Away from “Hearing Aid” and toward “Lifestyle Accessory”
The Baby Boom generation has fueled a fundamental shift in focus within the hearing industry. “Baby Boomers” are now the largest segment of our clientele and their needs and wants are quite different than that of the previous generations. Generally speaking, Baby Boomers are much more tech savvy than their parents and are not intimidated by the prospect of adapting to technology. Additionally, Baby Boomers are more willing to take proactive steps to improve quality of life and its enjoyment.
Consequently, the hearing aid industry has adapted to meet the desires of what is now our “bread and butter” population group. Baby Boomers in general are inclined to think in terms of “I’d like to ….” rather than “I have to….”. Historically, hearing aids were viewed as a sign of infirmity - something to be postponed until it was absolutely necessary. Definitely a “have to” kind of thing. In recent years hearing aids have been seen increasingly as lifestyle enhancements rather than a prosthesis. In other words, they are becoming more of a “I’d like to” kind of thing.
The near universal adoption of mobile technology by Baby Boomers has propelled this shift as the hearing aids incorporate more features that are not directly related to hearing deficiency. Many of the latest generation hearing devices will stream cell phone conversations directly into the hearing aids allowing hands free conversation and making them function as highly effective “Blue Tooth” devices. Many can also stream television and music directly into the hearing devices, completely without wires. This includes movies and music from mobile devices such as iPads, etc.
Very soon hearing aids will have the capability of speaking verbal reminders into a wearers ear, kind of like a tiny personal assistant. Heath monitoring functions (think Fit Bit) are also anticipated in the near future. There is even a hearing aid in the works that will supposedly be able to translate certain foreign languages into the wearers ear, in real time! Because of the recent shift of focus from “hearing aid/prosthesis” to “lifestyle accessory” this is truly a very exciting time to be in the hearing business.