Hearing aids set to boom but what’s holding them back?

According to one of the largest manufacturers of hearing aids in the world, 90% of people who have hearing deficiency do not have a hearing aid!

What’s more, they probably don’t want one.

This was the challenge for my keynote address to the 300+ attendees at the Asia Pacific Conference for Sivantos in Singapore on June 1st, 2018.

As I learned, hearing devices have totally transformed from the clunky, squeaking boxes my step-mother used to wear.

More natural sound (Own Voice Processing) and discrete, comfortable designs help overcome the stigma formerly associated with the wearer.

Users take advantage of bluetooth streaming functionality to tune in to their favourite channels when not conversing.

So what’s the problem? Why do so many older folks who need them, avoid them?

One aspect is price. These babies can be expensive, especially as they work best as a pair.

Hearing aids, like spectacles, are a sign of age, and no-one wants to ‘look’ old. The design and functionality of these new devices have largely addressed this issue, so there must be more to it.

Like the spectacle revolution, I believe more must be done to ‘normalise’ the wearer. Make them a fashion item. Sell the ‘cool’ of the bluetooth streaming to blur the lines between a high end pair of earbuds and a hearing device.

And as always, getting the product right is only one step in the customer journey. Make sure there are no barriers to older consumers throughout the communications, online, retail experiences.

People, young and old suffer hearing loss so, contrary to popular opinion, hearing aids are not ‘products for older people’ they are indeed, age-neutral. However, the combination of a dramatically ageing population and the increasing prevalence of hearing loss with age means that this business is set to boom.