By: William Steffin
Las Vegas, NV (The Hollywood Times) 1/14/19 – What if one could have a hearing aid type function programmed into a Bluetooth earbud device without the expensive and time-consuming task of visiting an audiologist and a purveyor of expensive standard hearing aids? That may soon be possible with the latest hearing assistance device to be introduced by MEE audio by the third quarter of 2019.
Those who have been following this reporter’s articles from CES are already aware of the serendipity involved in traveling the halls of this monster show. Having conducted a few brief interviews and looking for a spot to write up his notes, your reporter spied an unoccupied table and chair, a rare event at CES. Lying on the table was literature associated with the booth which had provided the table. This was in the audio section of the CES South hall which was filled with various headgear and other listening devices. Your reporter had not intended to interview any presenters in the section.
MEE audio, amount many others, was primarily marketing wireless TV headsets and other devices to wirelessly connect to a TV. However, one brochure on the table was entitled Assisted Listening Wireless Headphones. Being of an age where hearing challenges routinely appear, your reporter was immediately interested and decided to conduct an impromptu investigation.
Currently MEE audio, located in the City of Industry CA, is marketing the EARBOOST EB1. Is used for internal sound enhancement such as sounds from Bluetooth telephone calls or music listening. The user can go online with the M E E App and take a hearing test which adjusts the frequency of incoming sound to better match the individual’s hearing acuity. While not as accurate, this process is very similar to what occurs when one sits in the soundproof booth of an audiologist’s office to profile and identify issues related to hearing various frequencies.
Of more interest to this reporter was the EARBOOST EB1. Mike Jones, vice president of operations for MEE audio was kind enough to discuss the EB1. He described the device as next-generation technology for personal sound amplification devices. Mike projected that in coming years lower was hearing aids and personal sound amplification devices (for some reason labeled PSAP by the FDA) will merge in the marketplace.
The purchaser of the EARBOOST EB1 will receive instructions directing them to login to the MEE audio App and take a hearing test. The results of that test will allow the EB1 to adjust incoming frequencies received through it’s external microphones. The profile is specific for each ear and can be saved on the device. The user can also make adjustments for different ambient sound situations such as in a restaurant or at a sporting event. Those adjusted profiles can also be saved on the device.
While younger readers may not have a high degree of interest in this article, a word of advice-your time will come. As for this reporter, the commercial availability of the device in the third quarter of 2019 is anxiously awaited. As hearing changes with age, it is hoped the claustrophobic soundproof booth at the audiologist’s office can be avoided. In addition the price point of the product is expected to be in the several hundred dollars range rather than the several thousand dollars range for conventional hearing aids.
It is worth noting that this product and others which will be coming to the market are made possible by the regulation cutting changes the Trump administration made in 2017 to the rules relating to hearing aids and hearing assistance devices.
Respectfully submitted, Bill Steffin reporting for The Hollywood Times