Best picks for your holiday electronics gift list

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 21, 2012

(BPT) – Americans love their electronics: tablet computers, smartphones, digital cameras, HDTVs, e-book readers, MP3 players, and hearing aids.

That’s right – new, modern, sleek, life-altering hearing aids. As contoured and futuristic as the most highly styled electronic device – or  so discreet that they’re virtually invisible – today’s hearing aids are the high-tech “anti-aging” tool that can help keep life-loving Gen-Xers and baby boomers socially, cognitively and physically active.

For more than 34 million Americans, hearing loss is part of life. Most frequently, it results from repeat exposure to loud noises – like at concerts, nightclubs, sporting events, crowded restaurants, loud workplaces and so on.

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In many ways, hearing loss is the unintended by-product of life fully lived – that is, before we knew better about how to protect our hearing in such noisy environments. But when ignored and left unaddressed, hearing loss robs from life. It isolates. It debilitates. And it diminishes quality of life. It even takes a toll on fiscal wellbeing by cutting into earnings potential. And perhaps most notable during the holidays, unaddressed hearing loss creates barriers and unnecessarily strains even the best of relationships.

But listen up: It doesn’t have to. And it shouldn’t.

The overwhelming majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. And eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they are satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids – from how they feel about themselves to the positive effects hearing aids have on their social and work lives.

High-performance technology and style have merged with durability and ease-of-use when it comes to today’s hearing aids. The options are so varied that there is an attractive solution for just about anyone.

Today’s high-tech hearing aids can be as discreet or as visible as you like. Designers are offering styles that appeal to the fashion conscious, the trendsetter, the party-goer, the intellect, the cautious grandmother, the romantic, the weekend warrior, or the guy just tired of arguing with his wife and kids about the volume on the TV.

Simply, today’s hearing aids transcend old-world notions about hiding a condition as common as hearing loss. Whether they sit discreetly inside your ear canal, or wrap aesthetically around the contour of your outer ear like the latest fashion accessory, today’s high-performance hearing aids amplify life. They unabashedly send the message: “I’m too young and full of life to stop doing the things I love best.”

If you think someone you love is struggling with unaddressed hearing loss, ask yourself these questions:

* Do they seem to have trouble hearing on the telephone?

* Is it more difficult for them to follow conversations when two or more people are talking at the same time?

* Do they keep turning up the TV or radio?

* Do they sometimes miss a telephone ring or doorbell?

* Do they seem more irritated or tired at big family or social gatherings?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, it’s time to make an appointment with a hearing health professional. Go to the appointment with your loved one. Your companionship may be just the encouragement they need to take charge of their hearing loss and regain the reins on life. It also may get you thinking about your own hearing health needs.

So go ahead. Do something radical this holiday season. Amplify someone’s life. Buy them a hearing aid. And just maybe, when you celebrate the new year together, you’ll be rewarded when they tell you that they can hear the sound of ice-cubes jingling inside a glass again, or the sound of singing birds in the early morning – and what beautiful sounds they are.

For more information on hearing loss, visit