It's amazing the smartphone apps that are out there these days.
A new, free app called ReSound Smart — created by GN ReSound in Denmark — links to hearing aids to help the impaired add volume to their devices and use them as headphones for telephones, YouTube videos and music.
"People will always need really good hearing aids, but moving forward, what will differentiate competitors will be connectivity (to smartphones), and it will need apps,"said Lars Viksmoen, chief executive of GN ReSound.
The app also allows users to remotely configure settings like volume, treble and bass on their hearing aid devices and remembers particular settings for different venues.
"Let's say you're in a place you go to all the time, such as a coffee shop. You can make an adjustment and then it will geotag your location, so the next time you walk in, it will remember your settings," said Laurel Christensen, GN ReSound's chief audiology officer.
The app can convert the iPhone into a microphone, streaming conversations into the hearing aids, helping the impaired hear what is being said better.
"I think we're going to see an explosion in this area because of baby boomers. They're into technology and they want to be connected," she said.
There are some risks to the app said Steve Aiken, associate professor of audiology at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, Canada.
"One is that people could damage their hearing further if they adjust the settings incorrectly. And the other is that they miss out on the benefits if they're not configured properly because it takes people's brains a while to acclimatize to sounds they haven't heard in a long time," said Aiken.
According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, About 36 million American adults have some hearing loss.
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