RCA isn't targeting the Big Band generation with the new device. It's geared more for younger buyers, some of whom, the company notes, may have damaged hearing from spending so much time hooked up to blasting headphones and exposed to booming car stereos.
RCA and its parent company Audiovox already make plenty of speakers and headphones and it's not a stretch to jump into the hearing aid realm from there. If people are misusing audio products to the point of hearing loss, you might as well step up and offer a solution for dealing with the aftermath.
There are some interesting features going on here, starting with no more trips to Radio Shack to find the right miniscule battery. The Symphonix is rechargeable and sports a 15-hour battery life. At less than a quarter of an ounce, it's also suitably lightweight and discreet. That low profile means it shouldn't get in the way of mobile phone use.
RCA says the device's digital sound-processing technology helps to distinguish between speech and background noise. The $299 price tag isn't too shabby in comparison with some of the big-bucks hearing aids on the market. Some of those run as high as $3,000.
The Symphonix isn't destined to become the next hot audio gadget, but its small design, rechargeable battery, and marketing image may encourage some people with hearing loss to finally invest in a little help.