If you have problems conversing in a noisy environment or prefer the TV volume to be turned up, you might want to look into a new category of equipment known as an enhanced “hearable.”
For persons with only minor hearing loss, there have been few options other than a hearing aid up until recently. “Personal sound amplification devices,” which fit in the ear like a hearing aid, have shown to be the most effective. While they are relatively priced and easy to find online, they have the drawback of amplifying all sounds, including those you don’t want to hear.
Modern hearing aids can tell the difference between a close discussion and the din of a busy room. The technology is costly—in the four figures—and requires audiologist testing and fitting. Furthermore, many individuals associate hearing aids with a negative connotation.
The “hearable” is a smart amplification system that links to a mobile device wirelessly. The hearables were created to allow you to converse on your phone while listening to your favorite podcast. Apple discovered that it was quite straightforward to add an upgrade that adjusts for varied listening settings while developing its very popular “AirPods.” Since then, other companies have released wireless earbuds and better hearing software for Android and iOS (Apple) devices. As a result, there is no stigma. It’s less expensive than a hearing aid. There’s no need to hire an audiologist.
Consider the following features:
• Possibility of emphasizing specific sound frequencies (high pitch or low)
• The ability to reduce or eliminate background noise. (This is sometimes referred to as “directionality,” in which the gadget is designed to focus on sounds coming from the direction you are facing.)
• Ability to make speech stand out over other noises
• Between-recharge intervals. All sound amplifiers require power, which is commonly provided by a rechargeable battery. How long would a fully charged battery last? Also, how long does it take for the battery to recharge?
The downsides are numerous. Because hearing aids are not considered medical equipment, they are not subject to FDA testing or monitoring. They aren’t suitable for people who have moderate to severe hearing loss. They’re only meant to be worn for a few hours, not all day (they need recharging after a few hours). They are clearly visible. When someone sees them in your ears during a discussion, they might assume you’re listening to music or multitasking.
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