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Jacoti is focused on mild to moderate hearing losses

20% of the global population have hearing loss (1.5 billion)

Number of people and percentage prevalence according to grades of hearing loss

Hearing loss distribution. 14.9% of the global population have mild hearing loss, 3.4% have moderate, 1.3% Moderately-severe, 0.4% Severe, 0.2% Profound and complete(WHO) World report on hearing

People with mild hearing issues are underserved

Despite hearing thresholds within normal limits, 26 million people still experience difficulty hearing in noise. Audiologists typically do not recommend hearing aids for such patients or even for those with clinically Mild Hearing Loss.

Nevertheless, despite hearing relatively well, people with milder hearing conditions often struggle to understand speech in noisy situations or the lyrics of songs. As found in people with more serious hearing losses, people with mild hearing loss wish to hear well in noise, not merely make sound louder.

70% of those with profound hearing loss uses a hearing solution, while only 10% of people with mild to moderate hearing loss are aidedHearing aid use currently covers less than 10% of the global need

A market penetration rate for hearing aids of 10% and lower, after 120 years of existence, suggests a dysfunctional business model

Reasons for the low adoption rate for traditional hearing aids include: the end user price of the product; a cumbersome user access and distribution model; limited overall audio quality; and stigma.

From the start, hearing aid designers focused on improving speech understanding and specifically targeted people with moderate to profound hearing loss. While understandable and logical, this approach resulted in the creation of hearing aids not well adapted to a wider market. Hearing aids based on this design model have reduced bandwidths that conserve system resources (like battery life) and high amplification that requires powerful and intrusive feedback cancellation algorithms. In addition, hearing aids designed according to traditional design constraints model are difficult even for well-trained audiologists to fit due to the ever-increasing complexity of their digital signal processing. Counter-intuitively, this additional complexity is often touted as a competitive differentiator when in fact it often leads to mis-fittings and reduced efficacy.

Finally, these design choices degrade the overall audio quality of the hearing aids. Many inexpensive consumer earphones feature far wider bandwidth and lower distortion than even the most expensive hearing aids. In other words, traditional hearing aids do not meet the high fidelity expectations of many users with milder hearing losses who, in addition to understanding speech, seek improved music enjoyment.

As a result of the technological limitations, hearing aids have being designed to be acceptable and useful to a very limited market segment of users in need of hearing support (less than 17% of the 466 million people worldwide who could benefit from hearing aids use them, according to the WHO).

See Jacoti presentation at Hearing4all Symposium The Future of Hearing

True Wireless Earphones can help “normalise” hearing assistance”

“Exceptional sound quality may turn out to be THE most important factor in persuading young people with milder hearing losses to purchase a hearing aid.”

Karl Strom, The Hearing Review editor

Blog: Sound Quality as a Tipping Point for the Younger, Milder Hearing Loss Market

The traditional single-tasking hearing aids of the past century that merely amplified speech are history. Today, people expect the devices they wear in their ears to deliver great sound — and a lot more. Users need the kind of inter-connectivity with digital technology that consumer products like True Wireless Earphones regularly deliver: music, video, podcast streaming, fitness monitoring, and voice command capability.

By combining in an attractive ear-worn device all the rich features that are common in consumer audio technology with clinically viable hearing assistance and personalisation, hearing accessibility becomes normalised and stigma is reduced. It’s simply one more consumer feature that a user can choose to use. This will lead to wider acceptance and use of hearing assistance among vastly more individuals who need hearing assistance and who are not well-served by traditional hearing aids: people with mild to moderate hearing losses.

Nearly
50% of people aged 12-35 years
are at risk of hearing loss

due to prolonged and excessive exposure to loud sounds, including music they listen to through personal audio devices.

New WHO-ITU standard
Everybody has hearing challenges. Physical, as noise-induced hearing loss, and environmental, as noisy environments
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