05/22/2014 10:00 am ET

How The iPhone is Changing The Way We Hear

Did you hear that? One in ten Americans may not have.

That's right: 36 million U.S. citizens suffer from hearing loss. And for most people, the phrase "hard-of-hearing" conjures thoughts of silver-haired octogenarians and aging heavy-metal rockers. The truth is that fifty percent of Americans with diminished hearing are actually under the age of 65.

Too many of those who suffer from hearing loss either don't realize it or are slow to take action to address it. And individuals who do not treat their hearing loss can become frustrated and socially isolated, withdrawing from their friends, jobs, family and activities they have long enjoyed.

May is Better Speech and Hearing Month, a perfect occasion to celebrate recent technological advancements in hearing instruments. Devices on the market today aren't your grandfather's hearing aids. Breakthroughs in technology and miniaturization have the potential to reduce hesitation and eliminate remaining stigma around the use of hearing instruments by incorporating high-quality sound with unique capabilities in a tiny package.

In fact, part of one of the biggest leaps forward in hearing technology may already be in your pocket: the iPhone.

The iPhone has brought hearing aids decisively into the 21st century -- the Apple device pairs via Bluetooth technology to Made for iPhone hearing aids (ours is called the ReSound LiNX, which was developed in collaboration with Apple). With an emphasis on ease of use and accessibility, the iPhone can stream the sound from phone calls, music or any other audio in high quality stereo directly to Made for iPhone hearing aids.

In addition, corresponding hearing aid apps allow wearers to make adjustments -- to volume or bass & treble levels -- so discreet, in fact, onlookers assume you're just checking email. These apps can also tag the geographical locations of the wearer's preferred settings, prompting the hearing aids to readjust each time the wearer enters those tagged locations. No need for a finger in the ear, fidgeting with a hearing aid or additional remote controls.

So during Better Speech and Hearing Month, I urge you to think twice the next time you find it difficult to hear your spouse, child, colleagues or friends. There is no reason to feel embarrassed, there is no reason to feel old -- but there are a lot of reasons to get your hearing checked. If you suspect you may have hearing loss, please do something about it by visiting your local hearing healthcare professional.