Modular Hearing Aids

February 2020.

Back in 2018 an Aussie company developed a modular hearing aid, the first of its kind. Since the innovation however few companies have seized upon the idea of making modular hearing aids. Possibly because of the price. $5400 CDN or $5990 AUD for a pair.

The world’s first modular hearing aid was designed by Melbourne-based hearing aid designer Blamey Saunders. His design changed the way hearing aids look and function. The new style of hearing aid, called Facett, at the time received some glitzy fanfare at the Sydney Opera House and won awards from Australia’s prestigious Good Design Award of the Year and the CSIRO Design Innovation Award for their device.

Despite the awards and the fanfare however, the sales... fell flat, and competitors haven't really bothered with the concept of modular design.

What makes modular hearing aids different than other models is that the battery section of the hearing aid is modular and connects into place with magnets. That is it. A bit gimmicky, and not enough to justify the larger price tag.

Yes, it has its advantages. It makes it way easier to switch batteries, especially in the dark.

Rechargeable batteries for hearing aids are widely available now and are becoming easier to use, however it would make sense if other hearing aids manufacturers adopted some of the design features of a modular approach - while still maintaining whatever makes their own brands of hearing aids special.

So why are other companies not going with the modular battery approach?

An excellent question and we don't have an answer for you. Perhaps they simply think other methods are better. Or more affordable. Or easier for customers.

The Facett modular hearing aids comes with two pairs of battery modules, a small portable charging and drying pod, and they can be plugged in before a person goes to bed. The overnight charge will let a person use it a whole day without needing to switch.

The device settings are adjustable via a system called "IHearYou", by way of smartphone app or a tablet app. The Facett has high resolution sound, 96 output channels to choose from, and a software mechanism that isolates speech and lowers background noise.

Also... What is with the geometric design? The sharp geometric edges look like it might actually be painful to wear. That might be okay if you are into collecting minerals, but who wants to wear that?

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