This is a guest post by DJ Sweetin.
There is little about modern hearing aids to remind users of the “good old days” – when the devices sat outside the ear and did a fair job of providing enhancement for the hard of hearing. These days, digital technology is at the forefront of hearing aid research, and even greater advances are expected over the next decade in the sound quality and user-friendliness of these devices.
Here are a few technological advances currently being studied to improve hearing aids and make them even more functional for users.
Digital Signal Processing (or DSP).
The first DSP hearing aids appeared in 1996; by 2003, over 90 percent of hearing aids used this technology. Once DSP caught on, it was only a matter of time before digital wireless would be implemented as opposed to the popular analog mechanisms. Digital wireless is already making great inroads by using the popular Bluetooth® platform. Soon, hearing aids will be as integrated and as easy-to-use as your Bluetooth® headset, leading to speculation that younger consumers may consider using them far earlier than their grandparents did.
Integration between DSP Systems and Voice or Text.
It is not inconceivable that cell phone and hearing aid will soon marry in some form of integrated hearing system that allows users to add voice and data plans just as they do to a cell phone. The hearing aids will be linked to devices that allow the hard-of-hearing to text or call directly from their hearing aids. The joke about having teenagers’ cell phones “implanted” in their heads may soon become reality!
Outside Apps will Become More Sophisticated.
As the Baby Boomer generation ages and more people begin to use hearing aids, the market for apps including hearing aid testing through your cell phone and remote controls will continue to grow. Downloading apps is already simple, so hearing-aid-friendly apps have nothing to do but flood the market and are almost assured of success with both younger and older consumers.
Hearing Aids will become More Aesthetically Pleasing.
There are already hearing aid designs that are being unveiled which disguise unsightly implants as jewelry. The market for this type of visually-appealing hearing aid will certainly grow as younger people begin to embrace the embedded hearing aid design that will be available in talk/text devices. As the devices become smaller and more adept at picking up sounds, the inside-the-ear model may give way to an outside-the-ear model disguised to look like earrings or other accessories.
Hearing Aids will become Cheaper.
As technology advances, it inevitably becomes less expensive as companies compete to get their version on the market. Just as digital recorders, VCRs and big-screen television sets plummeted in price once the technology had been perfected, so will new advances in hearing aids become more affordable. Currently, hearing aids cost about $2,000; in a few years, hearing aids that are much more technologically advanced may be half or a quarter of that price.
If you are considering a hearing aid, remember that audio technology is on the cusp of great progress. In a few years, you will be able to enjoy the technology that seems like science fiction today, and probably at a reasonable price!
Author Bio: This article was written by DJ Sweetin for the team at allegromedical.com.