By Neelam Bohra: Complete Post through this link…
As more young people risk hearing loss, over-the-counter hearing aids are providing new options, but also confusing choices.
Ayla Wing’s middle school students don’t always know what to make of their 26-year-old teacher’s hearing aids. The most common response she hears: “Oh, my grandma has them, too.”
But grandma’s hearing aids were never like this: Bluetooth-enabled and connected to her phone, they allow Ms. Wing to toggle with one touch between custom settings. She can shut out the world during a screeching subway ride, hear her friends in noisy bars during a night out and even understand her students better by switching to “mumbly kids.”
A raft of new hearing aids have hit the market in recent years, offering greater appeal to a generation of young adults that some experts say is both developing hearing problems earlier in life and — perhaps paradoxically — becoming more comfortable with an expensive piece of technology pumping sound into their ears.
Some of the new models, including Ms. Wing’s, are made by traditional prescription brands, which usually require a visit to a specialist. But the Food and Drug Administration opened up the market last year when it allowed the sale of hearing aids over the counter. In response, brand names like Sony and Jabra began releasing their own products, adding to the new wave of designs and features that appeal to young consumers.