MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Many people with hearing loss avoid getting help for years to avoid the stigma of the device, but new technologies that pair with iPhones may cast hearing aids in a new light.
The new LiNX hearing aid, unveiled earlier this month, connects seamlessly with newer generations of iOS devices. The technology combines traditional hearing aid functionality with Bluetooth headphones for talking on the phone. Danish manufacturer GN ReSound hopes that some of the "bells and whistles" of the device will lure patients who could also benefit from assisted hearing.
The hearing aid, more than 3 years in the making, has a litany of features: it has a microphone for use during voice or video calls; it can "focus" audio from a phone directly to the hearing aid while cutting out ambient noise; the devices themselves contain GPS that allows users to track misplaced aids from their phones or computers; and patients can manipulate settings from their phone, rather than drawing attention to the aid by fiddling with it.
"Right now, people wait about 8 years on average between the time they think they have a hearing problem and when they see someone about it," audiologist Dr. Ken Smith told CNN.com. "The association with Apple is going to make a great difference in getting people in the door in the 1st place."
The features may be a draw but the price-tag still represents a hurdle. The LiNX system currently going for as much as $3,000, according to the website.
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