I stumbled across an article on Forbes published yesterday highlighting a new hearing aid product that is adjustable via the iPhone. Check out the excerpt below as an example of how the new gadget will work:
“Picture this: Your favorite restaurant is crowded and noisy. The couple at the next table is trying in vain to get two toddlers to use their indoor voices. It should be all but impossible to hear the conversation at your own dinner table. Fortunately, your hearing aids and iPhone are working together to put a stop to such distractions. Tap a few buttons on your iPhone, and your hearing aids instantly adjust to block out ambient noise and help you focus. The next time you come back to that same restraint, it’s noisy again. The GPS function in your phone knows where you are – and tells the hearing aids to adjust accordingly – without your lifting a finger. Again, as before you are able to focus on the conversation at hand, instead of the chaos that surrounds you.”
Am I surprised this technology exists and is readily available on the market? No, this product isn’t surprising and it has a rather timely arrival as we see an increase in boomers adopting technology. Am I surprised this product is marketed and positioned only to boomers? Yes. It’s estimated that about 5% of the entire global population have a disabling hearing loss, not just boomers. Also, with the popularity of headphones, loud concerts and music festivals it is widely predicted that the millennial generation will lose hearing earlier than generations before. I expect to see products similar to Beltone First aimed toward a younger generation, to enhance early onset hearing problems. Furthermore, I expect to see new products for those who don’t have loss of hearing, but would like tone out other noise. A product similar to Beltone First marketed as a solution for how we hear, depending on our location, without the look or feel of bulky headphones sounds pretty good to me (especially for business travel). I guess we’ll just have to keep our eye on this trend, but I think there is great potential for expansion on a product like this.