There’s a certain agony to walking into a restaurant and realizing you won’t be able to hear a conversation over the clatter.
But for many people there’s one thing even worse: wearing a hearing aid.
The term conjures up frailty and the inevitability of old age. Up to 98 million Americans say they struggle with hearing loss, yet only 8 million or so wear traditional hearing aids. That leaves many millions who cope by reading lips or coaxing everyone else to speak up.
A new gadget called the Soundhawk Smart Listening System offers help to people who know they have a hearing problem but don’t think they need a $3,000 prescription hearing aid. The $300 Soundhawk isn’t a medical device—it’s app-controlled ear gear for when you could use a little audio enhancement.