim it's the smallest hearing aid ever invented.

Zivic told me: "Social stigma still hinders people from taking advantage of ordinary hearing aids, but with the Nanoplug, we can say goodbye to bulky, embarrassing, and expensive aids."

She speaks of a hearing aid as a lifestyle choice. She's desperate for those who truly need one to never have to be hindered by the idea that someone will see it. With this design, it is so small that, Zivic says, it doesn't offer a visual eyesore. Once it's inside the ear, it's not visible.

Lee compares the nanobattery inside the Nanoplug to a grain of sand. He claims it lasts a week, with one full charge.

Zivic launched an Indiegogo campaign to see whether her idea might resonate in the outside world. Her goal of $80,000 has already been exceeded. At the time of writing, it stood at almost $129,000. The campaign ends on December 28.

So many people take the holidays for granted. Every aspect seems natural and expected. Those who have hearing difficulties must navigate life in a slightly different way.

If this design can help people not only to hear, but to feel more relaxed about wearing a hearing aid, it will have made a considerable contribution.