The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2016, sponsored by Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), would allow certain hearing aids to be sold over the counter and would eliminate the “burdensome requirement” that consumers get a medical evaluation or sign a medical waiver before purchasing OTC hearing aids. The Act would also require the FDA to issue regulations containing safety and labeling requirements for OTC hearing aids and to update its draft guidance on Personal Sound Amplification Products (PSAPs). The senators said they would introduce the legislation when Congress reconvenes before the end of the year. Read more
Hearing Aid technology has evolved tremendously in the last 20 years. I bought my first hearing aids in 1996, and the big hype back then was that they were the first digital hearing aids on the market and that they were CICs (Completely-in-the-Canal). It was a major milestone to not only create a hearing aid that was minature, but also digital. Read more
Over the 23 years that I’ve been a hearing aid wearer, I’ve been described by several of the audiologists I’ve worked with as a “challenging” patient. Hopefully, for the most part, it’s a description that’s offered with a wry smile. I can’t tell you if that’s the case though, since I’m totally blind. Read more
While most audiologists do their best to provide an appropriate hearing aid fitting on day one, the hearing aid fitting itself is typically considered just a starting point. After the hearing aid fitting, hearing aid users are typically scheduled for at least one follow-up visit to check progress, address issues, and make any necessary hearing aid tweaks. The first few visits are typically bundled into the cost of new hearing aids, and are considered essential for anyone wanting to get the most bang for their buck out of their new devices. But all too often buyers forego these free follow-up visits, either due to time constraints or neglect, missing an opportunity to receive important counseling, troubleshooting help, and hearing aid fine-tuning. Some consumers run out of patience with the process completely, with at least 1 out of every 10 having a hearing aid “in the drawer.” Read more
Remember Carl Fredricksen’s constant frustration with his hearing aids in the popular Pixar film Up? Unfortunately, there is some truth to Pixar’s depiction of hearing aids. Hearing aid feedback (loud squealing), excessive noise, and over-amplification can still be a problem. Anyone who has worn hearing aids for more than 5 years can recount numerous embarrassing occasions of older models squeaking in the middle of a dinner party or providing overwhelming amplification of car and wind noise. Read more
With the introduction of its new wireless Jabra Elite Sport earbuds, the GN Group is starting to make good on its promise to cross-fertilize technologies between its headsets and hearing aids.
Touted in this week’s announcement as “the most technically advanced true wireless sports earbuds,” the Elite Sport earbuds feature stereo music, an in-ear heart-rate monitor, fitness analysis software, voice-activated Bluetooth phone calls, and automatic switching to the earbud with the least background noise. Designed for high-intensity workouts, they are impervious to sweat, waterproof for 30 minutes at a depth of three feet (IP67 rated), and work with Jabra’s Sport Life App to provide in-ear fitness-performance reporting (using heart rate and VO2 Max data). Read more
When Oticon announced that its new OpnTM hearing aids would connect users to “the Internet of Things,” a lot of people scratched their heads. Many didn’t yet know exactly what the “IoT” was, much less what it might have to do with hearing aids.
The concept is simple: the Opn hearing aids connect to the internet through an iPhone utilizing the new Oticon ON app. The hearing aids then interact with and trigger other internet-connected devices using the new IFTTT (If This Then That) protocol. Read more
Unitron’s new Moxi Now hearing aid packs a lot of technology, including wireless ear-to-ear sound processing, into a smaller package than ever – about the size of two fat blueberries. The Sonova Group subsidiary says it’s 14% smaller than its closest competitor, making it the world’s smallest wireless receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid. Read more
Consumers are warming up to the idea of using rechargeable hearing aid batteries in place of the disposable zinc-air batteries required by most modern hearing devices. According to a recent Hearing Tracker survey, new rechargeable technologies – that provide longer battery life in smaller packages – are leading many hearing aid consumers to consider making the switch. Read more