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How Smart Earphones Could Change the Market for Hearing Aids

Bragi’s long-anticipated invention of the world’s first wireless smart earphones has everyone listening. The groundbreaking technology is changing how we think of headphones and other wearable health-monitoring tech — but what about hearing aids?

In a world of better, faster, stronger, the first thing that comes to mind for generations like Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers is probably not hearing aids. The truth about hearing aids is silenced by the blaring social stigmas around hearing aids being for old people, ineffective, and ugly. The truth about hearing aid technology is it’s not the technology that is in need of an update — it’s our stereotypes.

With hearables and wireless Bluetooth® earbuds and headphones becoming increasingly popular, it is only natural that the hearing aid industry will follow suit. It’s as though hearing aid manufacturers’ prayers have been answered: Hearing aids could be cool.

Hearing aid technology advances of 2016 feature Bluetooth connectivity, allowing wearers to connect to their phones, televisions, and music players, while others are specifically made for iPhone®. The option of an invisible silhouette is incredibly enticing for those who experience hearing loss, but don’t feel like the rest of the world needs to know. Apps have been made by major manufacturers to help users easily control their devices.

Bragi’s hearable, the Dash, is described by Engadget as a “stand-alone media player with 4GB of storage; a fitness tracker, complete with a heart-rate monitor and step counter, among other things; and a general-purpose hands-free kit.” While it’s designed for an active crowd, the elegance, efficiency, and audio features alone are enough to attract those with an addiction for the latest and greatest.

Wearable health-monitoring tech like hearables is paving the way for hearing aids to be seen as a desirable device — and not just for their functionality. As technology advances and the younger generations become more health conscious, hearing aids’ integrative technology, innovative styles, and lifestyle features could make them not just a necessity, but a desirable accessory for enjoying life with hearing loss.

iPhone is a trademark of Apple, Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.