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CES 2018 : Day 4 – Hearables

by Steven Waltzer | Jan 17, 2018

Strategy Analytics Wearables Service brings you daily coverage of the year’s largest consumer electronics convention: CES 2018.  Each day’s post will focus on a different wearable device type, with day 4 covering Hearables.

See our Day 1 blog on smartwatches here, our Day 2 blogs on wearable enabling technologies here and head mounted displays here, and our day 3 blog on feature watches here.

Major Hearables announcements from the show floor this year include:

  • Nuheara has announced the LiveIQ, an entry level product, and the IQBuds Boost, a high-tier product, more fully filling out their product line to appease to multiple price points.  Their new EarID technology also offers custom listening profiles – essentially sound augmentation - based on a specific individual’s hearing needs, largely targeting those affected by hearing loss.
  • Bragi, via a partnership with Mimi Hearing Technologies, announced Project Ears – an initiative to tackle hearing issues such as tinnitus via OTC hearables with FDA approval
  • ReCon launched an app/Apple Watch/hearing aid trio that can invoke preset profiles for different hearing environments, and can also pipe in 2-way audio from phone or watch.

A major takeaway here is that Hearables makers are looking to take on the OTC hearing aid category with audiogram-like self diagnostic tools/apps leveraging AI to fine tune the amplification to the user's audiogram results, for which we see a major need.  It will start to disrupt the low end of the hearing aid biz, which is also moving in this direction of using Apps with true hearing aids. When deregulation comes to hearing aid makers and they can go OTC, this is the setup they will push down market, audiologists watch out!

Exhibit 1: Nuheara LiveIQ

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