Carlsen Trads is president of Clarity, a consumer electronics company focused on developing adaptive hearing aids for seniors. We invited Trads to talk about hearing loss and discuss how new technologies are improving the quality of life of seniors with impaired hearing.
by visiting blogger, Carlsen Trads
Hearing loss is the third most common health issue in the US, and because ten thousand Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, it’s becoming even more prevalent. Of those over the age of 65, 33% experience hearing loss; this number doubles for those over 75. But what does it mean? How do those with hearing loss adjust?
Missing words or even whole conversations can become exhausting and frustrating, and ultimately research shows that seniors with hearing loss begin to become isolated and disconnected with the world. This is not by choice. When hearing worsens and senior experience the loss of mobility, it can require strenuous efforts just to call family and loved ones.
Cutting Edge Technology to Mitigate Hearing Loss
Thankfully, some of today’s newest technologies are now being adapted for those with age related health concerns. For years, consumer electronics companies have marketed products to seniors with larger buttons and simple interfaces. Now they are harnessing next generation technologies, such as tablets and mobile devices, in an effort to help seniors stay engaged and connected.
For example, my company, Clarity, specifically designs products for seniors, and we recently developed a home phone called Ensemblethat uses an Android tablet to display captions in real time. This system is designed to give seniors with hearing loss the most accurate phone conversation possible.
When an individual places or receives a call on Ensemble, the other party’s words are transcribed through ClearCaptions, an FFC-certified telephone-captioning service that is similar to closed captions for television. As the senior listens, captions appear on Ensemble’s touchscreen-display in a large, easy-to-read font that can be enlarged or adjusted with the swipe of a finger.
We created Ensemble to make phone conversations as easy as possible for people with hearing loss or other health concerns that could impair a senior’s ability to understand the spoken word. With amplified sound up to 50 decibels, seniors can hear the phone from anywhere in the house. Large captioning and a touch screen display allow people with vision loss or dexterity issues to easily access and navigate the phone during their conversations.
Not being able to understand a phone conversation is one of the first signs of hearing loss, and missing conversations frustrates millions of people. Products like Ensemble are designed to change the lives of seniors to ensure they never miss an important moment again. We hope more companies are innovating with the needs of seniors in mind so that we can help elders with hearing loss and the myriad of other challenges we face as we age.
Do you or an older loved one struggle with hearing loss? How do you deal with it? Are there adaptive aids you or your loved one depend on? Join the conversation. We welcome your thoughts below.