Millennials are an oft-praised generation for their leaps in innovation and novel ways they approach problems in tech, society, and beyond. As millennials grow older, it is interesting to look at the way they approach hearing loss—due to increased noise exposure, especially via earbuds, hearing loss is growing more prevalent in the millennial generation. According to a 2015 WHO report, 50% of people aged 12-35 are exposed to unsafe sound levels due to personal audio devices. Millennials are now starting to face the reality of hearing loss and they are approaching the problem in some interesting ways.
We live in an age of think-pieces, of social media, and instant sharing. Millennials that suffer from hearing loss have taking to the internet in an effort to share their struggles and normalize hearing loss. An article on The Cut, a section of New York Magazine, titled “My Ridiculous, Romantic, Painful Adventures in Deafness” is a look into what life is like as a partially-deaf millennial. Dating, friendships, and work are already difficult—hearing loss just compounds the author’s struggles. Cosmopolitan, one of the most popular publications for millennial women, has featured several articles over the past few years about living with hearing loss, including one that explored how deaf women date. Using digital platforms to share stories is one way millennials are approaching hearing loss and lessening the negative stigma of hearing loss and hearing aids.
Millennials are a totally plugged in, digital group of people. Raised on computers, this generation is fully focused on using tech to change lives. One of the superstars of the new class of hearing technology is Noah Kraft, CEO and co-founder of Doppler Labs. At just 29 years old, he runs one of the most exciting producers of “hearables” in today’s market. The HereOne wireless earbud gives the user incredible control over how they hear sound—wearers can use different noise filters to selectively tune in or out of sounds they want to hear, and can control the sound and volume of noise around them. These earbuds are not just for the hard of hearing, they are also intended for musicians, frequent travelers, and anyone who might need to tune out the outside world for a while.
Hearing aids are also being fine-tuned and marketed specifically for millennials. While the stigma around hearing aids are slowly shrinking, millennials still do not want visible hearing aids, for the most part. Hearing aid models like the Dia II sit behind the ear and utilize a tiny clear tube—all the parts are small enough to easily stay hidden. BTE models like this are ultra-discreet and perfect for millennial users.
Using new media platforms, cutting-edge technology, and innovative ideas, the millennial generation is looking at hearing loss in a new way. They are focused on how to make better hearing aids for all lifestyles, and how to tackle hearing loss in different ways. It’s exciting to see millennials get serious about hearing loss and wonder what the future holds!