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.
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.