Editorial Digital hearing aids have received a lot of media attention in recent months. Some of this is self-initiated, as manufacturers and audiologists use advertising to alert potential patients to the existence of promising new technology. This tactic, however, cuts both ways, as it often attracts the attention of national ... Editorial
Editorial  |   July 01, 1997
Editorial
 
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Article Information
Editorial
Editorial   |   July 01, 1997
Editorial
American Journal of Audiology, July 1997, Vol. 6, 2. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0602.02
 
American Journal of Audiology, July 1997, Vol. 6, 2. doi:10.1044/1059-0889.0602.02
Digital hearing aids have received a lot of media attention in recent months. Some of this is self-initiated, as manufacturers and audiologists use advertising to alert potential patients to the existence of promising new technology. This
tactic, however, cuts both ways, as it often attracts the attention of national news media, which may be a mixed blessing for those who participate directly in that process.
A few years ago, I was involved with a story on Dateline NBC that began ostensibly to investigate the so-called “noise reduction” hearing aids that existed at the time. I had done research that disputed some of the advertising claims of improved speech recognition in noise, and agreed to be interviewed by one of the show’s correspondents. The camera crew, producers, and reporter came to Minnesota and spent approximately a day filming dialogue, reaction/perspective shots, and audio demonstrations, to name but a few. During the interview, I made sure to inject as much positive information as possible regarding audiologists, hearing aids, and emerging technology that would potentially improve speech recognition in noise. What I didn’t realize was that the ulterior motive of the producers was to incriminate the hearing aid industry and the method by which hearing aids were dispensed. A couple of weeks later, the story appeared on television complete with Dr. David Kessler of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), who indicated that the agency would be closely monitoring the claims made by manufacturers in the future. This story, and the one that followed weeks later on Sixty Minutes, helped cause an industry-wide slump for nearly 2 years. The industry has recovered, more audiologists than ever are dispensing hearing aids, and the digital age of hearing aids is here (again). But there are clouds on the horizon.
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