Hearables, Hearing Enhancers and Hearing Aids
 
audioXpress: When a user already has hearing problems and uses your product, he can use it already as an enhancer. When do products like The Dash become a hearing aid?
Nikolaj Hviid: I think a hearing enhancer is a very different thing from a hearing aid. It's not just the name that makes the product, it's also the services attached to it. The research being applied, and the responsibility implied and taken. Hearing aid companies have invested heavily in the scientific approach of hearing – I think we do that too, but it's totally different. When we get a hearing aid and we pay the money that it costs, usually our health insurer pays for it. And those companies who built hearing aids usually don't get their money after a long, long, time after they sold it. So, those companies have huge financial challenges.
If you buy a hearing aid, those companies usually have a “no thrills” service policy and offer a replacement in case the product fails throughout the warranty life, which is often five years. The actual user might actually own two or three products. They can replace them two or three times throughout their lifetime. That's a service you need to pay for.
Now, if you are buying a hearing enhancer, you are not necessarily getting that service. You pay for the experience, and often – I hope not, but often, just pay for the product.
That's a big difference.
There are sixty million Americans that would need a hearing enhancement or hearing aid. Yet, there only six million people using it, because the other 54 million don't want to spend the money, or the time, or the effort, or think they don't need it. But there's a huge unsatisfied market there. They might actually need a hearing aid, but they might also just use an occasional hearing enhancer.
 
AX: Do you think that some of those medically-oriented hearing aid companies will also enter that space?
NH: I hope they do! I founded a company with the ambition of enabling people and making people more capable. If anything I do turns into more people getting help, for me, it would feel great. Not everything is about making money. I like to make enough money that I can pay my people, and what we do, but I would be happy. There's no vanity in it.
Hearing aids are not a luxury item, because it is a tool for those people. They need it and it's very important to them. But there's this huge unsatisfied group of people that have an issue that they need to deal with. I even see that many people that would buy our product, will eventually go and buy a hearing aid. Because they will realize that what we can do for them is OK, but that they actually need that. What we do will also help making hearing aids more accessible.
 
"I founded a company with the ambition of enabling people and making people more capable. If anything I do turns into more people getting help, for me, it would feel great."
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