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Assistive Technology for an Inclusive Society at CES 2023

01/24/2023

BOSTON, Jan. 23, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Mirroring the broader social trend of increasing awareness around inclusivity, exhibitors at CES 2023 highlighted the capabilities of consumer electronics to deliver assistive technology. IDTechEx attended the event, held January 5 – 8 in Las Vegas, and report on this key trend across interviews with exhibitors over the four days.

CES 2023 (1 of 2): Ten New Technologies for Older Adults

CES 2023 is, as the sponsors say, a wrap. Smaller by half (100,000) than in olden times, there were plenty of new tech offerings there. AARP sponsored an entire large area for its AgeTech Summit – talks and displays of new tech for an older adult market, cataloguing participants in an online directory. CTA Foundation (as part of CES and Eureka Park) sponsored its Accessibility Contest which featured tech for people with vision, hearing, or physical limitations. In other wrap-up non-surprises, entrepreneurs are shifting to the enterprise for funding, or that the digital health user experience is key to senior uptake. Meanwhile, AARP’s new trends report indicates that smartphone adoption has jumped, potentially over 80% for those aged 70+, no surprise given the 3G sunsetting and the need to replace old cellphones. Here are 10 new offerings of interest, all information from the company’s website or news articles:

Nuheara Expands US Retail Footprint With InnerScope Strategic Partnership

12/12/2022

BELLEVUE, Wash., Dec. 12, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Medical device and consumer electronics manufacturer Nuheara Limited (ASX:NUH) (Company or Nuheara) is pleased to announce a major expansion of its US retail footprint, from circa 300 points of sale currently to circa 4,600 over the coming months, with US FDA cleared self-fit hearing aids now being manufactured to fulfill initial orders from Best Buy and other US retail customers.

Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed with InnerScope to sell Nuheara OTC self-fit hearing aids in c1,500 Walmart and c1,700 Rite Aid stores

The Future of Sensors and Older Adults -- and other October blogs

So many really want to help older adults – yet so often ‘help’ can be elusive.   Look at the ludicrous amount of time it took to officially enable buying hearing aids over the counter. Look at the ten years or more between the first wave of useful sensor tech for seniors (2005 with GrandCare Systems) until the newer collection of offerings. And not least, look at the shortage of workers in the care industries and the obvious but elusive pay raise that would match the market of possible workers. Given the persistent (if perhaps wrong-headed) belief that 'aging in place' at home is the goal and that AgeTech is the solution, this should be the year in which pay is revisited and tech is deployed.  Or make that next year, since this year is winding down. Here are the blog posts:

Five 2022 AgeTech Trends That Matter to Older Adults

Taking stock of 2022 in AgeTech. We are approaching end of the year – it has been a good one for emerging technologies that can help older adults, today commonly known as AgeTech.  The timing is right – as 56 million Americans are now aged 65+, looming older population growth has awakened the sleeping giant. The investor and technology market, historically known for tech ageism, is beginning to wake up to the AgeTech opportunity. Why? As an aging population grows, the supporting labor force for aging services, both in communities and for in-home care, simply isn’t there, lured away by better pay across multiple sectors. What technologies can help mitigate this growing labor crisis in the senior care (home care, home health care, senior living, long-term-care) services market?

Why did FDA Approval of Over-the-Counter Hearing Aids Take So Long?

Was this a ‘breakthrough’ on hearing aid pricing? Mull over the phrase from the KFF announcement (italics are mine), “Prices and features will vary for the new OTC hearing aids — much as they do for prescription aids. A pair of prescription devices typically sells for $2,000 to $8,000. Some of the technology found in the pricier prescription aids will be available in the cheaper OTC aids.” This was also true of the Personal Sound Amplification Product” (PSAP), described in 2017 as being helpful to people with mild to moderate hearing loss. What took the FDA 5 years to complete final review of essentially the same technology available in 2017, especially when they were ordered by Congress to do so? Note hat 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss (more than 400 million worldwide) and most do not have any hearing assistance devices. Note that uncorrected hearing loss is correlated with dementia.

Sony and WS Audiology Have Entered into a Partnership Agreement in the Over-the-Counter Self-Fitting Hearing Aid Business

09/13/2022

TOKYO and LYNGE, Denmark, Sept. 13, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Sony Corporation ("Sony") and WS Audiology Denmark A/S ("WSA") have entered into a partnership agreement and various ancillary agreements with the aim of jointly developing and supplying new products and services in the over-the-counter ("OTC") self-fitting hearing aid market, beginning with the United States.

Did you miss insights and data from the five August blog posts?

The biggest older adult tech news from August was audible.  The US Food and Drug Administration approved the over-the-counter sale of hearing aids. Ironically that will not actually be official until October.  The implications are staggering – hopefully the implementation will match.  The big five hearing aid manufacturers will once again remake and remarket themselves, their brands and pricing to fit the new rule. Also in August, a new report on the status of US broadband access was released, highlighting major expansion underway.  Here are the five blog posts from August 2022:

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