Noise cancelling - from a different device at an unknown and highly variable distance to the anti-phase speaker and a variable wireless delay. Hmmm...
Danish company ReSound claims the LinX for the iPhone is the first "cool hearing aid". That might be stretching things a bit but perhaps only because of attitudes. The ReSound LiNX can use the iPhone as a phone, with the audio through the hearing aid like a Bluetooth headset, play music stored on the phone for the hearing …
I actually fail to see what is new here. OK, the specific hearing aid is different from a bluetooth headset, and probably less intrusive, but the noise cancellation is part of many phones, and adjusting the tone balance to give maximum boost is just a high precision tone control or graphic equaliser.
I would have thought that it would be possible to get similar behaviour at a fraction of the cost using an app and a normal high quality bluetooth audio device designed for listening to music, rather than phone calls.
Of course, it would not function as a normal hearing aid without the phone, but at this cost, you could also buy a landfill android phone built specifically with a small screen and a large battery to be used all the time, and still be thousands better off.
>you could also buy a landfill android phone built specifically with a small screen and a large battery
Landfill Android devices don't tend to have Bluetooth LE. AOSP only supported BLE a couple of versions ago, though some higher-end Samsung Android devices sported the hardware earlier.
>I would have thought that it would be possible to get similar behaviour at a fraction of the cost using an app and a normal high quality bluetooth audio device designed for listening to music, rather than phone calls.
It wouldn't. These hearing aids contain microphones themselves (not just supporting the use of the mics in the iPhone), as well as containing their own audio processors. All this, and they last for around five days between charges.
Basically, if you are using a device all day every day to help you with all aspects of your life, you don't want to compromise.
It is only a matter of time before the 'current' landfill Android phone will have Bluetooth LE. But you could get a Samsung S3 with android 4.3 for £200-300 and still be quids in.
The article was not emphasising the self-contained hearing-aid aspect of this device, but the remote microphone aspect. I agree that as a complete device offering the combined features may be desirable, but I said 'similar' behaviour', not 'the same'. But three grand for what is a digital hearing aid with Bluetooth and an app seems quite a lot.
>But three grand for what is a digital hearing aid with Bluetooth and an app seems quite a lot.
Agreed, it does... until one becomes familiar with the general cost of other medical equipment that is made in relatively (compared to mobile phones) low volumes, or even the high price of some accessibility software The price will come down though, as more units are sold, and as the components get cheaper.
One regular in my local pub's beer garden, a retired GP, was singing the praises of a new hearing aid he got last year. The improvement over the old one, as he put it, is that he could now attend classical music concerts. His old hearing aid picked up on background noise in such a way as to make such social events unbearable for him. Effectively, it was akin to artificial tinnitus, a disorder that in its natural form has driven some people to suicide.
For those with the money, such improvements are well worth the asking price.
Seconded. It's comments like this that make my job as an audiologist all the more difficult. One in seven people in the UK has a hearing problem. My patients are quite literally ages - children with congenital deafness, teens with noise exposure, young mothers with otosclerosis - even cynical and derisive journalists can have hearing problems.
Hearing loss <> old age.
Started as a very expensive high status piece of equipment that allowed the upper reaches of the clergy, medical profession and lawyers to continue working after they developed long sighted presbyopia. They started as status symbols and, except among schoolchildren, never lost it.
Any other physical disability was considered suitable for mockery. And still is, in many quarters.
Just some thoughts on making hearing aids 'normal':
Many people are beginning to wear ear-plugs to live music concerts - costing a little more than the the earplugs you might wear in a workshop, they are designed to attenuate all frequencies evenly, so as to reduce the volume without colouring the sound.
The musicians on stage often have discreet, custom fitted IEM (in-ear-monitors) to protect the hearing upon which their livelihood depends.
People wear spectacles to correct their vision. People wear sunglasses to prevent damage to their eyesight in the first place - or to pretend that they look like rock stars.
Consumer IEMS are normally designed to be visible as a fashion accessory, just as many people wear spectacles with larger than necessary arms.
I occasionally use my IEMs as earplugs when in a loud environment.
Maybe their is a market for a consumer device for both protecting hearing, and for listening to music - or for chatting to people in loud nightclubs.
Bluetooth has been a power hog, which is the main reason it is not incorporated in hearing aids.The batteries on my NHS supplied hearing aids last between 13 and 14 days, 4 to 5 would be a retrograde step.
I don't worry about losing them as they are usually hanging on my ears, unless I am washing or in bed.
iPhone5 and later all have a HAC rating of M4/T4 rating so no accessories required. My Nokia Lumia 620 works fine with aids in place.
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