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New Pretend Hearing Aids - Here We Go Again!

Bluetooth Earbuds Slash Hearing Aids - where do we start with this?

Let’s start by saying that you would only want this product if you were in the “hard of hearing, but not mentally prepared for hearing aids” category.

Since people who are not mentally prepared for hearing aids usually cite “feeling old”, “having people notice the aids” and “having to have something in my ears” as primary concerns, this fixes nothing.

Someone talking while they have Bluetooth earphones in will look daft, as people would expect you to remove them for a conversation of any length. They certainly won’t look trendy, which I suspect is what these manufacturers are trying to aim for.

In terms of acoustics, this looks from the pricing to be a set of speakers and a mic, with a cheap chip on board to balance the switching between the acoustic styles. It has a rubbery bung to make a seal which will occlude everyone with a mild-moderate loss, and allow sound leakage for anyone with a worse loss. I strongly suspect it will sound like listening to a £5 radio while having your fingers in your ears, ie rather unpleasant.

Hearing aids can be incredibly discreet. The sound can be very natural, as the fitting will blend in external sounds with amplified sounds. Your audiologist will keep the ear as open as they can to allow this, not plug it up. They are also remarkably comfortable once your audiologist has finished tittivating and getting everything the perfect length and diameter, it may even be custom built. If you talk while you have giant earbuds in, everyone is going to look at them, but no one looks at a well-fitted hearing aid.

I can’t help with feeling old, since I got mine in my 20’s, but there is always *something* happening to make you feel old, if you are ageing, which everyone is all the time! If you are in your 30’s it’s the fact that the pub is full of 18-25 year olds. 40’s - it’s your knees!

If you are not mentally prepared for hearing aids yet, I find the path of preparation starts best with having a test. Mull on the test, have it explained, get the advice. You don’t have to get hearing aids straight away. Let the information settle, and ask for a follow up in one year. Then attend it!

A combination of advice from your close friends and a decent audiologist is best. Some audiologists want you to get a hearing aid with a very mild loss, which I personally think is not helpful as they tend to go in a drawer and put the person off completely. Get the aids when they will make a difference, which is unique to everyone.

But don’t get something that is far more likely to damage your hearing and your progress towards acceptance than it is to help.

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