Sonova launches its first OTC hearing aid with an "In-Clinic Care Package" Option. Its intention is clear all day long.
- Published on 21 June 2023
For the OTC-ologists predicting that all big hearing aid manufacturers will eventually take the plunge and launch over-the-counter devices, June 20 of 2023 was one of those days when a special sighting was reported.
It is likely now that such birds of legend as the Sennheiser All-Day Clear will quickly become as common as the House Sparrow but, for the earnest observer, the devil is of course in the details. And this first OTC launch by Swiss hearing giant Sonova, under the brand name of the consumer division of Sennheiser, bought into the Sonova stable in 2022, certainly has the intricacies of a clever decoy duck.
The words of Sonova CEO, Arnd Kaldowski, make it very clear that the product strategy adheres to the much-kicked-around reasoning that over-the-counter product is best seen as a way to lure hearing-impaired persons into practices where they will benefit more from professional audiological guidance than possibly struggling to get the self-fit just right.
"With the upcoming launch of All-Day Clear, we are offering the HCP a great opportunity to connect to consumers sooner and the option to expand their engagement over time,” says Kaldowski, referring to an option for customers that audiologists will hope they do choose: "those consumers seeking the peace of mind that a local HCP can provide have the option to purchase the In-Clinic Care Package."
This In-Clinic Care Package is, we must underline, an option, not a necessity. It is to be supposed that the related app will provide the buyer with all they need to make a good fist of the fitting process. But this package, then, is the optional support of a hearing care professional that the buyer can go for.
Intelligent scene detection
Otherwise, the device is available in two unique designs and consumers can customise it, guided by an intuitive All‐Day Clear app. Like an earbud and headphone tech, it is enabled for music streaming from Bluetooth enabled devices, including iOS and Android mobile phones. Powered by Sonova technology, the hearing aids feature intelligent scene detection that monitors the person’s environment for seamless optimization of speech and music, all provided by a compact rechargeable device offering, say Sonova, up to 16 hours of hearing performance.
Ease of purchase...and how much do they cost?
There are, in fact, two devices with unique designs, All-Day Clear and All-Day Clear Slim.Sales will start from mid-July at sennheiser-hearing.com, and via select retailers and hearing care professionals at an MSRP of $1,399.95 and $1,499.95, respectively.The free All-Day Clear App will be made available for download on the App Store (iOS) and Google Play Store (Android) at that time.
So, you can buy them from a smartphone, and to make things easier, each purchase comes with a reassuring 45-day risk-free trial. Jill Goosen, Sennheiser All-Day Clear Product Manager adds: “We made the entire ownership path effortless - especially for those who feel they’re not ready for the prescription approach. Still, for those DIY consumers that may want the safety net of a hearing care professional at a later date, or to purchase their hearing aids from a hearing care professional, All-Day Clear provides the best of both worlds.”
Sonova covers the hearing market from different angles
The marketing of this inevitable move into OTC by Sonova reveals the growing dimensions of the hearing market as it expands from medical to the luxury and lifestyle dynamics of listenables, a flux Sonova's Group Vice President Consumer Hearing, Martin Grieder is well aware of: “We are now very well placed to meet the needs of modern, tech-savvy consumers, thanks to the broad range of medical and consumer distribution channels across Sonova, as well as a growing range of hearing solutions under the Sennheiser brand.
The broader range of Sennheiser-branded hearing solutions includes a growing range of early entry devices designed to provide hearing support in specific situations, such as understanding speech in a noisy restaurant with Conversation Clear Plus, or on TV with TV Clear. THe group is currently expanding their distribution further, with two dedicated options for its HCP customers, while it also has SoundProtex and SoundProtex Plus, high-fidelity hearing protection earplugs which use advanced membrane filter technology to help prevent hearing damage at concerts and loud environments.
The strategy is underlined too by Clara Beck, Sennheiser Hearing Category Director: "All-Day Clear comes at a time when US consumers are seeking technology that can instantly improve their lives,” says. “The over-the-counter legislation allows us to bridge a sizeable gap in the hearing devices market by enhancing ready-to-wear solutions with our extensive acoustics and speech enhancement expertise.”