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Bluetooth-Enabled Devices with Hearing Aids

Bluetooth technology may be best known for its contributions to hands-free cellular communication, but this platform for wireless data transfer has sparked a revolution in the hearing aid industry, as well. These developments come at a time when the nations hearing health stands at a crucial juncture: as baby boomers creep toward the elderly demographic, the rapidly aging population means that a greater number of people than ever before are forced to navigate the challenges of daily life with some degree of hearing impairment. Still, statistics show that fewer than 25% of those who need a hearing aid have been fitted for one. Manufacturers are planning Bluetooth-enabled devices will soon allow many hearing-impaired individuals to tune into real-time, specially-encoded high-frequency broadcasts of college lectures, television and radio programming, concerts, and public events. Furthermore, Bluetooth technology is actually changing the way that devices are being designed. Researchers envision a future in which data streams to and from a hearing aid will be used to automatically adjust controls for optimal performance in any setting. Device manufacturers and hearing health advocates alike have high hopes that both the technological advances and the hip aesthetic appeal of Bluetooth-enabled hearing devices will help reduce the stigma long attached to hearing impairment and assistive technology.

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