The Future of Hearables: The Next Generation of Hearables Will Be All About Health
Hearables are the most profitable section of the wearable tech industry. According to GlobalData, the global hearables market will reach $131 billion by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15.7% from 2023. Hearables that employ sensors to monitor the wearer’s health are gaining popularity, and market leaders are developing healthcare features for the next generation of devices.
The most obvious application of hearables is to assist those with hearing impairments. According to the World Health Organization, more than 900 million individuals worldwide will have debilitating hearing loss by 2050, up from 466 million in 2020. This group has traditionally been addressed by specialized hearing aid manufacturers, but it is also a big prospective market for hearables providers. In 2022, the FDA relaxed hearing aid requirements, enabling the sale of over-the-counter hearing aides to adults over the age of 18 with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. Apple, Bose, and Nuheara have introduced hearing aid-style sound amplification systems to their consumer-grade gadgets, presenting them as hearing aid replacements. Vendors will almost certainly continue to include sound amplification technologies in their hearables in order to attract consumers with minor hearing impairments.
Biometric monitoring can be done with hearables that have sensors and connectivity. They can, for example, assess body temperature through a wearer’s ear canal, which is thought to be more accurate than wrist temperature. Hearables can capture and communicate data such as a user’s heart rate and activity level to healthcare specialists as needed. This allows clinicians to monitor patients’ health problems in real time, make informed decisions, and intervene in a timely manner.
Hearables can detect movement and warn of falls
Biofeedback sensors, which may assess physiological signs of stress and anxiety such as heart rate variability, are included in some hearables. Users can then practice relaxation techniques while receiving real-time feedback. Accelerometers and gyroscopes in hearing aids can detect unexpected movements or falls. These devices can immediately notify carers or emergency services if a fall is detected, which is very important for elderly people who are prone to falling.
Hearables have various medicinal applications in the realm of otolaryngology, or ear, nose, and throat medicine. Hearables can be beneficial for early hearing examinations or tracking changes in hearing over time, potentially decreasing the need for frequent audiology visits. Tinnitus, a disorder characterized by ringing or buzzing sounds in the ears, can be controlled using hearables that produce calming sounds or configurable soundscapes to mask the tinnitus sounds and relieve discomfort.
While wearables have great potential for various healthcare applications, they must be created and utilized in accordance with applicable legislation and standards to assure safety, accuracy, and privacy. As technology advances, the potential applications of hearables in healthcare may grow even further, contributing to better patient outcomes and more personalized healthcare experiences.
Medical Device Network, a brand owned by GlobalData, was the first to build and publicize the future of hearables with health-tracking features.
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