A new ultra-affordable and accessible hearing aid made from open-source electronics could soon be available worldwide, according to a study published September 23, 2020 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Soham Sinha from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Georgia, US, and colleagues.
Hearing aids are a major tool for individuals with hearing loss — especially age-related hearing loss, which currently affects approximately 226 million adults over the age of 65 worldwide (and is projected to affect 900 million by 2050). However, hearing aid adoption remains relatively low among adults: fewer than 3 percent of adults in low-and-middle-income countries (LMIC) use hearing aids, versus around 20 percent of adults in non-LMIC countries. Though various reasons contribute to this poor uptake, cost is a significant factor. While the price to manufacture hearing aids has decreased over time, the retail price for a pair of hearing aids ranges from $1,000 to $8,000