Six Trends That Will Impact Hearing Healthcare

MORE PEOPLE WITH HEARING LOSS

According to AARP, hearing loss is a silent and growing epidemic.  The incidence of hearing loss is unfortunately not only limited to older people and the baby boomers, but is impacting the 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 its 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 devices like the Apple Watch, Fitbit, Garmin, etc. devices to take control of their health care.  Currently being used for heart rate and blood pressure monitoring, step counting, heart health and stress reduction, this trend of proactive self-monitoring and intervention will no doubt 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 wide range of retailers to address their hearing health needs will continue as retailers from Pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens), CE retailers (Best Buy), Optical (Specsavers, Feilmanns) and Online Retailers leverage the growing hearing health market. 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 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.

NUHEARA’S MISSION

Our mission is to transform the way people hear by creating smart hearing solutions that are accessible and affordable.  In delivering on this mission, 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 and ease of access make both good health and business sense.  Nuheara plans to be on the forefront of this changing hearing health landscape.