A series of new smartphone apps help the aurally-impaired hear sounds that never reached them before. The hook up with hearing aids and increase the volume of the devices. And the really good thing is that they allow you to listen to music in the high decibel range as well.
So, all you hard rock and heavy metal fans can cheer along knowing that your prayers have been answered. While millions of Americans suffer from symptoms of hearing loss, only a fraction of them use a hearing aid.
They would definitely benefit from its usage. And with the arrival of smart phone apps that go with hearing aids, the story has taken on a completely different twist.
"People will always need really good hearing aids, but moving forward, what will differentiate competitors will be connectivity (to smartphones), and it will need apps," Lars Viksmoen, chief executive of GN ReSound, a maker of hearing aids based in Denmark, said in a telephone interview.
The three functions that can be manipulated on the device are: Volume, treble and bass. And the wonderful thing about the device is that it has a location memory feature that allows different settings to be activated.
Thus if you have a favorite café you visit daily, you can feed in the right information and the device will preset itself in accordance with the venue.
Similarly, if you go to a noisy place where there are a lot of confusing voices shouting at the same time, you can activate a setting that brings greater clarity to the sounds. It is almost like an intelligent thermostat that adjusts the temperature in synch with your body’s needs. Of course, we are talking about hearing here.
"I think we're going to see an explosion in this area because of baby boomers. They're into technology and they want to be connected," said Laurel Christensen, the company's chief audiology officer.
The device has come of age along with the baby boomers that are in their prime years and facing hearing difficulties. There are a few glitches though. The mistakes made by a novice may hurt hearing instead of aiding it. But that will get resolved as the device is streamlined even further.
GN ReSound is also producing hearing aids, called ReSound LiNX. The cost of this hearing aid is around $6000 for a pair. But it can be used with or without an iPhone.