Traditionally, the trend for hearing aid design has been to make aids as inconspicuous as possible. Very comfortable and virtually invisible, thin tube hearing aids have exploded onto the scene over the past decade. There has also recently been a resurgence of very small custom hearing aids (invisible-in-the-canal, or IIC).
However, some hearing aid users would rather treat their hearing aids as a fashion statement. Instead of trying to hide their aids, they accessorize them. One enterprising young hearing aid wearer created her own line of jewelry, shown on the left worn by a customer. See the full line at: www.hayleighscherishedcharms.com
Another hearing aid wearer (and audiologist) also created a line of jewelry designed to “turn hearing aids from a necessity to a must-have accessory.” Her line features heart-shaped “hearrings” decorated with Swarovski crystals. www.hearrings.co.uk
A few designers have developed really fun and interesting concepts, which would be exciting to see come out on the market:
Although it would have a limited target audience, a hearing aid for people with gauged ears is a novel, bold product. It proclaims “ Wear your hearing aid like a piece of jewelry, a stylish accessory. Be individual, be cool, be yourself.”
”SoundsGood” is a hearing aid designed for women that looks like an earring. Besides amplifying sounds for the listener, it displays a visualization of sound waves of the speaker’s voice, providing feedback on the volume and rate of speech which will be optimal for the listener.
Much like the eyewear market, perhaps this trend of celebrating vs. hiding hearing aids will lead to less overall stigma regarding hearing aids.
So, what do you think. Are you ready to gauge your ears yet?