Topic 16: The tiny device that’s revolutionising hearing
It’s a fact of life that our hearing begins to decline as we age.
Sounds that were once sharp and crisp become muffled, television volumes slowly creep up, and you may find yourself asking people to repeat themselves in conversation.
For many people with just mild hearing loss, though, the idea of using a hearing aid to provide a little boost in the audio department is enough to send them running for the hills.
Now though, there’s a new device that’s revolutionising the world of hearing, especially for those who aren’t quite ready for a full-sized hearing aid.
It’s called the XTM and it’s tiny, high-tech, and priced $349 – just a fraction of the price of hearing aids, which can range in price from about $1,000 to more than $10,000.
The XTM is an amplification device that’s designed for people living with mild to moderate hearing loss, and features four pre-programmed settings that can be changed according to the level of hearing loss in the user.
Unlike some bulky hearing aids, the XTM measures about 1cm in length and sits comfortably inside the ear.
Australian Hearing audiologist Zara Brown says the XTM, which is designed to be worn in one ear — whichever has the most hearing loss, uses similar technology to high-tech hearing aids.
“It can be worn in any situation,” she says. “It has noise management features that automatically lower the sound of background noise and any other unwanted sounds, eliminating that whistling feedback you sometimes get with hearing aids.”
Many Australians delay getting their hearing checked after they start developing hearing loss because they believe their only solution is a hearing aid.
But Brown says the XTM is helping to eliminate this worry.
“Now, with this kind of device, people don’t have to rush in to get a hearing aid if they’re not ready for it,” she says. “It’s so small and economical and it’s easy to use, so it’s a great option for people who aren’t ready for hearing aids.”
Australian Hearing offers free trials of the XTM at its hearing centres around the country.
Would you consider using one of these new devices if you had some hearing loss?