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EssilorLuxottica integrates tech into glasses to target hearing loss market
The glasses feature microphones, speakers and algorithms to amplify speech, but the technology is hidden in the frame.
EssilorLuxottica, a company created through a $49 billion merger, owns brands including Ray-Ban and Oakley. In July, Paul du Saillant, the company’s deputy CEO, outlined plans to expand the portfolio beyond sight by pairing “hearing solutions and prescription glasses.” The goal, du Saillant said in a statement, was to “remove the stigma of traditional hearing solutions.”
The company presented the product intended to achieve that goal last week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The product looks like a typical pair of prescription glasses. According to CNET, the glasses feature microphones, speakers and algorithms to enhance the hearing of the wearer. The focus is on enabling the wearer to better hear the person they are talking to by amplifying the voice of the person whom the wearer is facing.
EssilorLuxottica plans to launch the glasses starting in North America in the second half of the year and is yet to disclose the price publicly. The company is entering a market targeted by hearing specialists and tech companies, some of which were attracted by the growth opportunities created by new Food and Drug Administration rules allowing over-the-counter sales of hearing aids for people with mild- to moderate hearing loss.
Some of those rival companies have rethought the design of hearing aids, favouring products that look like in-ear headphones over the traditional, behind-the-ear style, but they still require people to wear an additional, visible device.
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Also published on Healthcareitnews.com
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