Nuheara’s (ASX: NUH) modern IoT-ready “smart personal hearing devices” could soon be offered en masse to Australian residents, courtesy of the government’s Hearing Services Program (HSP).
The HCP is a taxpayer-funded scheme offering support for Australian residents suffering from hearing loss. In the last budget, the scheme spent A$539 million providing direct support to over 3 million Australians with the scheme expected to grow further up to around A$566 million in this year’s budget.
The HSP constitutes a majority share of the overall Australian hearing services market, estimated to be 70% of the total market, thereby making it one of the largest government-funded hearing healthcare programs in the world.
According to Nuheara, its IQBuds and IQBuds Boost devices will be added to the ‘Device Schedule’, designated as Assisted Listening Devices (ALDs).
“This secures Nuheara’s mainstream position in the rapidly changing global hearing healthcare market,” said Mr Justin Miller, CEO of Nuheara.
“We are ready to fill a massive market gap by providing an ALD solution that is much more affordable and one which is more visually appealing and functional: an intelligent wireless earbud that also allows you to listen to music and take phone calls,” Mr Miller said.
From Las Vegas to Australia
Earlier this year, Nuheara launched its IQbuds product at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on the back of a strong commercial performance in 2017. Over the course of last year, Nuheara reported sales figures of 17,000 units with revenue reaching A$4.5 million.
Last year also saw Nuheara widely expand its high-street efforts with IQbuds slotting into their first-ever retail store in March 2017. Over the past 12 months, Nuheara has accelerated its mission plan of widening its global reach and says it has successfully opened “hundreds of stores across the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.”
More specifically, Nuheara established firm revenue streams at several well-known stores such as Best Buy, Selfridges and Brookstone. In addition to physical stores, Nuheara is also selling its products via Amazon, the largest online retailer in the world.
In addition to IQbuds, Nuheara has also developed IQbuds Boost. IQbuds Boost is a new product that complements the company’s existing wireless earbuds, IQbuds, which allow users to augment their hearing according to preferences, as well as connect hands-free to voice-enabled smart devices like phones and tablets.
According to Nuheara, IQbuds Boost provides several layers of additional functionality and commercial potential for long-term sales. The up-and-coming wearables company also said that the Australian government’s selection for Nuheara to become a part of the HSP goes a long way to validating Nuheara’s low-cost model.
“There is no other product on the market that allows you to take a clinically validated hearing test from the comfort of your own home and then automatically calibrates the device to your personalised hearing needs, using the globally renowned NAL-NL2 prescription procedure best known for fitting very expensive hearing aids,” Mr Miller said.