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Related Help Pages: Hearing Aids

A Turning Tide?

Alexandria, VA, May 15, 2006---The tide of hearing aid press coverage is turning positive. Over the past week, three major national features and an array of local press items have noted the new technologies, the cool appearance and the high consumer satisfaction rates with todays hearing aids.

The May 22, 2006 issue of BusinessWeek notes "Hipper Hearing for Boomers. Although the publication could not resist the SayWhat? tag line, the article incorporates many important industry facts and a great photo of Oticons Delta. Reporter Louise Lee notes that the bulky beige devices are yielding to sleek, colorful ones and reports big sales of GN ReSounds ReSound Air. She reinforces the messages of hearing loss as a normal partner of the Boomers aging process and quotes BHIs Sergei Kochkin in describing todays hearing aid as a cool little consumer electronics device that fit(s) (this) generations vigorous self-image.

The same days U.S. News & World Report carries a long, descriptive article in its Best Health section entitled Good Vibrations: Theyre still hearing aids but theyre better and smaller. Reporter Avery Comarow interviewed a wide range of industry experts for the story before he decided to focus on recent advances in design and increasing levels of consumer satisfaction, including VA studies of VA service satisfaction that VA head Lucille Beck, PhD, outlined for him. Comarow makes all the old arguments and then refutes many of them or clarifies them with good information about current devices. The story ends with a rosy picture of mail order hearing aid purchasing, although the writer does endorse a medical evaluation.

This weeks Parade Magazine joined the information march with
New Help for Hearing Loss a broader look at amplification that includes not only smaller, sleeker, smarter hearing aids and going wireless, with unbranded photos of Siemens e2e system, but also implants and ALDs, with another unbranded photo of Micro-Tech/Starkeys ELI device. Bottom line: aging rockers wont have to fumble with the clunky hearing aids their parents wore.

A collection of articles is building at www.betterhearing.org, with positive pieces from around the country. What is the stimulus for this unprecedented press coverage without hearing aids in the Presidents ears, that is? Obviously, technology is exciting for people outside the industry and HIA member companies are aggressively and successfully marketing products in new ways and at new levels. Additionally, BHI has its first year of consumer press outreach under its belt and, from the extensive research for these articles, it is clear that the data and information from BHI work pairs extremely well with the technology advances of members. Finally, there are some public information efforts by the professional organizations that are undoubtedly making a positive contribution as well.

Hearing aids even hit the editorial page positively in The Washington Post this morning in Fred Hiatts editorial Signs of Change at Gallaudet describing the difference in the student protests of the new provost from the demonstrations 18 years ago that led to the selection of I. King Jordan as the first deaf Gallaudet leader in the schools history. Provost-designee Jane K. Fernandes says much has changed, including the fact that Hearing aids are better than ever. Good luck, Dr. Fernandes, and thank you!

HIA, headquartered in Alexandria, VA, is the national trade association of manufacturers of hearing aids, implantable hearing devices, assistive listening devices, component parts and power sources for amplification devices.

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