OTC: earbuds marketed as audio enhancing alternatives


OTC Doppler Lab

CBS news recently ran an article on the tech start-up viewpoint concerning the new United States legislation on over-the-counter hearing devices.

Doppler Labs, a San Francisco-based startup, hopes to market a version of its Here One earbuds as an alternative to standard prescription hearing aids. The difference in price is huge: USD 300 for the start-up’s solution versus USD 2000 on average for conventional hearing aids. This is already a huge market that is being watched by multiple players. And it is expected to grow over the next few decades: a study published this year by researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland found that rates of hearing loss may nearly double by 2060.

According to Doppler Labs CEO and co-founder Noah Kraft, “this industry is going to be completely disrupted. The question is by whom.” Kraft believes that earbuds offer a wide range of functionalities that make them an excellent alternative to hearing aids. He says that earbuds can be used to stream music, answer calls, and raise or lower sounds around the user.

The Doppler Lab’s device is currently sold online and in certain stores as an earbud but under the new legislation on over-the-counter hearing aids, it could soon be marketed directly as a hearing aid to people with mild to moderate hearing loss. “What this legislation does is that it opens the market to technological leaders to say we’re actually looking at these problems differently,” Kraft told CBS. He also says that blurring the line between hearing aids and earbuds will help reduce the remaining stigma attached to hearing assistive devices.

Source: CBS