If ever there was a classic example of a disruptive technology colliding with a sustaining one, it is in the battle between the established and sustaining hearing aid delivery system, and the emerging disruptive one of personal sound amplification products.
Yet, within the capabilities of equipment used daily in the hearing aid industry lies the perfect solution to this classic conflict.
The equipment I refer to is what is referred to as open platform technology. It allows for the same chip that powers the most advanced hearing aids on the market to not only carry whole suites of sophisticated sound processing algorithms, but to also talk with a Bluetooth dongle, it’s mate on the other ear, or any number of other electronic devices capable of near field radio communications.
As such, these devices provide the perfect bridging tool between personal sound amplification product and hearing aid. Being open platform, they allow for loading of any number of program instructions, having nothing to do directly with correcting a hearing loss, such as their Bluetooth capabilities to enhance cell phone calls, providing hands free stereo reception, or connecting with the TV via the same protocols.
Suites of program applications can be as limited, or as extensive as the customer wants and should their needs exceed the current program load, or when they need service, the fact that they share components and programming ports with recognized name brand equipment, allows for logical migration toward more qualified help than would be available should they have purchased their gear with minimum programs as a PSAP from a vendor not within the hearing aid delivery system.
With open platform gear and common components that PSAP consumer has not only high quality gear to start with, they have a natural service network available from which to purchase spare parts, repairs, or programs only available from authorized hearing healthcare professionals.
As such, this gear holds the promise of being the perfect bridging tool for an entire industry.
Open platform circuits, common components, and the ability to upgrade at authorized dispensers nationwide could allow us to reach millions of folks looking for help with some challenging listening situations just, not a hearing aid.
It’s the whole idea behind our development of the Not a Hearing Aid Network. Building a network of hearing care professionals who see personal sound amplification technologies as bridges, rather than barriers to growing their practices and serving more customers.
I invite you to come back often as we begin to put the meat onto the bones of both the network and list of consumer PSAP we’ll be introducing for those folks who want some help, just “Not a Hearing Aid.”