The Phonak Group, a company based in Switzerland, is putting its money into producing a line of attractive hearing aids. The sexy devices address the bad reputation that classics in this business have earned. No longer do hearing aids have to look like hearing aids – now they’re hotter than the latest iPod accessory.
Phonak PCA’s, which range in price from about $1500 to $3,500, also promise to enhance the quality of sound, not just the volume. Older hearing aids let off excruciatingly loud high pitched squeals due to audio feedback. That problem’s been solved by physically separating the aid’s microphone from its speaker. (This may seem obvious to most, but it’s not easy to accomplish in a device that’s so small.)
The Phonak designs also amplify the high-pitched sounds, like consonants and rustling paper, that are more difficult to hear — facilitating conversation and enjoyment of the sounds of nature. The PCA’s also promise to deliver more clarity, even in situations where there is considerable background noise, like concerts or conferences.