These devices, which cost around $300 to $350, directly amplify sound into the ear. Because they are marketed as consumer electronics, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and don’t require a prescription. Good products already exist, including the $300 Soundhawk Smart Listening System, which debuted in December 2014. The Wall Street Journal called it “an ear wearable.” The Soundhawk looks like a geeky Bluetooth earpiece.
There may be more devices like this to come. Think of the futuristic Spike Jonze movie Her, which made an in-the-ear talking computer seem like the next best thing. “The ear is the new wrist,” tech guru Nick Hunn wrote, taking credit for coining the term “hearable.” He predicts that the wristband has already seen its day. Soon everything will be in the ear.
Steven Brown, writing for, explains why these “activity trackers” will move to the ear and become hearing devices as well as fitness monitors: “Wearables aren’t sticking because consumers are not willing to alter their behavior to accommodate the product.” He suggests that consumers are already accustomed to wearing something in the ear, earbuds, hearing aids, Bluetooth devices, earplugs. Why not combine fitness tracking with music listening, and 
add a hearing component as well? And someday even a talking computer.
All of these devices are technically PSAPs, which received a boost in October when the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology endorsed PSAPs as an alternative to more expensive hearing aids for people with normal age related hearing loss and recommended that the FDA allow them to be advertised as devices 
to correct hearing. 
This month, the FDA announcedthat it would reconsider its guidelines on PSAPs.
But not every new hearing device is designed for the ear. Belgian designer Bruno Vereecke
has created a lamp to help people with hearing loss hear better around the dining table. Vereecke’s wife and son both have hearing loss, and he wanted something that would allow his family members to hear each other better. The result is a hanging lamp that is designed to absorb noise, making it easier to hear speech. Testers reported a 15 percent increase in the sounds they could hear. The lamp can also be customized for an individual’s particular hearing loss.
But I have to admit, my favorite new idea comes from this month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas: the DiamondZ True Wireless 
Bluetooth headphone made by Monster Inc. It looks like a 40-carat amethyst nestled into the ear. The DiamondZ is not intended to correct hearing, at least for now it’s only a Bluetooth device. But hearing device manufacturers, listen up! Give us gorgeous jewels to wear in our ears and hearing aid sales should go through the roof.
Until tomorrow: The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.