Monday, May 27, 2024

New hearing aid technology helps North Texas man hear better

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Hearing loss is a common problem with consequences that can range from annoying to life-changing.

While hearing aids have been on the market for a while, new technology makes them unlike what’s been around for decades.

Earlens is a unique technology that, unlike traditional hearing aids that just make sounds louder through a speaker, can gently and nonsurgically vibrate the eardrum.

“What that motor does is move the eardrum itself, but also the three hearing bones in the middle ear, that then sends the impulse to the brain. So the patient experiences hearing almost naturally,” said Dr. Keith Matheny, with Collin County Ear Nose and Throat.

“This is the only technology that I offer where patients routinely cry tears of joy when we activate them. So it’s very gratifying for me to be able to offer something like that to my patients,” said Matheny.

64-year-old Jason Whitehair is one of those patients.

He says six years ago, his wife complained the TV was always too loud because of his hearing.

He also had trouble understanding people in crowded settings, like restaurants, so he tried a traditional hearing aid.

“They were uncomfortable. They basically increased volume, but did not broaden the range of hearing at lower and higher frequencies,” said Whitehair.

“I probably wore them 20% of the time that I should have worn them,” he added.

He switched to the Earlens more than a year ago.

“I noticed a difference immediately in the clarity of what I can hear. I heard birds chirping that I hadn’t heard in years. The most important thing was they were very comfortable. It only took me two weeks before I didn’t even notice that they were in my ears. I wear them about 12 to 15 hours a day,” said Whitehair.

The hearing aid costs $12,000 which covers office visits every two to three months.

According to the NIH, approximately 15% of Americans ages 18 and over report some trouble hearing.

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