Embrace Hearing Blog

Out with the bulky hearing aids of your grandfather’s generation. In with hearing aids designed to double as fashion-conscious accessories.

Embrace Hearing, the leading online provider of high-performance European hearing aids, is proud to unveil the results of a partnership with industrial designer Ray Fontaine to conceptually redesign the hearing aid as a reflection of the user’s personal sense of style.

Embrace is the first hearing aid company to partner specifically with designers and jewelers to create truly customized hearing aid designs.

While children’s hearing aids are often customized with glitter or stickers, there are few existing options for adults looking to add similar personal appeal. Fontaine and Embrace worked together to explore hearing aid accessories that both protected the aids and made them fashion-forward.

Embrace, which serves an ever-increasing share of the 48 million Americans suffering from hearing loss, worked with Fontaine to help her hearing aid redesign work, which she began after tackling other medical devices like insulin pumps.

Embrace provided 3D models, hearing aids, and critical information about battery and microphone schematics to help the design process.

Equipped with that information, Fontaine worked through the four phases of design, from conceptualization to computer-based and physical prototypes to finally create a working model of an integrated accessory for Embrace Hearing aids that can be decorated with customized jewelry.

Once she had created the framework for the hearing aid, Fontaine partnered with jewelers to design and install elaborate creations on each device featuring complex metalwork, stone-encrusted casings, and a range of unique shapes and forms.

“If I could do one thing for the millions of Americans wearing hearing aids, or any medical device, [it] is to provide a variety of options to personalizing the tools they have to carry with them every day and better fit those objects into their life,” Fontaine said.

Fontaine showcased her work in May at the Pratt Institute, where she completed her graduate work in industrial design.

About Embrace Hearing:

Embrace Hearing is the leading online provider of high-performance European hearing aids. By buying directly from the manufacturer without the associated costs of a brick-and-mortar operation, Embrace saves their customers thousands of dollars while still retaining world-class customer service and an experienced audiology team.

About Ray Fontaine:

A graduate from Pratt Institute’s Master of Industrial Design program, Ray Fontaine thrives in interdisciplinary environments. A passionate innovator, Ray participated in the Global Innovation Design program at Pratt Institute in its second year of existence (2014-2015).  She visited Keio University (Tokyo), Imperial College, and Royal College of Art (London), and studied user research, design thinking, storytelling, extreme user scenario design, basic prototyping mechanics/computer science, and worked on corporate projects with companies like Pernod Ricard. She represented Japan as a National Finalist in the 2015 Mobile Asia competition, hosted in Singapore where 24 teams from 8 countries pitched ventures to investors.

Her Master’s thesis, The Engineer & The Artist: High-Tech Meets Handcrafted, investigated society’s future relationship with technology, with a focus on making personal electronics (including medical devices) more personal, approachable, and desirable. An area of passion is improving assistive tools and medical devices for individuals living with chronic illness and physical impairment. This interest has led Ray into much experimentation in the integration of fashion and technology.

 

We’re proud to introduce our new top of the line H-700 hearing aid, which features discreet design, powerful sound processing, and unprecedented new technology to make your hearing experience as seamless as possible no matter your surroundings.

Below you’ll find highlights from the H-700 alongside feedback from satisfied customers who have upgraded to this next level in hearing aid technology.

State of the Art German Technology:

The H-700 is packed with all the standard features you would expect from a high-end hearing system, as well as new and updated technology that you won’t find in standard hearing aids.

Among the powerful features of the H-700 are:

  • The latest background and wind noise reduction technology
  • Advanced automatic feedback blocking
  • Dual/directional microphones on each ear for 360 degree hearing and background noise management
  • Easy-to-use volume and program buttons
  • Bluetooth compatibility to stream phone, music or T.V.
  • Customized programming by our experienced audiology team
  • 24/7 live toll-free customer service line

Also included on the new H-700 are two new technologies that bring industry-leading performance to your hearing experience:

“Live” Monitoring Auto-Surround Capability: The H-700 is equipped with auto-surround technology, a feature that the vast majority of premium hearing aids lack. This new, cutting-edge programming allows the software built into the hearing aid to continually monitor your surroundings and adjust levels to match the accompanying background noise. For example, the H-700 can detect when you move from a quiet car to a noisy restaurant and automatically manage the associated background noise levels in each environment.

Ultra-performance Bluetooth Remote: The H-700 features a completely wireless Bluetooth remote system that streams audio from your phone, music player, computer, or even your television directly to your ears in the smallest, most convenient size yet offered.

Satisfied Customers:

Embrace customers who have purchased the new H-700 have praised their new aids as easier to use and with even more powerful performance.

What Customers Think of the New H-700:

“I paid half the price of my local retailer and I am blown away by the quality of the hearing aids.”- Larry, Massachusetts

“My new aids arrived yesterday and they are more than light years improved over the prior technology.” – Dr. James G., Maryland

“Compared to the older version, this upgrade is in a new class.”- Dr. Philip F., Iowa

“Embrace aids are without question the best hearing aids that I have ever used.”- David C., Missouri

 

What Customers Think of Embrace Customer Service:

“I spent a lot of time online reading reviews. Embrace came up tops. But what really made me [buy] was the customer service.”- Ken M., Florida

“The speedy, prompt and professional service I received in relation to the maintenance and care of my hearing aids has been a great comfort to me…Embrace Hearing is the first and last word in after care service!”- Emma L., Australia

“I was listened to, got great service and the hearing aids are working terrifically. Would recommend them to anyone.”- Judy, United States

“Thank you so much for your “above and beyond” service!”- Paul H., Arizona

 




Pete Townshend. Eric Clapton. Ozzy Osbourne. Alex Van Halen.

For many Baby Boomers, these artists epitomize rock music played at stunningly loud volumes in front of adoring crowds worldwide.

But as they’ve aged, they also represent another phenomenon: all these best-selling musicians now suffer from hearing loss linked to long hours in front of booming amps.

Some artists have been so stricken by hearing complications that they have had to curtail recent performances, such as AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, who stepped away from touring this year after doctors warned him that his partial hearing loss could progress to complete deafness while on tour.

And hearing loss is not just a risk for the bands who take the stage. Increasingly, Baby Boomers who grew up attending concerts pressed up against Fender amps and then switched to Walkmans, portable CD players, and iPods later in life are beginning to feel the effects of years of noise exposure.

In fact, virtually every Boomer suffers from some degree of hearing loss with the severity increasing as they age. It’s estimated that 1 out of every 3 people above age 65 suffers from hearing loss issues, while a survey from the EAR Foundation found that more than 50 percent of the Baby Boomers suffering from hearing loss blame it on noise exposure, including loud music.

So why are loud concerts so hard on our hearing?

Doctors have found that continued exposure to louder-than-normal sounds actually causes a so-called “temporary shift” in hearing, meaning the typical audience member’s hearing ability drops after exposure to loud music.

For most concertgoers, the effect is temporary and their hearing recovers. But after continual exposure to loud sound, the shift can become permanent.

Earlier this year, a group of researchers in the Netherlands studied two groups of attendees to an outdoor concert, one group who wore earplugs during the concert and another who listened without any protection.

The results were clear: only 8 percent of people in the group wearing earplugs experienced temporary hearing loss, while 42 percent of the unprotected group did.

That’s because rock concert sound levels can rise above 120 decibels, louder than the roar of a subway car or the engine of a motorcycle or a chainsaw. Doctors consider any sound louder than 85 decibels to be harmful to hearing and caution that the louder the sound, the more damage can be caused by even short periods of exposure.

But there’s still good news for anyone who struggles with hearing loss: advancements in hearing aid technology have made it easier than ever for Baby Boomers to restore their listening experience.

Increasingly, hearing aids are designed to provide the best possible listening experience for music aficionados. At Embrace, our hearing aids feature:

Up to 20 processing channels: All of our hearing aids are equipped with multiple channels to process sound, meaning you have a richer and more nuanced listening experience than using older models. A higher number of channels also allows for greater customization of your individual listening profile. Our audiology team starts with your hearing test and then further fine-tune the way you hear the world for the best possible experience.

Bluetooth: With Bluetooth compatibility, Embrace Hearing aids can connect directly to your smartphone, music player, or TV so you can hear music beamed directly to your ears the way it was intended.

Discreet size: Because all Embrace models are designed to be ultra-small, you’ll feel comfortable wearing your hearing aids everywhere, even to busy concerts and performances.

And by shopping online, you access the highest-quality technology at the lowest prices in the industry while sacrificing none of the customer service you deserve.

Don’t leave your rock n’ roll days behind just yet—consider how hearing aids can help you recapture the sound you love.


When it comes time to buy hearing aids, you’ll find many retail options, from local audiologists to big box retailers to online stores. So how do you know which is the right fit for you?

For many customers, convenience and selection factor into their decision, but price is typically the deciding factor. And with the average hearing aid price more than $4,500—even reaching $6,000 to $8,000—it’s not hard to understand why.

Because of this, we’re big believers in the online retail model for high performance hearing aids. With the better online retailers like Embrace Hearing, customers benefit from the same level of customer service and personalized attention as in-person retailers at a fraction of the cost—and they never have to leave their living room.

As we’ve discussed in previous posts, brick and mortar retailers cover high overhead costs associated to their retail location by passing them onto customers when they buy their hearing aids. Online retailers aren’t burdened by those heavy fixed costs so they can sell at just above wholesale prices.

Buying online isn’t the right fit for every customer, but here’s why we believe it’s a good alternative for many:

Buying hearing aids online guarantees lower prices. Retailers like Embrace Hearing can afford to sell hearing aids at a lower price than brick and mortar retailers because they don’t have to pay high costs for overhead expenses like rent, retail staff salaries, or equipment. In fact, AARP has found that these expenses can account for more than $2,000 of the sticker price on hearing aids at typical brick and mortar retailers.

Buying hearing aids online is convenient and easy. While your local audiologist or big box retailer is often only a drive away, ordering online is even easier. Simply submit the results of your most recent hearing test and our audiology staff can assist you in choosing, and then custom programming, the right hearing aid for your hearing loss needs.

Buying hearing aids online doesn’t mean sacrificing quality or service. Buying hearing aids from a quality online retailer like Embrace Hearing means you’re buying the latest in European hearing aid technology at close to wholesale prices. It also means your hearing aids will be custom programmed by our experienced audiology team, who ensure that your devices meet the exact needs laid out in your hearing test results.

Buying hearing aids online is risk-free. Once it comes time to buy, you have 45 days to try out the hearing aids risk-free. If you are not completely satisfied, you can return them for a full refund.




Though many of us buy products from the Internet frequently, when it comes time to buy hearing aids, you might wonder if buying online is the best option.


After all, don’t hearing aids require precise configuration by an audiologist, as well as a chance to test the aids to make sure they are a good fit for your needs?


Yes, both those steps are essential—and you don’t lose out on either by ordering hearing aids online.


With a local retailer, you benefit from a hands-on interaction with the hearing aids, plus a convenient brick and mortar location. But you also pay for that convenience, as prices are routinely two to three times higher than buying directly from the manufacturer.


While buying online isn’t quite as convenient as buying from a local retailer, you can purchase a hearing aid directly from home using the same process as buying in-store. For example:


When you buy hearing aids online, your aids will always be programmed based on your latest hearing test. We ask all of our customers to submit the results of their most recent hearing test, so we can ensure that our audiology team is programming your hearing aids to meet your exact specifications. This ensures you’re buying the most appropriate technology for your specific hearing loss challenges.


When you buy hearing aids online, you still benefit from a trained audiologist. Online retailers like Embrace Hearing feature trained, fully certified audiologists on staff to ensure that your hearing aids are precisely programmed based on the specifications from your hearing test. This is standard procedure for any hearing aid purchase from a reputable retailer. If you are considering buying from a retailer who does not work with an audiologist, find an alternate option.


When you buy hearing aids online, you have a chance to try the aids to make sure they meet your needs. When buying from Embrace Hearing, you always have a 45-day window to try out your new hearing aids and ensure they are the right fit for your needs. If your new hearing aids don't meet your needs, we will re-program and adjust the aids as required. If you are still not satisfied, you can return them within 45 days for a full refund.


When you buy hearing aids online, you can always speak with a real person. With Embrace Hearing, you can always speak to a real person who can offer advice and insight into your upcoming purchase. We provide a fully-staffed phone hotline in addition to a free consultation—simply send us your audiogram and we’ll offer our recommendations for the right hearing aid to buy for your needs.


Most people don’t start shopping for hearing aids until they need them—in fact, research shows that the average hearing loss sufferer waits a decade before finally buying a pair.


So most people have very little knowledge of how much a hearing aid actually costs, and the number may shock them when they find out: as of 2014, the average price for a pair of hearing aids is roughly $4,500, with prices often reaching $6,000 to even $8,000.


Why do hearing aids cost so much, and are there other, more affordable options available?


Part of the cost of a hearing aid comes from the complex technology that powers many modern electronic devices, including processors, microchips, and receivers, developed in labs around the world.


But much of the sticker price of a hearing aid—and the reason costs can be so high—comes from the way hearing aids are sold.


Hearing aid retail shops must cover costs that come from running a “brick-and-mortar” storefront, including rent, equipment, and staff salaries. In addition, they typically serve only a select local customer base so these exceptionally high fixed costs must be spread over very few customer orders.


With online retailers like Embrace Hearing, buyers get access to the same quality audiologist programmed hearing aid technology they could find at a brick-and-mortar retailer, but at a cost of thousands of dollars less. Why? Embrace Hearing keeps costs down by:


  1. Buying directly from the German manufacturer
  2. Selling exclusively online, thus enabling high volume through an international customer base
  3. Eliminating the costs of retail storefronts and retail staff while maintaining a highly experienced audiology and customer service team

In fact, Embrace Hearing delivers hearing aids directly to your home for about 1/3 of the cost charged by the typical local retailer. That’s a savings of $2,500 - $4,000.

For many, shopping online cuts down on the cost of hearing aids in terms of both time and money, while ensuring the same level of quality and experienced 24/7 service and professional reliability you would find at your local hearing aid retailer.

 


We all know we should be getting more exercise, regardless of our age; but more often than not, we find myriad reasons not to put our health first. Don’t let your hearing aid become yet another excuse not to stay in shape. With proper care and maintenance, your hearing aids should remain in tiptop shape whether you like to jog around town, bike through the park, or spend a day on the golf course.

Keeping your hearing aids dry during exercise

 The biggest challenge facing hearing aids during exercise is the buildup of moisture that can harm delicate internal circuitry. While you clearly can’t take your hearing aids for a dip in the pool, with some basic steps they can accompany you on a run or onto the court.

The biggest source of moisture while exercising isn’t surprising: it’s sweat—and it can harm your hearing aids if you don’t take some simple precautions.

Researchers, including Ronald Schow at the University of Idaho, have found that Behind-The-Ear (BTE) hearing aids are vulnerable when “beads of perspiration form in the hair along the top of the hearing aid” and gradually seep inside.

Therefore, keeping sweat from reaching the circuitry of the BTE hearing aid is the most important step in keeping your devices working problem-free even as you exercise.

Luckily, there are some cost-effective solutions to prevent sweat from penetrating the aid. Among the most popular are special sweat-resistant pouches made just for your hearing aids. One such option is Ear Gear, which slips over your hearing aid and prevents moisture from entering into the electronics.

An even easier solution is to wear a headband or sweatband while exercising, which can help keep sweat from reaching your hearing aids in the first place.

 

Protecting your hearing aids during exercise

Though moisture is the biggest threat to hearing aids, it’s worth remembering that even the best-fitted aids can come loose during a rough-and-tumble session on the basketball court or the football field and can risk being damaged.

To help avoid accidentally knocking your hearing aids loose, you can use a product such as the Oto Clip, which attaches to your hearing aids and then clips onto your clothes.

Clothes, too, make a difference in the protection of your hearing aids. Sara Batinovich, who wrote a book on managing hearing loss, recommends investing in zip-front sweatshirts rather than hooded varieties, which can disturb your hearing aid placement. She also reminds that bike helmets and even baseball hats need to be carefully sized to avoid interfering with a comfortable hearing aid fit.

Caring for your hearing aids after exercise

Once your workout is complete, it’s a good idea to take a few rudimentary steps to ensure that your hearing aid is properly clean and dry and ready for your next adventure.

One piece of equipment is especially useful in helping maintain your hearing aids after they’ve been exposed to moisture: the By storing your hearing aids in one of these self-contained drying units overnight, you’re ensuring that any remaining moisture in the aid is safely removed. Many units also sanitize the aids as well, ensuring that no bacteria grows inside the aid or the tubing while it is damp.

In addition to the dry box, a simple cleaning is always good practice after wearing your hearing aids during exercise. You can help remove moisture from the tubing by using a compressed air canister and can brush dirt and debris free of the hearing aid with a small cleaning kit.

As with any piece of technology, if you invest time in maintaining your hearing aids after you use them, you’ll extend their lifetime and help identify potential issues much faster.

While exercise with your hearing aids requires some planning, hearing aids can be safely worn during your favorite (non-aquatic) sport. In fact, being able to properly hear can be a huge asset for your own safety—and it might even improve your performance on the golf course, too.

 

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