Siemens had a variety of its hearing instruments on display at a Bluetooth press briefing held on April 4 in San Francisco. Among those products was the miniTek wireless remote streamer for hearing instruments, which won the Best of CES and Fan Favorite Awards in the Bluetooth Special Interest Group seventh Annual Best of CES Awards. Siemens introduced the miniTek last year along with the Aquaris, the only waterproof hearing aid on the market. That device debuted in June of 2011.
|The miniTek device uses Bluetooth technology to wirelessly stream audio from multiple devices directly into hearing aids.|
The company is set to introduce the Eclipse, a deep-fitting hearing instrument is hidden in the ear canal. The Eclipse incorporates BestSound Technology, XCEL, which was developed by Siemens to provide a high degree of speech comprehension and balanced sound.
Siemens has long been an innovator in this space. In fact, the innovation goes back to the founder of the company, Werner von Siemens whose wife wife had hearing loss. In the 1800s, von Siemens created the first telegraph and the first communication device to help his wife hear better. More recently, the company was first to the market with wireless hearing aid technology in 2004.
|The Eclipse hearing aid sits hidden in the ear canal.|
August Hernandez, AuD, is excited by the prospects of the technology to help patients with hearing loss. “As a guy who used to work in clinics and hospitals in the late 1990s, we didn’t have this kind of technology back then. And I think of what I could have done for so many of those patients, it is just really exciting,” he said. “'Helen Keller said it best,'” he says. “She was blind, and could not speak or hear. And she said ‘if I could have one of my senses back, it would be hearing.’ Hearing loss takes you away from your fellow humans,” he adds.
It is for that reason that hearing-aid technology can improve peoples' lives dramatically. “To be in a room when someone gets their hearing back after having hearing loss and to see the look in their eyes—that is really awesome,” Hernandez says.
Brian Buntz is the editor-at-large at UBM Canon's medical group. Follow him on Twitter at @brian_buntz.