Hearing Aid Accessories

  • Technology has enabled hearing aids to become much smaller and more effective. Still, hearing aid companies fight to change the stigma around first adopting a hearing aid. For many, using a medical device feels like wearing a large blemish of impairment or a surrender to dependence on a machine. 
    The goal of this project is to make hearing aids more approachable and desirable to those who may benefit from using it, as well as society at large. Let us celebrate our individuality, glamorous in all our imperfections.
  • To allow for users to interchange accessories for their hearing aid, a snap fit attachment had to be developed. The attachment could not cover the microphones, and eventually would have to be made of solderable metals in order to be fused with the metal jewelry elements of the accessory. Furthermore, developing 3D models allowed for rapid iteration and cutsomization.
  • Even after developing a perfect fit model out of 3D printed PLA, flexible resin, hard resin, and wax, there were still issues with fit for the final silver attachment piece. Silver is stronger and less flexible than many of the testing materials, and had to be filed down slightly during the finishing process to accomodate the hearing aid. Now molds have been made to reproduce the perfect fit attachment piece in any solderable metal one may wish to produce.
  • Each Jeweler I worked with to create the final earcuff accessories chose one of my designs directly out of my sketchbook and worked with me to develop the design through fittings, material consultations, and more.  Pictured above is one of the most elaborate pieces of the line, produced by Pin Wei Wong http://www.pinweiwong.com/ . Together we selected moon stones for ornament and altered the original design to increase accessibility to the  hearing aid attachment.
  • The piece above was fabrictaed by Maxwell Chambes. https://www.behance.net/MaxJewelry . To create my design he hand carved jewelers wax and texturized the sliver with small dots across the surface.
  • The piece above was fabrictaed by Maxwell Chambes. https://www.behance.net/MaxJewelry . Maxwell suggested  using lapis stone instead of a gemstone, bringing a more earthy aesthetic to the line!
  • The swooping piece above was fabricated by Jessica Sohn. 
  • The webby piece above was fabricated by Lisa Krusalik. She treated the silver so that it could take on that beautiful ebony finish.
  • Lisa Krusalik also contributed her own design, highlighting the true purpose of this project. As an industrial designer, I created a platform for any jeweler to solder an earcuff onto. The snap fit attachment opens up a new market for people living with hearing impairment to find attractive accessorries that protect and/or their hearing aids. It epitomizes the concept. A small etsy shop jeweler might buy 20 attachment pieces and sell their stock over six months, or Prada may by 5000 units to distribute world wide. These accessorries could be as popular and valuable as eyewear.
    The piece above was fabricated by Erin Mccarty. Together we chose the blue topaz, but she also made a last minute adjustment to the design in order to better showcase the stone.  Her experience with 3D printing wax to cast silver pieces was also invaluable to the project.