Throughout their history, hearing aids have helped people with hearing loss achieve their most ambitious goals. But seldom have they been cited as assisting their wearer reach their style goal. Traditionally, hearing aids have fallen into two camps: older hearing aids which tended to be obtrusive and ugly and newer hearing aids which tend towards discreet, barely-noticeable designs. With a new mindset about hearing health, hearing aid style may be stepping out from the shadows with colors and accessories that allow for personal expression and reflect a greater cultural openness around hearing loss.
Statistics are showing that hearing loss in teens and young adults is on the rise. Significant hearing loss amongst millennials is approximately 15% higher than in teenage samples from the 1980s. With the proliferation of personal listening devices and the prevalence of noise pollution, the modern world isn’t doing young ears any favors.
As many young people face the challenges of hearing loss, they are doing it in a much different environment than ever before. While older generations have been concerned about their hearing aids being discreet and undetectable by others, Millennials seem much more open to having their hearing aids seen, even going as far as to make them part of their overall style.
Out in The Open
Hearing aid design has been driven through the decades towards being as invisible as possible. New models push to be smaller and more concealed with some designs fitting completely in the ear canal and others almost completely hidden behind the ear. In part pushed by customer demand that viewed hearing aids as a stigma, and in part driven by advances in technology, current hearing aid design is sleek and efficient.
With a new generation however, design concerns may shift dramatically from efficient to experimental. Millennials have grown up with technology being integrated into style and fashion. Instead of being wary of visible hearing aids, they see the devices as part of a spectrum that includes fancy smart phones, headphones and personal fitness devices. With this acceptance of hearing aids, the field may open up into more visible, experimental designs and finishes.
Trends have been popping up for young people who wear hearing aids, including custom casing for their Hearing aid and specially designed jewelry and clips to adorn it. A push towards colorful, customizable hearing aids has long been part of pediatric hearing aids. Both Phonak and Oticon offer hearing aids for children that feature bright and bold color combinations. However, these color and finish selections narrow significantly in their models designed for adult consumers.
A push towards style diversity may change that, bringing youthful, vivid colors to hearing aid design, with little regard for discrete devices. A sign of things to come may also be the proliferation of hearing aid accessories – fun, interchangeable charms and clips that add a little bling to traditional hearing aids. Dangling charms have a similar visual style to wearing earrings, while clips that attach to BTE hearing aid tubes have a cool effect of hovering near the ear.
Young people are also adapting their hearing aids with decals special customizations. Young people have carefully decorated their receiver casing with washi tape, nail decals and even specially designed products like Skinit for Phonak that can create unique stickers to fit hearing aid casings. This push towards customization may drive the designs of tomorrow.
Today, young people are saying that flashier hearing aid designs give them confidence to talk about their hearing loss and be open about their hearing challenges, all while letting their hearing aids make a style statement.
Healthy Hearing Is Always in Style
Whether you want a hearing aid that can easily go unnoticed or one that flaunts your personal look, one thing is for sure: treating your hearing loss is important for your health and happiness. Using hearing aids to manage your hearing loss helps keep you engaged and improves your cognitive functioning.
If you’ve noticed a change in your hearing, it is time to talk to an expert. At Comprehensive Ear and Hearing, we know hearing loss inside and out. We offer thorough hearing examinations and solutions that consider all your lifestyle needs. We carry hearing aids that fit seamlessly into active lifestyles and options that take advantage of digital connectivity and models adaptable for all degrees of hearing loss. When you need hearing care, Comprehensive Ear and Hearing has you covered, so set up an appointment today!