The Do-It-Yourself Hearing Aid

The Do-It-Yourself Hearing Aid

The Future of Hearing Health?

Worldwide, nearly half a billion people suffer from disabling hearing loss, a number that is expected to reach 900 million by 2050. Yet, it is estimated that only 17% of those who need a hearing aid actually use one, with only 17 million hearing aids sold globally each year. These figures, drawn from the World Health Organization’s first-ever World Report on Hearing, released in March, highlight the continued failure of the conventional hearing aid business model.[1]

Price remains the biggest barrier to access, with the average pair of hearing aids in the United States costing $4,700. In some cases, hearing aids can even be priced at upwards of $6,000 per ear for the modern and functionality rich ones. To make matters worse, this cost is generally not covered by insurers.

But for the lucky few who do have insurance coverage, access to hearing aids can still be extremely limited. A global shortage of hearing health professionals makes finding audiologists (who perform hearing aid fittings) problematic. Even in developed countries, there may only be five audiologists per million people, a situation that will only worsen as the global population ages.[2]

In developing regions of the world, circumstances are more dire still: In many countries there are simply no audiologists whatsoever.[3]

Suffice it to say, the hearing aid industry is overdue for drastic changes—both in terms of pricing and accessibility.

The solution

Hope is on the way. The same pattern of technological disruption that has affected so many industries—from hospitality to telecommunications—is on track to reshape the market for hearing aids.

Over the last decade, technological innovation, greater governmental support and increasing market demand have finally made it possible to create a truly “do-it-yourself” (DIY) hearing aid—an inexpensive, over-the-counter-solution that is fully self-fitting (user-configurable).

At Audientes, we stand at the forefront of this DIY revolution. For the last seven years, our team has drawn on Scandinavian design principles, refining a premium, elegant and cost-effective hearing aid.

Our hearing aid costs only a small fraction of what traditional models do. And, because it is binaural (for both ears), you only ever need to purchase a single device.

What’s more, our hearing aid is self-fitting, allowing users to conduct their own hearing exams and perform fine tuning in just a few simple steps—either via the built-in neckband controls or a smartphone app.

The self-fitting advantage

What if people with hearing loss could safely and effectively calibrate their own hearing aids, in the comfort of their own homes?

In fact, a growing body of research suggests that they can—and with outcomes that match or surpass conventional fitting methods.

A recent report by the United States’ National Academy of Sciences found “no evidence that a medical evaluation [prior to purchasing a hearing aid] … provides any clinically meaningful benefit.” [4]

Moreover, a 2020 study comparing self-fitted and audiologist-fitted hearing aids determined that most users preferred the sound quality of self-fitted models.[5]

Perhaps findings like these shouldn’t come as a surprise. After all, doesn’t it make sense for hearing aids to be configured in the places where they will actually be used—rather than in a clinic?

At Audientes, we’ve made the self-fitting process easier and more powerful than ever before. With our hearing aids, each of your ears is given a unique hearing profile that can be fine-tuned over time—based not only on user input but also on smart, cloud-based updates.

Furthermore, Audientes devices give you the ability to create customized location-based profiles, delivering crystal clear audio where you need it most—whether at home, in a coffee shop or on your daily commute.

Concluding remarks

With its high barriers to entry, the conventional hearing aid sales and distribution model has left countless millions unable to interact with friends and family, participate in the workforce, or simply enjoy a favorite television program.

As an emerging player in the hearing health sector, Audientes is poised to transform the market for hearing aids, providing low-cost, self-fitting options that place power where it should be—in the hands of consumers.

[1] World report on hearing. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2021.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Hall, James W. III PhD So Many Ears and So Few Audiologists, The Hearing Journal: March 2014 – Volume 67 – Issue 3 – p 2 doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000445220.22112.f2

[4] National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2016. Hearing Health Care for Adults: Priorities for Improving Access and Affordability. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

[5] Sabin AT, Van Tasell DJ, Rabinowitz B, Dhar S. Validation of a Self-Fitting Method for Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids.Trends in Hearing. January 2020. doi:10.1177/2331216519900589