What’s on the Horizon for Hearing Health

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“Never believe that a few caring people can’t change the world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.” – Margaret Mead

Hearing health is taking the spotlight as the number of those affected by hearing loss continues to grow. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss with 34 million of those children. According to WHO, that number is expected to grow to over 900 million people by 2050. It’s no surprise that organizations and experts around the world are rallying to quickly develop new technology and solutions for the millions with hearing impairment.

Award Winning Hearing Aid Design in Australia

Facett, an award-winning modular hearing aid offers a new take on the classic hearing aid and hearing aid battery. This geometrically-designed little device includes a magnetically attachable rechargeable battery that makes battery changes easier than ever. Users can also quickly adjust Facett’s settings using an app.

“This product has incredible potential to make a very positive impact on people’s lives who suffer from hearing loss. The use of rechargeable batteries and magnetic coupling is highly innovative,” said the  Good Design Awards judges’ statement.

It doesn’t just look good and have an innovative battery either, the hearing aid also delivers high-resolution sound and technology to reduce background noise and help wearers better hear speech.

3-D Printing in the Middle East

Chefs are using 3-D printers for food, designers are using them for models and now hearing healthcare providers are using them to help people hear better. The volunteer organization 3DP4ME, in partnership with the Holy Land Institute for the Deaf, has vowed to “3D print hearing aid molds for 97% of those in need…providing 3D printed hearing aid earmolds to disadvantaged populations in the Middle East.”

While the need for hearing aids has grown, production has remained slow and availability limited. 3DP4ME has begun using 3D technology to create a highly accurate and customized digital model that can be used to print an ear mold. Much faster than traditional methods, the organization is helping those with hearing loss get the devices they need sooner than ever before.

“The best part of this has been expanding my worldview and realizing that poverty and being able to hear are common human problems, and I hope to provide some amount of support,” said Bill Allen, who joined 3DP4ME as COO in 2017.

Fully Implantable Hearing Aids in Austria

As studies show that large numbers of people who could benefit from wearing hearing aids choose not to, researchers race to find solutions.  In some cases, that means developing an invisible hearing aid. That’s just what Austria-based Karl Landsteiner University of Health Sciences is working towards by developing fully implantable hearing aid. In recent news, the group announced they had successfully tested a new piece of technology that “is based on completely contact-free fiber-optic technology, which senses the tiniest ossicle movements and uses them to stimulate the acoustic nerves.”

The new technology overcomes the question of a microphone and how to pick up sounds with a fully implanted device.

“Hearing aids should be heard, not seen. And this is precisely what fully surgically implantable hearing devices can deliver. Their Achilles heel is the microphones, which receive sounds and use a sophisticated process to transform them into impulses for the acoustic nerves.”

The race is on to develop more powerful, natural and effective solutions for the millions of people around the world affected by hearing loss. These are just a few of the exciting breakthroughs in the hearing health industry. We can’t wait to see what’s next!

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