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Best picks for 2013's most life-enhancing consumer electronics

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Updated: 2/04/2013 9:31 am

(BPT) - Americans love their electronics: smartphones, tablet computers, digital cameras, HDTVs, e-book readers, MP3 players, and hearing aids.

That's right - new, sleek, state-of-the-art, life-altering hearing aids. As contoured and futuristic as the most highly styled electronic device - or so discreet that they're virtually invisible - today's hearing aids are the high-tech 'anti-aging' tool that can help keep life-loving Gen-Xers and baby boomers socially, cognitively and physically active.

At its best, technology offers solutions, enriches life, and makes us more efficient. Today's modern hearing aids do all three.

For more than 34 million Americans, hearing loss is part of life. Most frequently, it results from repeat exposure to loud noises - like at concerts, nightclubs, sporting events, crowded restaurants, loud workplaces and so on.

In many ways, hearing loss is the unintended by-product of life fully lived-that is, before we knew better about how to protect our hearing in such noisy environments. But when ignored and left unaddressed, hearing loss robs from life. It isolates. It debilitates. And it diminishes quality of life. It even takes a toll on fiscal wellbeing by cutting into earnings potential. And perhaps most notable, unaddressed hearing loss creates barriers and unnecessarily strains even the best of relationships.

But listen up: It doesn't have to. And it shouldn't.

The overwhelming majority of people with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids. And eight out of 10 hearing aid users say they are satisfied with the changes that have occurred in their lives specifically due to their hearing aids - from how they feel about themselves to the positive effects hearing aids have on their social and work lives.

High-performance technology and style have merged with durability and ease-of-use when it comes to today's hearing aids. The options are so varied, in fact, that there is an attractive solution for just about anyone.

Today's high-tech hearing aids can be as discreet or as visible as you like. Designers offer styles that appeal to the fashion conscious, the trendsetter, the party-goer, the intellectual, the active sports enthusiast, the cautious grandmother, the romantic, the weekend warrior, and even the guy just tired of arguing with his wife and kids about the volume on the TV.

Simply, today's hearing aids transcend old-world notions about hiding a condition as common as hearing loss. Whether they sit discreetly inside your ear canal, or wrap aesthetically around the contour of your outer ear like the latest fashion accessory, today's high-performance hearing aids amplify life. They unabashedly send the message: 'I'm too young and full of life to stop doing the things I love best.'

If you think you or someone you care about is struggling with unaddressed hearing loss, ask yourself these questions:

* Do you seem to have trouble hearing on the telephone?

* Is it more difficult for you to follow conversations when two or more people are talking at the same time?

* Do you keep turning up the TV or radio?

* Do you sometimes miss a telephone ring or doorbell?

* Do you seem more irritated or tired at big family or social gatherings?

If the answer to some or all of these questions is yes, it's time to take that first step toward regaining the reins on life. Make an appointment with a hearing health professional, and take charge of your hearing loss.

So go ahead. Be an innovator. Disrupt your life for the better. And get that one consumer electronic that's sure to amplify your life. Buy a hearing aid. Then hear how dynamic technology - and the world around you - can be.

For more information on hearing loss, visit the Better Hearing Institute at www.betterhearing.org.

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