MORE PEOPLE ARE EXPERIENCING HEARING LOSS
According to AARP, hearing loss is a silent and growing epidemic. Unfortunately, the incidence of hearing loss is not only limited to older people and the baby boomers, but is impacting the younger headset generation. According to the World Health Organization, 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss. The fact is, more people are experiencing hearing loss and it’s happening at a younger age.
WEARABLES & CONSUMERIZATION OF HEALTH CARE
The healthcare industry is going through a digital revolution with the invasion of new technology. Wearable devices are driving the do-it-yourself health movement as more and more consumers are using products like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, and Garmin to monitor their heart rate and blood pressure, count steps, and reduce stress. This trend of proactive self-monitoring and intervention is also already starting to impact hearing health, especially for younger consumers who have mild to moderate hearing loss.
RETAILER ECO-SYSTEM CHANGING
It’s telling that the largest retailers of hearing aids in the USA (Costco) and the UK (Specsavers) are not traditional hearing aid clinic companies. The trend of consumers turning to a wider range of retailers to address their hearing health will continue as retailers from Pharmacies (CVS/Walgreens), CE retailers (Best Buy), Optical (Specsavers/Feilmanns) and Online Retailers leverage the growing hearing health market. What was once the domain of audiologists and hearing aid companies, the dynamic is changing for those in need of hearing assistance.
INNOVATION WILL DRIVE ADOPTION
The major hearing aid companies launched new products with exciting new technical innovations in 2018. Further, non-traditional hearing device companies like Bose and Nuheara announced new products that combined earbud/headset technology with smart hearing technology. Whereas the hearing aid companies are innovating to maintain their high price points, these new companies to the hearing space are creating cutting-edge technologies at lower prices that fit a younger lifestyle. In this process, a new category of pre-hearing aid devices are evolving for those consumers not quite ready for a hearing aid. This all benefits the consumer as they have more choice around functionality and price when they consider a growing range of available Bluetooth-enabled hearing devices.
GOVERNMENTS MAKING CHANGES
Governments around the world are now taking action to bring accessibility and affordability to hearing healthcare. In the US, the Over-the-Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 is making its way through the FDA process and will soon allow consumers a way to purchase hearing aids over the counter without a prescription. In the UK, it has been announced that IQbuds™ BOOST will be available through the National Health Program starting in April 2019. This is the first time that an intelligent hearable device can be prescribed for someone with mild to moderate hearing loss as part of a national healthcare program. Given the cost of hearing aids and the emergence of new innovative products, this trend will continue as governments look to save money without compromising their country’s health standards.
CONSUMERS HAVE MORE CONTROL
The combination of changing government regulations, new products at lower prices, new technology innovations, new retailer eco-systems and new DIY options means that consumers will have more control in how they manage their hearing health. The traditional process of hearing healthcare is undergoing rapid change that will impact all aspects of the industry. Consumers will demand more at lower prices and be more inclined to proactively take control of their hearing health.
Our mission is to transform the way people hear by creating smart hearing solutions that are accessible and affordable. In delivering on this, Nuheara is embracing many of the changes that are impacting the industry. New innovative products and accessories, new consumer engagement models through the Nuheara App store, and new retailer partner platforms are all designed to cater to the underserved 80% of hearing-challenged consumers who have mild to moderate hearing loss. Enabling consumers to address their hearing health at an earlier stage with affordability makes both good health and business sense. Nuheara is at the forefront of this changing hearing health landscape.