Hearing Aids Can Look Cool [en]

As the founding editor of Phonak’s community blog “Open Ears” (now part of “Hearing Like Me“) I contributed a series of articles on hearing loss between 2014 and 2015. Here they are.

When I was fitted nearly two years ago, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that hearing aids now came in quite a range of fun colours and textures. Blue, pink, metallic silver, green, you name it. Quite a change from the plastic skin-tones that where the only option available at the time of my first (failed) fitting many years ago as a teenager. Needless to say, I picked pink — my trademark colour — and I’m never shy of showing them off around me.

I discovered more recently that many people go a step further with their hearing aids and implants, decorating them with stickers and gems, nail foils, shoe charms, you name it. The results are fantastic! Vincent regularly shows off his favourites on the Phonak Facebook page. Here are some of those I particularly like.

Pink purple hearing aid with charm Flower Implants Flower on hearing aid Cascading Peace Hearing Aid Charm

Housekeeping note: I’ve done my best to link to what seems like the original source of each photo, click on them to see!Steph's Pink Hearing Aid

This trend reminds me of something I heard Helga (Hack & Hear blog) say in her 28c3 conference talk: the industry tendency is to try and make hearing aids as invisible as possible, whereas she — like others — would prefer them more visible, so that people immediately notice that she is a hearing aid user. Helga also mentioned that there is very little hacking being done on hearing aids, because they are expensive, we need them, and opening them up voids warranties.

Turquoise hearing aid tubes

As I see it, however, people who pimp their aids and implants are actually a variety of hackers — appearance, design, and style hackers. Pretty cool and inspiring.

Can’t get enough? Lipreading Mom has a super collection on her “Show Me Your Ears” page.