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The Hearing Aid Gets Hip [dupe]

Illustration for article titled The Hearing Aid Gets Hip [dupe]

Forgive my ignorance, but the Siemens miniTek hearing aid "audio system" is the first I've seen that combines Bluetooth, mp3 and other wireless controls with the traditional sound-boost typically associated with these devices. Did the hearing aid just get cool?

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I know they've become incredibly small and inconspicuous with brands like Miracle-Ear (Patrick Duffy, what up dog?), et al, but this miniTek thing controls televisions too! Just cycle through all your connected devices and gadgets and their sounds appear in your dilapidated ear canals.

Hearing loss is awful, of course, but this seems like it'd be quite handy. [Medgadget]

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DISCUSSION

Hearing aid companies have been trying to make "cool products" ever since the Rocker Baby Boomer generation came of age, developed age-related hearing loss, and told the companies that they weren't going to wear no stinking Beige Play Doh behind their ears.

They're still expensive though... $6800 or so for a set of 2 (when I paid some years ago) for Siemen's top-of-the-line Pure aids (because as-close-to-normal hearing-as-possible is priceless). Really, really sucks that they're not covered (no hearing aids are, it's not just a "top of the line" issue) by health insurance. They should be, you never really need to replace them (only repairs - $350 per aid) for life and if you need a new set you can easily wait 10-15 years to buy some new ones. In other words, for people with chronic conditions, we're a hell of a lot cheaper than anybody who needs expensive daily pharmaceuticals, and the ability to hear is undeniably a life-or-death issue (try crossing a busy street when a car comes outta nowhere and you can't hear it coming... scary).