According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 17 percent of U.S. adults have trouble hearing. I'm sure that's going to go up dramatically in the future thanks to kids listening to their headphones too loud.
However, only 20 percent of those people actually get a hearing aid, and even then it's years after their hearing problems start. That's a lot of people who can't hear and aren't doing anything about it.
There are plenty of reasons for this, but two are cost - the average price of a hearing aid is $1,500 - and the stigma of wearing a hearing aid. Let's face it, hearing aids look like medical gadgets, not slick tech gadgets.
A company called Soundhawk is trying to challenge both problems with its Smart Listening System. It's less expensive than the typical hearing aid - $280 to start - and it just looks cool. The main unit - called the "Scoop" - resembles a smaller, sleeker Bluetooth headset.
Disclaimer: Technically, Soundhawk's system isn't classified as a hearing aid by the FDA. At this stage, it's more like a personal sound amplifier. Be sure to discuss any hearing problems with your doctor to see what kind of equipment you need.
The Smart Listening System has a number of unique features aside from the price. It has a Bluetooth microphone you can set near a TV or on the other side of a table in a noisy room to better pick up the sound you want to hear. It can also voice control a smartphone.
There's a smartphone app that helps you adjust it on the fly so you can get the best sound in any situation. It has a nice little case that can charge the headset while you're out and about, taking the use time from 8 hours to 24 hours.
It also has an Active Listening mode that filters out background sounds to help you hear what's important.
So, would you wear one? Let me know in the comments.