EssilorLuxottica has announced the Nuance Audio glasses – a pair of smart glasses that work as a hearing aid for people with hearing loss.
The glasses are produced with Israeli firm Nuance Hearing, which it acquired in 2023, and is aimed at people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
EssilorLuxottica claims that there are 1.2bn people globally with this low level of hearing loss, who still struggle in situations such as busy rooms or cocktail parties.
The company says that there are no hearing products aimed at people with minor hearing loss, that still struggle in some environments.
The Nuance Audio glasses use a mic array beamformer, positioned on the front of the frames, to identify the voice of the person you're talkung to. They use a self calibrating head profile, to target that sound, rather than simply amplifying the sound of the entire room.
The glasses will also reduce the sound of your own voice, so you can’t hear yourself louder.
This all has to be done at low latency, so there’s no delay to have the person’s voice delivered to your ears.
The Nuane Audio glasses doesn’t use bone conduction, but an open ear speaker in the arm, much like the Ray-Ban Meta. We highly rated the audio quality for music in our Ray-Ban review, so it’s good to see another application of the technology.
Unlike hearing aids, the tech is completely invisible and contained in what appears to be a totally standard pair of glasses.
EssilorLuxottica says that this is all packed into frame that weighs just 43g. It will come in two styles, three sizes, and arrive in black and red.
The glasses only require a simple one minute calibration process via the app, compared to hours with an audiologist for the set up of a traditional hearing aid.
EssilorLuxottica claims “almost a day of battery life” and it will use a wireless charging pad – not charging case as used on the Ray-Ban Meta.
The Nuance Audio glasses are set to launch later in Q4 2024, after the company registers with the FDA as a OTC Hearing Aid Class 1 device. Europe will follow in 2025.
There’s no price tag as yet, but the company says it will will be around 1/4 of a traditional pair of hearing aid, which is average $4,600. So expect them to land for around $1,000.
After the success of the Ray-Ban Meta smartglasses, it's great to see so much of the innovation here used for a subset of users that are under catered for. This is a product that has the potential to help so many people, who simply find it difficult to socialize or work in busy settings.
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