Digital hearing aid technology has become widespread in the last half-decade, with 92% of hearing aids purchased in 2006 being digital, up from 20% in 2000. Still, only around 20% of people who could benefit from hearing aids elect to use them, and the primary reasons for nonuse remain the same as before digital hearing aids: discomfort, aesthetics, and poor audio performance.
Stimulated by a growing environmental awareness, the push for alternative energy sources and green products is becoming more of a shove. Although environmental concerns have not affected the medical industry as intensely as some others, they will likely factor into future product development when possible. Exercising foresight, Texas Instruments Inc. (TI; Dallas; www.ti.com) has introduced a chip that will enable portable medical devices to draw power from alternative energy sources.
Brady Corp. (Milwaukee; www.bradyid.com) has been awarded a patent for its Wraptor wire ID printer/applicator. The device combines the printing and applying of labels on wires and cable into one automated step, streamlining production and eliminating time-consuming manual application of labels.