In a press release earlier this week, Oticon announced its latest advancement in hearing aid technology: the “selective hearing” setting. The new feature allows hearing aid wearers to program their devices to eliminate annoying sounds, phrases and more.
Sound engineer Elaine Mosky, who is hard of hearing herself, shares the inspiration behind the technology.
“For years, annoyed coworkers and friends have accused me of just being a ‘selective listener’ despite me constantly apologizing and reminding them of my disability. Then one day I thought to myself, ‘Huh, you know, it’s actually not a bad idea.’”
In true “if you can’t beat them, join them” fashion, Mosky got to work developing the software.
Her able-bodied coworkers at Oticon admitted to harboring serious doubts about the point of such a feature, but, to their surprise, the selective hearing technology has been a huge hit.
“I have one coworker whose voice just pierces my eardrums. With the selective hearing feature I’ve been able to tune in only when she says important things like, ‘There’s cake in the breakroom,’” says beta tester Arnold Vernon.
Budding Instagram fashion model Lisa Jones says being able to tune out her family’s critiques of her outfits has allowed her to focus on hearing what really matters: the compliments of her fans.
“With the new selective hearing aid feature, my life is less, ‘Why did you turn that old orange shag rug into a vest? Please don’t leave the house like that, Lisa,’ and more, ‘Yas girl, you do you!’ It’s great,” Jones says.
Of course, the feature can be switched off at any time, in case a situation really does require hearing all the sounds. But let’s be honest: How often is that really necessary?