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Including use of technology.


Including use of technology.


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At the Louisville Innovation Summit, experts discussed role of tech in staying independent.

Market Overview for Technology for Aging in Place

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Aging 2.0 Optimize -- the goal is to accelerate the pace of innovation

It's been a busy week that reflects growing interest in aging and new technologies. Just after the third annual Louisville Innovation Summit, some of the attendees and/or exhibitors dashed to San Francisco for the Aging 20 Optimize event. The founders, Stephen Johnston and Katy Fike, launched Aging 2.0 in 2012 'to pick up the pace of innovation that benefits older adults.' The program includes the Generator Ventures fund, an 'Academy' to cultivate classes annual classes of startups, distributed worldwide events, and competitions that feature finalists who participate in pitch competitions. Their flagship and well-attended Optimize event concluded today in San Francisco – with five of the exhibiting/pitching startups featured below. Information is from their websites or press materials: 

Five hearing tech announcements that could benefit older adults

Hearing technology advances -- the hearing aid industry considers changing. It’s a positive when you see disruption of industries that have too tight a lock on the consumer, whether it is in categories of health insurance, telecom carriers or hearing aids.  You spend time with people everywhere you go – those with significant hearing loss but no hearing aids; they have hearing aids, but hate to wear them.  According to a recent NY Times article, two-thirds of adults over 70 have hearing loss that warrants hearing aids, but only 15-30% of those wear them – and at $5000 a pair, no wonder. In recent years, personal sound amplification products (PSAPs) that are not classified as hearing aids and thus do not require the audiologist role, though the FDA may change that. Just asking, if the device is called a ‘Wearable’, does Silicon Valley find it more worthy of funding? But anyway. In July, Consumer Reports published an explanatory guide that should be required reading for organizations that serve older adults. It would seem to be the wild west of innovation.  Here is a sampling of five recent product announcements:

Innovation for the senior market from Israel

Entrepreneurs from Israel have found or been found by Aging 2.0. The mission of Aging 2.0 extends beyond the US: they are seeking innovators and inventions from everywhere, holding events, inviting pitches and announcing finalists. Last week, 12 entrepreneurs from Israel were written up in Jewish Business News – targeting 'technologies for the myriad needs of the aging population.' Five are included here. These have some unique attributes, but also inspire questions -- which may be the 2.0 issue of aging tech/tech-and-aging. Consider the five below. The target recipient of the technology is uncomfortable with technology, may have a physical limitation (hearing or dementia), and be at risk of social isolation. For each of these inventors, next is to identify the go-to-market partner category that will move these offerings into the homes of those who benefit at a beta-tested price point, combining with already familiar services targeting the broader needs of these individuals. These are very early-stage and all text comes from the original article:

Hearables -- hearing technology for boomers and beyond

The numbers are daunting -- must have been those rock bands in the 60s and 70s.  Hearing loss is a big problem among baby boomers -- but their propensity to solve it with hearing aids? Not so much. In 2012, there were 4.5 million of those aged 50-59 with hearing loss, but only 4.5% wearing hearing aids. Hearing aids are associated with the stigma of aging -- but facts are facts. Hearing issues may be attributed to overly loud rock bands from long ago.  Hearing aids are costly and typically not covered by insurance, irritating to wear -- just a few reasons cited by various sources. But those serving the boomer health market, take heed -- once boomers are seniors and take their untreated hearing loss with them into older age ranges, their gait is also impacted, and we know with gait issues comes the risk of falling -- and we know how health risks and costs rise with the frequency and severity of falls. Here are some recent technology introductions that can enhance the ability to hear -- text is from the companies' own material:

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Five new technologies that can help older adults and their families

Some tech companies don’t see the senior market as an opportunity. They are the Peter Pan tech firms, the ones in which no one (including the customer) ever ages (you might know them as Facebook, Apple, Google, and Twitter). Meanwhile, from Nashville, France, and Germany, others see inclusion and extra services as good business, maybe because this market is pretty much ignored by the gang of four. Here are five companies that vary a platform or a product to make it more useful for an older adult market or service. – All material is derived from the vendor websites or press releases:

Clarity Transforms Home Phone Into Peace of Mind Platform for Caregivers, Ending Isolation & Enhancing Well-Being of Older Seniors


CHATTANOOGA, TN–(Marketwired – Sep 16, 2015) – Millions across the U.S. caring for aging family members will never see the home phone the same way again — a breakthrough has arrived that transforms how older seniors connect with and are cared for by their loved ones. Clarity, a division of Plantronics (NYSE: PLT), today launched ClarityLife(TM) — an innovative peace of mind platform delivered through Clarity’s Ensemble home phone.

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Hearing loops change public experience for hearing impaired – but are they deployed?

Getting into the hearing loop arena.  Again a chance to note -- the dramatic enhancement of sound for hearing aid wearers in a looped setting -- that is, a room enhanced with a telecoil loop transmitter -- in a public environment.  The cost, according to the writer, ranges from a few thousand dollars to $130,000 for the entire airport.The result?


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