3 major trends making waves in the hearing and audio market

The hearing market is rapidly changing, whether it’s the creation of the over-the-counter hearing aids in the US or tech giants like Apple and Google implementing assistive listening features on their devices. So what are some of the key trends making waves in the audio market?

OTC Hearing Aids

The traditional hearing aid companies are facing a challenge from the consumer tech giants such as Sony and Bose . These and other leading brands have been prompted to enter the OTC hearing aid market by the new OTC hearing aid regulations which have opened up the sale of hearing aids beyond audiologists.  The tech companies are now offering new and innovative OTC hearing aids with a variety of features at different price points.  There are also a number of potential investors who are interested in developing and selling OTC hearing aids, including technology companies such as Apple, Google and Amazon.

Why are these companies moving into hearing? For two reasons. Firstly, because the market for hearing aids is, sadly, enormous and is set to grow rapidly: according to WHO, by 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people are likely to have some form of hearing loss. And with an ageing population globally, more than 2 billion people will need at least one assistive hearing product by 2030. The potential market for OTC hearing aids is even larger than this, since they can be marketed to a wider audience without the need for a specific focus on the hearing impaired. Because the price point for OTC hearing aids is often lower than for traditional hearing aids, they are an attractive option for those who are looking for a more affordable solution.

The second reason is that OTC hearing aids are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as traditional hearing aids. This makes entry to the market easier and less costly,

Bluetooth SIG LE is here

With over 5 billion products shipping each year, Bluetooth technology is the most widely deployed wireless standard in the world. And now Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) has arrived – it’s the biggest change to wireless audio in 20 years.  It offers a more reliable connection and low latency giving users a much better listening experience than ever before. But the real transformation in the Bluetooth audio ecosystem over the next five-to-ten years is Auracast™ . Only possible with BLE, Auracast gives Bluetooth broadcast capabilities. This will revolutionise assistive listening solutions: audio transmitters will be able to broadcast one or several audio streams to an unlimited number of Auracast™ receivers such as BLE-enabled wireless earbuds. 

With the  combination of Bluetooth LE and Auracast™ technologies,  hearing aids and other assistive listening devices will be able to connect directly to a range of devices including smartphones and earbuds, providing a seamless and more intuitive user experience. Which adds up to an even bigger market for assistive listening; users will be able to combine audio streaming, improved video and audio calling and assistive listening on just one device. 

TWS Earbud Market is expected to grow rapidly

The global TWS  earbuds market size was valued at USD 35.37 billion in 2021 and is expected to register a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.9% from 2022 to 2030, according to Grand View Research

New brands are entering this market every day, and consumers can choose between a huge variety of devices that target different user needs. 

These earbuds are popular with consumers because they are small, portable, and easy to use. They are also becoming more powerful, with longer battery life. But the massive increase in demand is driven by the need for great sound quality. This makes wireless earbuds an attractive platform for hearing technology, with many companies developing TWS earbuds that offer hearing enhancement and assistive listening features.

Audiotelligence's aiso technology

The key players in the TWS earbud market are Sony, Samsung, Beats by Dr. Dre and Apple. They are all predicted to play a major role in the market in 2023. In 2022 these well-known brands released several high-quality truly wireless earbuds : Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro, Sony WF-1000XM4, Google Pixel Buds Pro Pro. Beats by Dr Dre and their Beats Studio Buds True Wireless is also expected to shake the market this year. What about Apple? The prediction is that Apple will continue its growth in the market, with its new Apple AirPods Pro 2 earbuds likely to become a very popular choice for users.

How can you make your product stand out?

In an overcrowded market, it’s not enough to just offer better value or access to more features. You need to ensure your product stands out from the competition. To do this, it’s essential to not only understand what consumers are looking for, but also demonstrate how your product can make a real difference to their lives, not just their audio experience. 

How do you find out what your users want? A good place to start is Qualcomm’s State of Sound of Report 2022 . According to this massive survey of consumer needs and must-haves, 58% of respondents are seeking either high-resolution or lossless audio quality. It also shows that consumers are ready for Bluetooth® LE Audio. A third of respondents want LE Audio features such as Broadcast audio in their next devices. So, the question is, is your product future-ready…?

For AudioTelligence the future is defined by a combination of market forces, customer insights and our team’s passion to keep pushing the possibilities of our tech further and further – we’re working on a solution that not only elevates the user’s experience and provides better audio quality, but does it in an attractive form factor.



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