Six million people over 55—just a fraction of those who could benefit from one—have a hearing aid, with just 5 million of them actually using it. Of those, 2.5 million patients are unhappy with their hearing aids, Dr. Derebery noted during her presentation.
Samuel Selesnick, MD, FACS, professor and vice chairman of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, said hearing aids are improving.
The “open fit slim tube” found in some hearing aids reduces the occluding of the canal, making them comfortable and more cosmetically appealing. There are models that reduce feedback, allowing for improved hearing of speech in noisy settings, directional microphones that allow the listener to direct the device; for example, in front of them where the person talking is likely to be; and devices allowing listeners to better determine the origin of sounds.