Daily Updates, Future Ear Radio

Nearly Half of Adults 60+ Use their Smart Speaker Daily (Future Ear Daily Update 6-25-19)

Building the Daily Habit

From Voicebot’s Smart Speaker Market Data 1/19

Voicebot released some data findings last week, and one stat that really caught my eye was that 46.6% of adults aged 60 and older use their smart speaker daily. It should be noted that this same cohort, adults aged 60+, only comprise 20% of the total smart speaker ownership base, but the frequency of usage matters more in my opinion. The reason is that, as Bret Kinsella often points out, smart speakers are like training wheels in terms of getting people to adopt the habit. Once the habit of defaulting to speak to your smart assistant(s) begins to form, that habit starts to spread out beyond the smart speaker and into more modalities like our phones, cars, computers, and Bluetooth in-the-ear devices.

I’ve written pretty extensively about the developing trend of integrating smart assistants into the recently minted “smart” Bluetooth connected hearing aids. As I wrote about in a recent Voicebot article, the leading indicator of hearing loss tends to be age. As we get older, our hearing depreciates due to a variety of factors such as long-term exposure to harmful sound levels or the degeneration of sensory cells. In short, the bulk of the people wearing hearing aids are in the 60+ cohort, which we know from Voicebot’s data that when exposed to the utility of voice assistants and the accompanying voice user interface, about half of which will gravitate toward using it daily.

By adding in more facets to hearing aids, such as Bluetooth streaming or a home for a smart assistant, the value proposition increases. A hearing aid that has the single function of amplification is compelling in its own right, but adding in more functionality is gravy. Some potential hearing aid users might not find quick access to a smart assistant or podcast streaming that compelling, but for others, it might be what gets them over the hump and begin wearing hearing aids.

The fact of the matter is that there’s crossover here. There are likely hearing aid candidates that are using their smart speakers daily, and would find it attractive if they knew their Bluetooth hearing aids can function as a smart speaker in their own right. Vice-versa, there are likely hearing aid users that might find voice assistants really compelling, but have yet to be exposed to the technology because they don’t own a smart speaker. There’s a great opportunity forming here for hearing healthcare professionals to include this emerging aspect of Bluetooth hearing aids in the pitch during the initial patient consultation.

-Thanks for Reading-

Dave

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