Hearing the Creative Way

November 30, 2015

Technology seems to spark more and more innovative ideas every day. Five years ago—which is truly a long time in this context, given the torrent of advancements since then—the Babelfisk Visual Hearing Aid was conceptualized. Designer Mads Hindhede aimed to integrate visualbabel and auditory capabilities in a single pair of glasses for users with a visual impairment and difficulty hearing. The glasses contain an internal listening device that can dictate conversations via text displayed on the inner sides of the lens. Users can effectively “lip-read” just by using their spectacles (though one does have to wonder if the screened text is distracting). Unfortunately, we haven’t heard much on the concept’s status since 2010, but it does mirror the synergy behind many modern hearing aids with multiple capabilities – aids that sync with your smartphone, TV and more.

Another very unique hearing aid concept is the (h)earing aid. Ear piercings are taken to the next level with this idea, which incorporates the “gauge” piercing style – a stretched hole in the ear lobe – with the aid. The device is aimed toward individuals with a mild hearing loss and an interest in the gauged appearance. audiA thin wire loops up from the piercing and into the ear, retaining the near-invisible quality of many hearing aids on the market. The developers are particularly enthusiastic about the TriMic system, which appears to feature three horizontally-positioned microphones for optimal hearing. The (h)earing aid PLUG, to be inserted into the gauge itself, would also be made available as an add-on purchase for individuals with a more severe hearing loss.

Although many of these types of developments are still in concept phase, the creativity behind them is what makes them so exciting. Hearing health continues to gain momentum with the help of technological innovation.

Beth S. Levine M.S., CCC-A, F-AAA owner and licensed audiologist, is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology. She is licensed by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in Audiology, and certified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

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