New Class Of Internet-Connected In-Ear ‘Hearables’ Could Become A $5-Billion Dollar Market

By now most people have heard of “wearables,” the body-worn Internet-connected devices that perform multiple applications for consumers. Right now the most common of these are wristwatches or wristbands that monitor your vital signs during exercise. One research firm predicts the global market for wearables will grow to more than $30-billion USD by 2018.

But don’t be surprised when you start to hear a lot about a fast-growing subset of wearables called “hearables” – a new class of Internet-connected in-ear devices that provide multiple forms of communication and biometric monitoring with the potential to act as hearing aids or personal sound amplifiers as well. In fact, one well-informed analyst, Nick Hunn, predicts the annual global market for in-ear hearables will grow from zero to more than more than $5 billion by 2018.

The question for the hearing industry will be how well and quickly it can respond to the opportunity. [Continue reading]

An Independent Siemens Hearing Aid Business Could Be Great For The Hearing Industry

Yesterday’s announcement by Siemens that it will spin off its audiology and hearing instrument business as a separate, new publicly held company could be great news for the global hearing aid industry — but only if an independent, newly energized management team can overcome the complacency that has dogged the Siemens hearing business in recent years.

If the new entity fails to command a premium share price by raising its profile, kickstarting its growth, and regaining its historic leadership position in the hearing aid industry, it might just as easily be quickly gobbled up by a competitor or another conglomerate and disappear. If that happens it will be a sad day, because the hearing industry needs more dynamic independent competitors capable of driving new technologies into the marketplace at all price points and in all product categories.

In announcing its “Vision 2020″ corporate reorganization, Siemens said it will streamline down to a limited number of strategic technology businesses — hearing aids not included. [Continue reading]

On Semiconductor’s New Digital Signal Processors Drive Hearing Aid Cost Reduction

With the introduction of two new digital signal processors (DSPs) integrating advanced sound processing functions, On Semiconductor is taking another step in the march to lower-cost manufacturing of both high-end and entry-level hearing aids. The … [Continue reading]