My mother suffered from chronic ear infections for much of her adult life and her hearing has been deteriorating since in her 40s. She’s been wearing hearing aids for the last 10 years and has spent thousands of dollars on high end hearing aids, and let me tell you. They all suck. She can’t never them to sound just right, they make high pitched noises, and the tiny battery change. But she wears them, she needs them, without them, it would be hard to engage in conversation with her.
Millions of Americans are affected by hearing loss, and yet only 15% of the people who need them wear them. This is partly due to the fact that wearing hearing aids is associated with “being old,” but largely due to their high price and no medicare or insurance coverage. The price can range from $2500 to $6000, and the market is dominated by six major hearing aids manufacturers. They are considered medical equipments and because of that, the companies need to adhere to certain FDA rules and regulations. In order for a device to be called “hearing aid” it needs to satisfy all the FDA requirements. Because of that, there is a thriving market for what is called Personal Hearing Amplifier; devices that help hear better, they just cannot be called hearing aids.
President Trump signed over the counter hearing aid legislation into law in 2017, and hearing aid industry will be deregulated. This will make it easier for companies to get into hearing aid market. The rumor is that tech companies like Apple and Google are going to be getting into the market. The headphone manufacturer Bose has reportedly spent $50,000 in lobbying for this law. Personally, I can’t wait for the tech giants and Bose get into the hearing aid game. Bose currently has a product called Bose Hearphone, and let me tell you, my mother absolutely loves it more than her $6000 hearing aids. Did you also know, the apple earpods can be turned into a sort of a hearing aids as well? I have a high hopes for these tech companies to improve the current hearing aids. It’s long overdue.
Let me not forget to mention, there is an Israeli company called Noveto who wants to deliver sounds directly to ears without any headphones or hardwares. I am certain, this type of technology will have an application for hearing impaired as well.
If you have good hearing, remember to protect it by avoid loud noise with earplugs. I always carry some in my car and my purse and have them readily available. Because no hearing aids technology will beat God given nature hearing and just like anything else in life, if you don’t protect and take care of, you end up losing it.