Hipper Reputation Hearing Aids

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Are Hearing Aids Finally Getting a Hipper Reputation?

Glasses have elevated to the next level and are being used as virtual reality tech tools. Is the future of hearing aids becoming equally cutting-edge and technologically advanced? Mega-electronics brands are entering the hearing aid market, so will hearing aids finally get a hipper reputation and become as innovative as these next-level glasses?

In a hurry? Here's a brief summary.

  • The growth of OTC devices might shift the narrative around the stigma of hearing loss
  • Big electronics brands are entering the hearing aid business
  • The newest devices feature innovative technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning

Glasses have elevated to the next level. Now, they’re not only used as visually assistive devices and fashion accessories but are also being utilized within the world of technology with virtual reality. For instance, Apple’s new Vision Pro glasses combine the virtual world with the real world, blending digital content with each wearer’s physical space. Wearers can navigate with their eyes, hands, and voice, transforming any room into a personal theater for movies, shows, and games, using these glasses as cutting-edge, immersive technology tools.    

Now, is the future of hearing aids becoming equally innovative, technologically advanced – and even (dare we say it?) hip? Now that mega-electronics brands are entering the hearing aid market, will hearing aids finally get a hipper reputation and become as innovative as these next level glasses? 

The Growth of OTC Hearing Aids 

GROWTH Of OTC Hearing Aids Auditdata

A huge, ongoing issue around hearing aids has been low adoption rates. Only about 20% of adults who could benefit from hearing aids actually use them, often because of access and affordability issues but also frequently because people don’t want to wear them 

There’s hope that over the counter (OTC) hearing aids will help solve this problem and get more people with hearing loss to wear the devices. One recent study showed that OTC hearing aids increased uptake and could be more cost-effective than traditional hearing aids given at a hearing clinic. Per another study, people with mild to moderate hearing loss were able to use self-fitted hearing aids effectively 

The OTC hearing market was valued at about $1 billion in 2022 and is expected to grow to $1.7 billion by 2030.  In fact, because of the rapidly growing OTC hearing market, large retailers – including WalMart and CVS – have stopped providing onsite hearing services for their customers.  

While OTC hearing aids are growing rapidly, experts say that the over-the-counter market can't match what patients get seeing an audiologist and being fitted for hearing aids at a hearing clinic. 

It’s important to note that there’s a rapidly growing need for hearing aids, driven, in part, by an aging population. But there's also an increasing number of younger people who are experiencing hearing loss — likely caused by loud music and the use of headphones.   

The odds of having hearing loss tend to increase with age. Studies show that approximately 40-50% of people over 75, 31% of people over 65, 14% of Baby Boomers, and 7% of Gen Xers have hearing loss. But interestingly, the purchasing trends don’t reflect those numbers. When looking at hearing aid adoption rate by age, younger people (under 35) purchase hearing aids at higher rates than the 35-64 demographic.  

Will more people – especially the younger demographic – look at hearing aid technology as an appealing option? 

Are Electronics Brands Destigmatizing Hearing Aids? 

Destigmatizing hearing aids

Several consumer electronics leaders have entered the OTC hearing aid market, which reached $10 billion less than a year after the FDA ruled that hearing aids could be sold over the counter. Until now, the OTC hearing aid market has been primarily dominated by audiology companies, but with these large, global brands entering the sector, will it make hearing aids – which have previously come with a “stigma” – seem more modern, innovative, and desirable?  

There may be a perception shift, with these electronics brands – and exciting new technologies – driving a “destigmatization” in the hearing aid space. Prescription and OTC models have evolved, allowing wearers to use Bluetooth to stream calls or music, apps to adjust the devices, and other appealing technological advancements.

Additionally, seeing a desirable brand’s logo on a hearing aid could change the narrative for many people, especially within the younger demographics, potentially making it seem more acceptable, hip, and cool to wear hearing aids. 

How Hearing Aid Brands Are Making Devices Cooler 

Hearing Aids Are Becoming Cooler

Hearing aid brands are trying to make their devices as cool as Apple's AirPods. (It's important to monitor your use of AirPods as listening to music or other content that is too loud for too long can damage your hearing.) In fact, some companies have hired ex-Apple staff to bring the knowledge, innovation, and passion from Apple to help make their hearing aids exceptional. 

The newest devices feature innovative technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, which effectively filter out ambient noise so voices can be heard more intelligibly 

Certain devices can even receive software updates over-the-air and through an app.  

It’s exciting to see companies producing and marketing hearing aids that are cooler and more technologically advanced than ever before. 

Are Hearing Aids Getting A Hipper Reputation?

Hearing Aids Are Hipper Auditdata

Large, global brands are marketing their easy, do-it-yourself hearing solutions for those with signs of mild to moderate hearing loss. They promote how their hearing devices leverage groundbreaking technology to deliver exceptional sound quality in a sleek design, with a long battery life, to enhance users’ experiences in every environment. 

Increasingly, brands are spotlighting their hearing aids’ cutting-edge technologies and desirable features, promoting that they’re rechargeable, Bluetooth enabled, able to stream phone calls, and be personalized to each user’s needs.  

Glasses have evolved tremendously over the years and are now seen as more than “just” a visual aid. They can now be used as a groundbreaking tech tool to enhance the virtual reality experience.  

Will hearing aids follow suit? Will the latest tech innovations mean that hearing aids deliver exceptional sound quality, sleeker designs, better connectivity, more appealing features, and a better customer experience? Will well-known, popular electronics brands make hearing devices more desirable and less stigmatizing? And what impact will we see now that retailers like WalMart and CVS no longer provide hearing services for their customers due to the rising popularity of OTC hearing aids? 

It will also be interesting to see if a new, tech-savvy generation is more accepting of these new, innovative hearing aids. It appears that could be the case and, if so, that could change the audiology industry (and the perception of hearing aids) in a positive way. 

Will hearing aids finally get a hipper reputation? Only time will tell for sure, but all indications point to yes. 

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