Angel Ears Disguised Hearing Aid for Women
By John Ciampa
Editor: Remember the old glasses that had hearing aids built in? How
about the hearing aid necklace we had a few years ago? The newest example of
a disguised hearing aid is the Angel Ears earrings. Here's the story from
the folks at the Chelmsford Independent. It is reprinted with their kind
About a dozen residents of Summer Place peered closely into the hands of
Douglas Glendon, as he walked around the room explaining to them how his new
"If you look closely, you can see each piece," he said. "There's a
speaker, a microphone and an amplifier."
Some of the elderly women present seemed indifferent about how the tiny
components and micro-circuitry could fit into an earring about the size of a
quarter. But once Glendon affixed one of the small, gold discs with a
faux-sapphire stud to Anne Macheras' left earlobe, he had all of them
And after Macheras' performed appreciably better in a hearing test than
in one she took one fifteen minutes earlier without the earring, Glendon had
many of them believing.
It took Glendon ten years to perfect "Angel Ears," what he calls an
"assisted listening device" that looks nothing like the skin-colored,
plug-like objects millions of Americans wedge into their ear canals on a
daily basis. For many of these people, hearing aids are just another
necessity, something you need to put on each day with your shirt and shoes.
But what if they really could become an appealing part of the wardrobe?
One where aesthetics didn't have to take a backseat to functionality?
Those are two of the questions Glendon had when he conceptualized Angel
Ears in the early-1990s. But technology still needed time to catch up to his
idea before he could actually build one he felt satisfied with.
Fortunately for Glendon, recent advancements in digital audio helped
bridged that gap.
"Today we see a vast improvement in all kinds of electronics," he said.
"This goes for hearing aids, too."
Each Angel Ears earring has a thin, flexible tube about an inch long that
enters the ear canal. As sound is picked up and amplified by the earring, it
gets passed through the tube and into the recipient's ear. Though Macheras
seemed to benefit from hers, Glendon admits that Angel Ears may not be right
"It usually takes me one to two hours to properly fit someone," he said.
"Hearing aids work on a very individual basis."
Glendon said a person becomes a candidate for a hearing aid when they
experience more than a 40 percent hearing loss. He said most devices act
like a megaphone, amplifying sound to account for a person's drop in
perception. The sound level remains constant, however, often causing pain
for wearers in noisy environments.
But the advent of digital technology allows Glendon's mechanism to adjust
to the level of sound in the area. If the environment is loud, the earrings
automatically soften entering sound.
Glendon said the distinction is important in terms of clarity.
"When you have a hearing loss, you don't go deaf," he said. "What you
loose is your speech dissemination."
During her first hearing test, taken without a hearing aid, Macheras was
slightly off on all but one of the words Glendon ask her to repeat. She said
"run," for instance, in place of the word "rug."
With the Angel Ears in place, she got more than half of the words
Each Angel Ear is priced at $1,299, and includes a matching dummy for
each (in a case a person only needs one) along with five colored accents to
accommodate various clothing.
For more information, visit Glendon's Web site at http://www.angelear.com