Tinnitus and hearing technology in 2020

By Bill Rastello: For More Info, Go Here…

I’m one of the members of the population that suffers from tinnitus. Despite what I thought, it turns out I’ve had it since I’ve been a kid. I distinctly remember laying in bed about to go to sleep, and hearing nothing but a ringing noise in both of my ears. I thought it was normal — turns out that’s not normal at all. I thought that loud fans were needed when sleeping for everyone to block out the constant ringing when you’re about to go to bed.

Since all the doctors and specialists I’ve seen have no idea what’s going on (my hearing tests are within a normal range, and there’s no obvious cause for my tinnitus), and don’t have anything to give me to really help out, I’ve started to look into other solutions to help. Sound machines and other stationary devices (fans even, like I used when I was younger) can help with tinnitus while sleeping or laying in bed, but on the go has always been more of a challenge for me. There are definitely some really good tinnitus and white-noise apps out there for iOS and Android — ReSound, AudioNotch, and Relax Melodies are three that I’ve used. The American Tinnitus Association has their own list of recommended apps that I recommend checking out as well. Apps like these work great when you can throw your headphones on or are resting, but when you’re out and about and need to hear your surroundings, or are having a conversation, that’s a different story.

When CES 2020 came around this year, I poured over technology blogs like I usually do, reading about all the new amazing things that companies have invented. There was a big focus on “hearables” and other audio enhancement devices this year, which really got my attention. Two really caught my attention the most — The Phonak Virto Black and the Nuheara IQBuds2 Max.

The Phonak Virto Black is like a hearing aid on steroids. The biggest downsides? It’s set to be about $6,000 in the US and, since it’s a standard hearing aid, one would need to go through a doctor to get it (there are OTC hearing aids coming in the US, they’re just not here yet).

The other device is the Nuheara IQBuds2 Max. After taking a look at Nuheara’s site, I noticed something that stood out — individuals that have tried their products in the past have actually had some success with helping with tinnitus. I did some additional research, and these seem like a huge fit for my personal use case — they can stream anything from your phone (including music and white-noise / tinnitus apps) while blending in outside noise, you can adjust how you hear your environment a variety of ways, and they supposedly have very high quality sound. They also include a built-in hearing test that will adjust audio based on your personal hearing situation. Add on active noise cancellation, and these essentially seem to be like the Galaxy Buds or AirPods Pro, but with a bunch of hearing enhancement technology on top of them. They’re also way cheaper than hearing aids would cost out of pocket, retailing at $399 in the US.

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