The following content contains excerpts from a recently published article on the Wall Street Journal. Access the original article in its entirety at: https://www.wsj.com/articles/hearing-aids-iphone-apps-and-new-tech-mean-more-ways-to-deal-with-hearing-lossbut-same-old-anxiety-11616850000
By: Julie Jargon
March 27, 2021 9:00 am ET
Many people believe wearing a hearing aid is an advertisement for being old.
No one should have to feel self-conscious about needing hearing assistance, but the stigma is real: After first experiencing hearing loss, people take an average of five to seven years to seek help, according to the Hearing Industries Association.
There’s good news. Hearing aids no longer resemble the chunky, screeching devices of the last century. Some are super-expensive, super-tiny in-ear devices you’d never notice, others are “hearables” that look like regular wireless earphones, and there are iPhone apps that work with regular earbuds—no specialized equipment necessary.
A new law is set to make over-the-counter hearing aids available to people without a visit to the audiologist, opening the door for a wider variety of inexpensive products marketed to people with only mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Upstart hearing-health company Nuheara sells its “hearing buds” directly to consumers online and hopes to start selling through retailers when the over-the-counter regulations are finalized. The company said there haven’t been many options for people with mild hearing loss until recently, when technology advances have enabled consumers to customize their own hearing.
Nuheara, based in Perth, Australia, licenses an algorithm from the Australian government’s National Acoustic Laboratories that many audiologists use to calibrate high-end hearing aids. People can use the data to personalize their settings for Nuheara’s IQbuds²MAX.
Nuheara doesn’t bill itself as a hearing-aid alternative for people with severe hearing loss. “A lot of people fit into the mild-to-moderate hearing-loss category, and they’ve been underserved for a long time,” the company’s marketing chief, David Cannington, said. Nuheara customers’ average age is 54, versus around 70 for hearing-aid customers, he said.
“A lot of people fit into the mild-to-moderate hearing-loss category, and they’ve been underserved for a long time”