George Dennis, the entrepreneur who founded TV Ears in 1998, has plans to address hearing-assistance needs well beyond the company’s initial target market of consumers needing help hearing the TV. This month TV Ears announced its “3D” strategy in which it will bundle different sets of assistive listing devices (ALDs) — including the TV Ears wireless TV amplifier, the Hamilton CapTel i800 captioned telephone, either two hearing aids or two personal sound amplifiers (PSAPs), LACE listening training software, and a Dri-Dock hearing aid dryer — starting at the low-low price of $995.
You’ve probably seen ads for TV Ears, the simple wireless headset that provides nicely amplified audio from your television set. The rig looks a little funny, with the receive hanging below your chin from a set of foam ear buds, but it works. It’s maintained domestic harmony in countless households where the TV no longer has to be turned to maximum volume to compensate for Mom’s or Dad’s hearing loss. And, in an assistive listening device market where more sophisticated transmitters and receivers can run into the many hundreds or even thousands of dollars, TV Ears products start at a very affordable $99.95 USD.
TV Ears has been a big success, with more than a million sold. But that’s only the start. Dennis’s initial vision for TV Ears was to provide a “gateway” for consumers with mild hearing loss, knowing they would be more likely to migrate eventually to additional solutions if they discovered the benefits of hearing assistance with an easy-to-use product that meets a very specific need. Now Dennis has widened the gateway by reselling a product that addresses perhaps the second-biggest complaint of people with mild hearing loss — problems with the phone. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), TV Ears announced a deal with Hamilton CapTel to resell Hamilton’s i800 Captioned Telephone. At the same time, TV Ears has expanded its product set by offering personal sound amplifiers along with open-fit and receiver-in-the-hear hearing aids. [Read more…]