A Japanese and a South Korean company joining the global hearing aids market


Olive Union and Litalico Inc.

The Japan Times reports that Litalico Inc., a Japanese social enterprise, will partner with the South Korean startup Olive Union Inc. to enter the global hearing aids market. The company aims to produce hearing aids at far more affordable prices than most current devices.

Olive Union Inc. has developed a wireless earphone linked to a smartphone app that functions as a hearing aid. The company plans to launch it in South Korea and the United States in October, and in in Japan in 2019. The amount of Litalico’s investment stake was not disclosed to the press, but it has been reported that Olive Union raised around 500 million Korean won (nearly USD 450,000) through the share sale.

The new hearing aid under development, which resembles an earbud, will be marketed for around USD 179 to USD 224, the article reports. More information about the device is not yet available, particularly any technical specifications.

Olive Union will target the markets in Korea and the United States first, before launching more widely. Its calculations are simple: in Europe and the United States, it is estimated that around 10% of the population has hearing loss, while in Japan, the self-reported hearing loss population is estimated at 14.3 million people, which is 11.3% of the population. Interestingly, user rates for hearing aids are very low in Asia compared to Western countries.

Source: The Japan Times