45% of older Japanese feel their hearing is going

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The company Rion recently published the results of a survey into hearing aids for older people.

Interestingly, the company Rion was also responsible for designing the neutrino detecters that recently earnt a Japanese physicist a Nobel Prize; they also have an English magazine describing how they developed the detectors which might be more interesting than this survey…

A couple of years ago I looked into prices of hearing aids and it was quite frightening (300,000 yen or more), and unless you are certified as deaf you have to pay full whack – there is zero support from national health insurance, and even officially deaf people have to rely on local government handouts that may or may not cover the total cost. I read a couple of years ago that the hearing aid market was ripe for disruption; surely given the ubiquity of smartphones it would be possible to make the earpiece just a dumb speaker, then build an aural profile of one’s ear state and download it to a smartphone, add a decent microphone, and Bob’s your uncle?

Here’s a 1960s made in Japan hearing aid:

Vintage Chic Transistorized (Body) Hearing Aid, Model TR-6, 4 Transistors, Manufactured By Conny Industrial Co., Ltd., Made In Japan, Circa Early 1960s
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