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IntriCon unveils tiny new hearing aid

The body-worn device company's APT hearing aid features an adaptive feedback canceller and acoustic push button, and can easily be converted to a left- or right-ear device.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
The APT hearing aid is smaller than a dime, in spite of appearing here to be larger than a head. IntriCon

Body device developer IntriCon is now selling its tiny new hearing aid, which manages to pack a few punches into a gadget that's smaller than a dime.

Called APT, the hearing aid can be reconfigured to fit the left or right ear quickly and easily (this feature is patent-pending) and comes with a wax guard system that is replaceable, so if you fall into a fountain while texting and damage the shell, you can just swap it out for a new one.

The hearing aid is small enough to not obstruct the ear canal (these are called "open-ear" hearing aids), so the user doesn't suffer through that blocked-up feeling so common in bulkier ones. It also includes what the company calls the AcousTAP Switch, which lets the user toggle between settings by patting the ear instead of the hearing aid.

"Research has shown that there are considerable negative social, psychological, cognitive, and health effects associated with untreated hearing loss," IntriCon CEO Mark S. Gorder said in a company release. "APT offers an effective means to address this condition--it's a technology-driven device that delivers the latest advances in hearing health."

A company representative says the price of the aid, which first previewed at the European Hearing Aid Acousticians conference in 2010, varies depending on who is buying and in what quantity, and wouldn't release any further details. (Competing aids easily run between $1,000 and $2,000.)