Tech Friday: Innovative hearing technology on my wish list

Posted By on April 9, 2021

startrektransporterSometimes when my mind wanders, I shift from pie-in-the-sky dreaming (flying cars, mind control devices, AI/robotics (mp4), time machines (mp4), “beam me up” transporters, etc) to something that’s a bit more realistic to the world of everyday technology. Let’s get the above “pie-in-the-sky” idiom out of the way first.

“Pie In The Sky” Origin

This phrase was coined by the Swedish-American activist, Joe Hill in 1911 when criticizing the Salvation Army’s philosophy especially their concentration on saving the souls of the hungry rather than feeding them. He used it in one of his songs while leading a radical labour organization.

The expression was later taken up during the Second World War as it was used to describe elusive happiness in the face of so much death. A Californian newspaper in its November 1939 issue described Washington’s promise to the public about eating solely from war orders as “eating pie from the sky.” Over the years, it has evolved to include the way modern-day pastors treat their followers by teaching them that their reward would be in heaven and long-suffering on earth would pay off soon.  (Source:

One of most people’s favorite tech gadgets is of course the smartphone …  or the Apple iPhone and iPad in my case after years with a now defunct PalmOS device (my first iPhone was in 2012). For hard-of-hearing me to use these iOS gadgets effectively though requires a bluetooth headset like the bone-conducting Aftershokz (or for some people headphones, earbuds or airpods).


The Aftershokz’s latest smaller version is the Aeropex model, but on my wish-list would be a headset that also processes surrounding sound and provide a digital hearing aid function too. While I’m building the wish-list, let’s connect the bluetooth radio to multiple devices “at the same time” so I can use it not only with my iPhone, but iPad, notebook, desktop computer, smartwatch and virtual assistant like Amazon’s Alexa.  I doubt this is too far off since I can already “tap” to connect to a second device. The advancement in cochlear implants, implantable middle ear devices and bone anchored hearing aids has also improved a lot in recent years which can make for a night and day difference for those who are hearing impaired. 

Perhaps by the time my hearing is “really” gone, Aftershokz or a competitor will have something ready? BTW, check out the Mimi Hearing Test app if you want a 6 minute “starting point” hearing test before going to an audiologist.

mimiheartestapplogo MimiHearing210338

Cochlear Implants

A cochlear implant is an implanted electronic device that can produce useful hearing sensation by electrically stimulating nerves inside the inner ear. Cochlear implants currently consist of 2 main components:

  • external component, comprised of an externally worn microphone, sound processor and transmitter system,
  • internal component, comprised of an implanted receiver and electrode system, which contains the electronic circuits that receive signals from the external system and send electrical signals to the inner ear.


    Implantable Middle Ear Hearing Devices

    Implantable Middle Ear Hearing Devices (IMEHD) help increase the transmission of sound to the inner ear. IMEHDs are small implantable devices that are typically attached to one of the tiny bones in the middle ear. When they receive sound waves, IMEHDs vibrate and directly move the middle ear bones. This creates sound vibrations in the inner ear, which helps you to detect the sound. This device is generally used for people with sensorineural hearing loss.

    Bone-anchored Hearing Aids

    A bone-anchored hearing aid (BAHA), like a cochlear implant, has both implanted and external components. The implanted component is a small post that is surgically attached to the skull bone behind your ear. The external component is a speech processor which converts sound into vibrations; it connects to the implanted post and transmits sound vibrations directly to the inner ear through the skull, bypassing the middle ear. BAHAs are for people with middle ear problems (usually a mixed hearing loss) or who have no hearing in one ear.



    Desultory - des-uhl-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee

    1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
    2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
    My Desultory Blog