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Jacoti BV, a Belgian-based medical technology company, announced the immediate licensing availability of OTC Ready®, Jacoti’s hearing software platform. OTC Ready® enables headphone/earbud manufacturers using the Qualcomm 51XX SoC to address the likely requirements of the upcoming US over-the-counter hearing aid market. Comprising an audiologically-based pure-tone hearing test, NAL-based hearing loss compensation, and Medical Device company registration in both the US and Europe, OTC Ready® enables companies to create unique, powerful, and affordable hearing devices for the vast untapped market of consumers with mild to moderate hearing loss.
“Because they are so expensive and require visits to an audiologist, conventional hearing aids are rarely used by the nearly 25 million Americans with mild to moderate hearing loss,” said Jacques Kinsbergen, founder and CEO of Jacoti.
To encourage wider use of hearing technology, the US Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017 requires the FDA to create and regulate a category of medical-grade over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids suitable for mild to moderate losses. The final guidance will be published this year and many manufacturers have already signalled an eagerness to enter this significant new market.
To address the challenges of OTC hearing aid capabilities, Jacoti — a well-established registered software medical hearing device manufacturer — partnered with Qualcomm to embed its technology in Qualcomm’s QCC 51XX series, a System on a Chip (SoC) that is widely used to create wireless stereo headsets and earbuds for the consumer market.
In order to differentiate their products from competitors and to enrich the overall consumer experience, many companies see an opportunity to “tune” their headsets and earbuds to the precise and unique needs of their customers. Many of these devices also have ear-level microphones and built-in signal processing to drive active noise cancellation (ANC) features as well as a “live mode” in which the mics can capture environmental sounds and personalise the sound.
For manufacturers who wish to enter the wide emerging market of direct-to-consumer hearing aids, the combination of the Qualcomm QCC 51xx SoC and Jacoti’s OTC Ready® software technology provides the ideal platform for rapid market entry.