Many wearers of face masks experience aggravation and frustration when they take off their face masks and the mask strings becoming entangled with ear worn devices such as behind the ear hearing aids, ear buds, ear worn Bluetooth devices, glasses, and large earrings.
EZ-OFFTM LLC, based in Atlanta, Georgia, has developed a simple, easy-to-use device that solves this nagging problem.
One under-reported result of the need to wear face masks during the COVID-19 pandemic: the dramatic rise in the number of lost, damaged, or broken behind-the-ear hearing aids due to the devices becoming entangled in face mask strings. When the wearer removes their face mask, the strings – often elastic – can literally catapult the hearing aid through the air.
“We are in regular contact with thousands of audiologists across the country,” explains Alison Hartman, Director of Product Management for Oaktree Products, the #1 supplier of hearing accessory products to audiologists in the U.S., “and many of them tell us mask entanglements have caused significant loss and damage to hearing aids for their patients.
“I am sure insurance claims have skyrocketed since the COVID pandemic started. When we saw EZ Off™, we knew Oaktree had to be the first to offer it.”
Hearing aids can cost as much as several thousand dollars each, so a lost or broken device is not an inexpensive problem for the owner. There is also the real inconvenience of diminished hearing while a hearing aid wearer waits for a replacement.
“I wear two behind-the-ear hearing aids daily, and repeatedly had them pulled out of my ears by face mask string snags,” shared Dr. Ron Blum, the inventor of EZ Off™. “My wife and I live in a retirement community, and I heard similar issues from a number of our neighbors many of whom either lost or damaged their hearing aids due to this problem. I felt compelled to figure out how to solve the challenge.”
“Necessity really is the mother of invention.” Dr. Blum is a serial inventor, named on over 1,000 patents and patent applications in the U.S. and other countries, so he knew how to quickly go from an idea to a prototype, to retail. He made a series of hand sketches, which he then converted into scaled drawings. Early working prototypes were made on a 3-D printer, and Ron modified them by hand based on actual use.
After six iterations and hundreds of hours of wearer testing, EZ Off™ was born.
“Oaktree is the best single partner to help us quickly get EZ Off™ to those who can benefit from it most: hearing aid wearers,” states EZ Off™ Stuart Sheldon, President and CEO of EZ-Off LLC. “Oaktree was on board the moment they heard about the EZ Off™ story.
“EZ Off™ also helps keep face mask strings from becoming entangled with AirPods and other wireless ear buds, glasses, and large earrings, so the potential audience is very large. But it all starts with hearing aid wearers.”
Audiologists who want to offer EZ Off™ to their patients can contact Oaktree at 1 (800) 347-1960 or at www.oaktreeproducts.com.
About Oaktree Products:
Established in 1992, Oaktree Products, Inc. serves as a resource for audiologists and other hearing health care professionals with a commitment to providing the highest level of customer service. As a multi-line distributor of hearing health care products, the company offers over 4,200 different products intended for use in the clinical environment or for resale to patients. In addition, Oaktree Products is a resource to the hearing industry and hearing health care professionals, offering information, product solutions, and technical training/education in various areas of clinical practice including hearing assistance technology, cerumen management, and infection control.
About EZ-Off LLC:
Founded in early 2021, EZ-Off LLC focuses on envisioning, designing, and bringing to market products that make life easier for hearing aid wearers and the general public. Built on team experience that includes the launch of over a dozen food and beverage brands, multiple invented products that have been sold and / or licensed to ten global companies, EZ-Off LLC knows how to meet the needs and exceed expectations of consumers, retailers, and wholesalers/distributors. To learn more about EZ Off™, please visit www.ezee-off.com or email [email protected].
Source: EZ-Off LLC, Oaktree Products, Inc.