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Change comes to hearing aid market due to big box stores, Internet sales and technological advances

Times Free Press, Chattanooga, TN
by Tim Omarzu
December 27th, 2015

Change is the new normal for the U.S. hearing aid industry.

The majority of hearing aids are still sold at brick-and-mortar stores by independent hearing aid dispensers and audiologists, and by large hearing aid chains and franchises.

Hamilton County is home to nine hearing instrument specialists and 19 audiologists with active licenses, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. Neighboring counties in Tennessee have 10 audiologists and five hearing instrument specialists.

But big box retailers, Internet sales and technological advances are making inroads in the industry.

Local audiology businesses say they provide personalized service and help those with hearing problems find the right equipment. Although consumers can buy cheaper hearing aids online, hearing aid providers say, they may not be the right type or fitted properly without some expert advice. Hearing tests also can uncover medical conditions that cause hearing loss, they say, from ear wax build-up to serious problems.

Read More  . . . Internet sales and technological advances



Date: Thursday, September 10th, 2015
Time: 12:30—1:30 pm
Location: Lewinsville Senior Center
                  1609 Great Falls Street
                  McLean, VA 22101

For information: 703-442-9075

Thinking about getting hearing aids or know someone who is? Join Bonnie O’Leary from the Northern Virginia Resource Center (NVRC) who will present a program about hearing aids from the consumer/wearer’s perspective. Her presentation will include a discussion about the impact of hearing loss on communication, the hearing evaluation, the differences between an audiologist and a hearing instrument specialist, types and styles of hearing aids, and how they can be used with other assistive listening devices.

Bonnie is a late-deafened adult who has been wearing hearing aids for 20 years. She is a Certified Hearing Loss Support Specialist and Outreach Manager for NVRC.

NVRC is a grant-funded, non-profit organization whose mission is “to empower deaf and hard of hearing individuals and their families through education, advocacy and community involvement.” Our programs are free and for information only; there are no sales involved.

DOWNLOAD - September_2015_HA_program Flyer



Maveron-backed Eargo looks to reinvent the hearing aid with rechargeable devices modeled on a fishing fly

Geek Wire

Eargo, a Maveron-backed hearing-aid company that’s operated secretly for the past three years, today is launching a new line of hearing devices designed for the tens of millions of Americans that suffer from mild hearing loss.

The hearing devices, which include a patented Flexi Fiber technology and are modeled on a fishing fly, are nearly invisible when placed in the ear canal. They also are designed to provide users with more comfort and a better fit to the ear.

The Silicon Valley company started in 2010 and raised a small seed investment from Seattle-based Maveron in 2013. Since then, the company has raised $13.6 million from Maveron, Dolby Family Ventures, Crosslink Capital, Birchmere Ventures, Montage Ventures, Peterson Ventures, Red Sea Ventures and others.

Read More . . . fishing fly




mUmBRELLA (Australia)
June 19th, 2015 
by Miranda Ward

The Ad Standards Board has banned a controversial Victorian Hearing campaign which described hearing aids as “ugly” along with an image in which the hearing device was replaced with a prawn.Victorian-Hearing-234x333

Victorian Hearing apologised for the campaign at the end of last month after people took to the page’s Facebook page to express their anger, with one poster saying: “I don’t really love my hearing aids, but I accept that with the severity of my hearing loss, I’m stuck with them. To see them referred to as ugly though — that’s just really unhelpful.”

The ad, which was running online, on social media and across transport, was removed following the apology.

Complaints against the ad argued it was “utterly offensive” to use the word ugly to describe hearing aids.

“The visual image of a prawn plays into stigmatisation of a group that may have no option to but to wear hearing aids. It is not ok to mock someone’s disability or encourage the general community to perpetuate the myth that hearing aids somehow make you ugly,” a complaint read.


Read More . . . Hearing Aid Ad



Posted by:  APA
May 28, 2015

Deaftronics, a Botswana -owned company has developed the first solar-powered hearing aid, Yarona FM radio station reported here Thursday.
Speaking to Yarona FM, the co-founder Tendekayi Katsiga said the hearing aid which is called Solar Ear has a solar-powered battery charger meant to improve the lives of those with hearing loss in the developing world.

Katsiga said the company, which is a client of the Botswana Innovation Hub’s technology entrepreneurship development programme, is helping train a workforce of hearing-impaired people across three continents to assemble and distribute the device.

"The company came up with the device after they realised that the devices used in Africa only last for a month due to the fact that the batteries would die and they are not available in Africa"

Read More . . . solar-powered




SCOTTISH scientists are to create the first hearing aid that can read lips.

The gadget will use a tiny camera to identify the patterns of a speaker’s lip movements.

Cutting edge software will then translate the patterns into speech to be played in the wearer’s ear instantaneously.

The camera could be hidden discreetly in the earpiece itself or even in a pair of glasses or a piece of jewellery.

The camera will beam the words directly to the earpiece using wireless technology, switching between lip-reading and hearing modes depending on the acoustic environment.

Professor Amir Hussain from the University of Stirlingshire is leading the project, which is supported by Sheffield University, the Scottish section of the MRC Institute of Hearing Research at Glasgow Royal Infirmary and a number of manufacturers.

Read more  . . . Lip Reading Hearing Aid


ADDING MULTIMEDIA ReSound® Develops First Hearing Aid App for Apple Watch

Business Wire
April 15, 2015

COPENHAGEN, Denmark--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, ReSound introduced the first hearing aid app designed specifically for Apple Watch. Available immediately to Apple Watch wearers, the ReSound Smart™ app for Apple Watch offers a new, streamlined user experience, allowing users to take advantage of seamless, on-the-go control, right from their wrist. The ReSound Smart app for Apple Watch marks the latest of the company’s efforts to bring forward-looking solutions and greater levels of empowerment to people seeking to take control over their hearing loss.

Through the ReSound Smart app for Apple Watch, users have access to the same level of intuitive Smart Hearing personalization they have come to expect from ReSound, putting the app’s most-used features directly on their wrist. Through the app, users can:

  • Set preferred volume levels
  • Adjust treble and bass settings
  • Change audio profiles as they move though different sound environments
  • View at-a-glance details about their hearing aids, including the sound profile in use

Read more  . . . Hearing Aid App for Apple Watch





NEW YORKApril 13, 2015 /
PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Advanced Style and Audicus ( have partnered to design a collection of limited edition fashionable hearing aids in vivid patterns. This collaboration furthers Audicus' mission of destigmatizing hearing aids and Advanced Style's mission to showcase a creative and vital image of aging.

The Advanced Style x Audicus collection includes leopard, pink glitter, silver hologram and black-and-white polka dot hearing aids. These designs transform traditional hearing aids into fashionable accessories.

"We're excited for this collaboration with Advanced Style, as it highlights our commitment to innovation when it comes to hearing aids," said Patrick Freuler, founder and CEO of Audicus. "We hope to appeal to sophisticated and style-conscious people who would like to hear better."

Read more  . . . Advanced Style

Electrical engineer to build more efficient integrated circuits for better hearing aids

Herb Booth
March 31st, 2015

A University of Texas at Arlington electrical engineering researcher is developing a more efficient, low-power integrated circuit for directional hearing aids that will lead to a better quality of life for hearing impaired people.

Sungyong Jung, an associate professor of electrical engineering, received a two-year, $144,000 grant from the Korean Electrotechnology Research Institute to build an integrated circuit for a tiny microphone that would mimic the auditory system of a Ornia ochracea – a parasitic fly known for its exceptionally miniscule ear.

The work holds promise for a growing population of people around the world with hearing problems, said Khosrow Behbehani, dean of the UT Arlington College of Engineering, said.

"Dr. Jung's research is a wonderful example of how UT Arlington engineering faculty and their students are developing solutions that address critical issues in the area of health and the human condition," Behbehani said. "A very important element in design of implants aimed at improving hearing is miniaturization. Minimizing the size while maintaining the highest level of function is a highly rewarding challenge that Dr. Jung is undertaking."

Read entire article . . . UofTX



My guest writer this week is David Drake, the founder and headmaster of the White Oak School in Westfield, Massachusetts, a school serving bright students with dyslexia and related learning disabilities. He lives with his family in Northampton.

by David Drake

I’m pretty sure I come from a line of serial hearing-aid abusers.

My grandfather’s hearing aids were fascinating to me as a young boy.  Somehow the electronics fit inside the temples of his thick, black glasses, with a tube extending downward, terminating in a mysterious piece of plastic that I was told was an “ear mold.”

Now, when you’re very young, and you’re already put off by the bristly ears of adults, the term “ear mold” has a disturbing connotation. So I quickly put the glasses down, although I continued to examine them.  They looked like a piece of Cold-War spyware, a combination of James Bond and Clark Kent, which were now inexplicably and permanently relegated to my grandfather’s bedside table.

He didn’t use them, of course.  He didn’t use any hearing aid terribly well. You had to shout around Grandpa.  And Grandma, who had also became deaf. And frankly, you had to shout around Mom, too—his daughter who inherited his deafness when she was in her thirties.

Thanksgivings and Christmases were especially memorable due to this family trait, because in addition to the misunderstandings and the yelling,   ....

Read entire article  -  Family (Hearing Aid) Tradition




Slash Gear
Dec 12, 2014

If you have ever known anyone that had to wear a hearing aid, you probably remember them as bulky beige devicesthat protrude obviously from the ear. A new hearing aid has been unveiled that claims to be the world's smallest. In fact the Nanoplug is so small its makers claim that it is invisible once inside the ear.

Nanoplug is an instant fit hearing aid that works for people with mild to moderate hearing loss. It measures in at 7.1mm x 5.7mm x 4.17mm making it smaller than a typical coffee bean or peanut. In addition to helping people hear conversations, the Nanoplug is also suitable for use with mobile phones.

Read More  . . .


02/05/2015 - Backers claim Nanoplug hearing aid’s $293K Indiegogo campaign was a scam


Tech Cocktail
 -  for the Munich Edition

When they started their Indiegogo campaign back in November, Nanoplug reached over $25,000 of their $80,000 goal before the first week was even over. Today, with 21 days left on the campaign clock, Nanoplug officially announced that they have surpassed their funding goal on Indiegogo.

“We have spent thousands of hours developing Nanoplug for those millions around the world with hearing impairments,” says Nevena Zivic, founder of Nanoplug. “We have hit our funding goal of $80,000 with over 300 backers who are suffering from hearing loss.”

The attraction to fund the Nanoplug is due to the fact that it’s a new age hearing aid that offers all the benefits for a hearing-impaired individual but with none of the social stigma attached. That is, it’s nearly invisible in the ear, user programmable, and offers new age sound quality without the outdated look of our grandparents’ hearing aids.

“I envisioned a world where hearing aids didn’t have to be medical devices but instead could be a lifestyle product or accessory, where people with hearing issues didn’t stick out,” says Zivic. “Social stigma still hinders people from taking advantage of ordinary hearing aids, but with the Nanoplug, we could say goodbye to them.”Article link

 Original Article 


02/05/2015 - Backers claim Nanoplug hearing aid’s $293K Indiegogo campaign was a scam



Click Orlando
Author:  Eryka Washington
Consumer Reporter
Oct 23 2014

Local family receives $3K hearing aid for daughter with grant

ORLANDO, Fla. - Eleven-year-old Adelyn Brault loves playing with her dog and now she can hear him coming from a distance-- but that wasn't always the case.

In kindergarten, doctors noticed Adelyn suffered from hearing loss. By third grade her mother, Jacquelyn, says it had gotten much worse.

"Her doctor felt it was time for the hearing aids to help her as well as in school," Jacquelyn said.

Adelyn says before the hearing aid, it was tough to concentrate in school.

"Yeah, because I couldn't hear the teacher, because if two people are talking at the same time I can't tell which voice it is," she said.

The hearing aid cost $3,000 and Jacquelyn’s insurance didn't cover it.

Jacquelyn says she was desperate.

"It's a lot of money to come up with in a short amount of time; they wanted half up front to even start making them," Jacquelyn said. "Honestly I was like I don't care what i have to do I have to get this money."

Out of desperation, Jacquelyn googled “hearing impaired” and saw a link to grants and found United Healthcare Children’s Foundation. They were one of few organizations who help families with insurance.

"We recognized a need in what we do of families with children who have commercial health insurance that may still have needs," Glenn Baker of United Healthcare said.

In order to receive the grant, you must be 16 years of age or younger, live in U.S., have commercial insurance and meet income criteria.

Since 2007, 7,500 people have received the grant totaling $23 million, 750 of those grantees are in Florida.

In Orlando, more than 160 families have received grants.

Read more . . .

Learn more about the program]



October 13, 2014 - UK

The hearing aid for SPIES: Clip-on amplifier eavesdrops on conversations and even translates foreign languages in real time

Think how much easier life would be if, in a crowded and noisy bar, you could tune in to what your friend is saying on the other side of a room and block out all other conversations.

This is what one designer is suggesting might be possible in just a year or two – and it could come in especially handy for spies operating in crowded public places. Mark Rolston of Argodesign, California, thinks we will one day be able to wear devices that give us ‘superpowers’ such as ultra-directional hearing, incredible motor skills and anonymity when we want it. He came up with a concept called LaLaLa, which looks like a futuristic hearing aid.  ‘LaLaLa would allow you to hear life as you intend it, though selective hearing, sound filtering, voice modification and more,’ Renae Alsobrook, operations manager at the firm told MailOnline.

Read more:






American ecologist and hearing specialistCaitlin O'Connell-Rodwell is developing a new hearing aid inspired by elephants. Along with sound, elephants pick up ground-based vibrations, as the skin of their feet and trunks contains mechanoreceptors that can sense them.

"We [humans] have the same ability to detect vibrations, but people with normal hearing don't focus on it," says O'Connell-Rodwell.

She has partnered with HNU Photonics, a research company based on Maui, Hawaii, to develop a patch that adheres to the skin; this transduces sound into vibrations, which the brain interprets as a kind of Braille or Morse code. When participants touch the device, tiny electromagnets vibrate. Mechanoreceptors sense the vibrations, and send signals to the brain.

It turns out that the vibrotactile sense of the hearing-impaired is more pronounced than that of people with normal hearing, because their brains process the stimuli in the unused auditory cortex. "There's a big population that is underserved… and could benefit from the same use of vibrations as elephants."