Japan and United States
An affordable, Bluetooth-connected sound-amplifying device that looks similar to a standard earbud.
Hearing aids can be costly. The price tag can put them out of reach for many people with hearing impairments. The appearance of hearing aids can also deter people who are afraid the device will make them look older or draw attention.
The Olive Smart Ear by Olive Union is a hearing device that looks similar to a headphone, which helps wearers blend in with certain situations. For $299 each, they are also within the price range of more people.
The Smart Ear hearable is entirely customisable to suit the specific needs of the wearer. The device comes with a free iOS or Android app, which takes a new user through a five minute sound calibration test to learn the user’s environment and preferences. Sound settings can be adjusted any time using the app. The hearable technology filters sound to quiet background sounds using noise cancellation and amplifies what the user wants to hear, such as the TV or a conversation.
The device is Bluetooth-connected and can play music or answer phone calls. The Smart Ear can go for seven hours on a single charge and take around fourteen hours to recharge via USB. The company offers those not sure about their hearing a five minute hearing test. Different frequency sounds and matching unique noises to different pictures enables people to objectively understand the level of their hearing problem.
Currently, Olive Union is crowdfunding on Indiegogo to develop the Olive Pro, an updated version of their Smart Ear. They started with a goal of $20,000 and have raised close to $2 million.