Approximately 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, and many of them turn to various types of hearing aid (Hearing Loss Association of America). The first hearing aids were invented in 1898 and with access to new technology, researchers and developers have been able to develop much more sophisticated hearing aids. These next-gen hearing aids also do more than just amplify sounds.
According to Iconoculture, “hearables” are modern hearing aids, first introduced to consumers in 2015, that connect to your smartphone. AI-enhanced devices like the Oticon Opn link up with smart-home networks to do a variety of things such as switching on lights and starting coffee in the morning. Although hearables have many unique functions, the primary use is still for amplifying sounds in the ear. BOSE Hearphones help people hear and converse in crowded areas like shops and restaurants. BOSE is also introducing noise-masking sleep buds.
Fortunately for many consumers, the cost of hearing-related medical care is becoming more affordable. The Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act 0f 2017 enables adults with mild to severe hearing loss to buy cheaper hearing aids without needing to see a specialist. Next-gen hearable devices have also been assigned to a new category under the act. This new technology and act provide consumers with more affordable options to retain their hearing and improve their lives.