Daily Updates, Future Ear Radio, hearables

Future Ear Daily Update: 4-25-19

Nuheara Is Still Standing

I’ve recently written quite a bit about the changing landscape of hearables and how we’re seeing companies like Samsung and Amazon offering, or poised to start offering, in-the-ear devices, while former players like Bragi have exited from selling hardware. In the midst of all this change, it should not be forgotten that one of the original hearables companies, Australian-based Nuheara, is alive and well and I wanted to use today’s update to highlight their intended path of success.

I caught up with co-founder of the company, David Cannington, for this week’s episode of Oaktree TV (the weekly video series I produce for my company) to talk about how Nuheara is navigating the hearables’ waters that are seeing new predators enter and old foes go belly up. David told me that the company started out as a consumer electronics company, but has since entered into the hearing healthcare space as it was a sweet spot area for the company’s technology.

This is an interesting shift, as it moves Nuheara’s products further away from offerings like AirPods/Galaxy Buds/Pixel Buds/”Alexa Pods”, and more toward med-tech, like hearing aids. While hearing aids cater to the full spectrum of hearing loss, a significant portion of the people with mild to moderate hearing loss do not opt to purchase and wear hearing aids, typically due to the cost or stigma associated with hearing aids. This mild-moderate portion of the hearing loss spectrum is what Nuheara aims to cater to with its IQBuds Boost and the forthcoming IQBuds Max.

Nuheara’s IQBuds Boost use a proprietary calibration software called “EarID” which the company partnered with the National Acoustics Lab to create. The idea behind EarID is that when you go to set up your IQBuds Boost, you start by establishing your “EarID” through a hearing test in the devices’ companion app. Hearing loss is incredibly variable and different to each specific person, hence the name, EarID. Some people might hear low frequencies perfectly fine, but have a hard time hearing high or mid-range frequencies, other’s it might be the opposite. So, by taking EarID, you identify the way the device needs to amplify sound specific to you.

EarID is at the heart of Nuheara’s ecosystem that it is beginning to build out, starting with a proprietary TV streaming adapter that pairs with the IQBuds Boost so that you can listen to your TV through your EarID profile. The idea here is that Nuheara will roll out a slew of companion devices that pair with your Boost and stream audio that is then filtered through your Boost with your EarID. The sounds of life, tailored specifically to you.

As Nuheara moves toward the intersection between consumer electronics and med-tech, it will be interesting to see if they’re successful capturing the market in the middle. As we move toward a future where everyone tethers their ears for prolonged periods of time to the internet, it stands to reason that a wide variety of in-the-ear device options will emerge that focus on different features and functionality. Nuheara is targeting the folks that might need hearing aids, but don’t necessarily want “hearing aids” and instead want a form factor and price point that is more aligned with something from the consumer electronics space.

-Thanks for Reading-

Dave

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