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These glasses double as assistive listening devices that amplify hearing

Glasses on a white background for nuance audio.

The latest device in hearing technology is Nuance Audio glasses 

EssilorLuxottica has perfected the design of fashionable, functional eyewear, and mastered the development of high-quality ophthalmic lenses. The company recognizes and addresses their consumers’ needs with every innovation, and their newest product launch is no exception.  

Nuance Audio glasses meet the need for vision correction while also acknowledging a historically underserved group: People with mild to moderate hearing loss.  

They are sleek, stylish prescription eyeglasses with open-ear hearing technology built into the frames. The technology is designed to provide clear, focused hearing amplification for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment. Nuance Audio glasses help wearers experience increased audio clarity in noisy environments and reduce their listening fatigue. 

The growing need for assistive listening devices 

Currently, more than 1.5 billion people worldwide have some level of hearing loss. By 2050, this number is expected to jump to 2.5 billion people. For a problem that affects so many people globally, there have been few technical advancements in personal amplification devices.  

The World Health Organization suggests that over 400 million people worldwide could benefit from using hearing technology. Yet, fewer than 68 million people use it, creating a massive treatment gap of around 83%.  

Many people with hearing impairment find traditional hearing aids expensive, uncomfortable and/or invasive. This is because most hearing aids require you to wrap parts of the device around your ear, or insert parts of it into your ear. As a result, many people may choose to leave their hearing impairment untreated.  

Unfortunately, some studies have linked untreated hearing loss in older adults to the development of Alzheimer’s, dementia and overall cognitive decline. Young adults with poor hearing may also have impaired reading, speaking and socializing skills, which can hinder their overall academic and occupational success.   

Regardless of age, untreated hearing loss isn’t just about missing a few conversations. Even mild hearing loss can raise a person’s risk of developing anxiety and depression. Nuance Audio glasses offer a comfortable, stylish way to improve mild to moderate hearing impairment. In doing so, they can help improve users’ quality of life.  

How do Nuance Audio glasses work to amplify hearing? 

Part of the beauty of Nuance Audio hearing glasses is that they look like any other pair of specs. However, the frames are equipped with several high-quality microphones and micro-speakers. The tiny microphones work with the visual aspect of the glasses by tuning into noises coming from the direction in which you’re looking.  

The microphones focus on the voice of the person directly in front of you, helping you distinguish their speech from background noise. As soon as the microphones receive audio, it’s processed and transferred to micro-speakers embedded in the glasses frame. The speakers then deliver the transmitted audio directly to the user's ears.  

Click image to view the directionality of the microphones.

 Speaker volume can be adjusted:  

  • Directly on the frames  

  • Using a pocket-sized remote  

  • Through the companion app  

Nuance Audio glasses can be charged by placing them on their dedicated charging pad. The pad is equipped with magnets to ensure the frames align properly for charging. A light on the charging pad will indicate whether the glasses are charging and display the battery’s charge status. 

What are hearing aids? 

Hearing aids are FDA-regulated medical devices designed for people with mild, moderate or severe hearing loss. You can buy prescription hearing aids through a specialist, or you can get over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids in a store without an exam or fitting.  

Prescription hearing aids are fitted and programmed to address the user’s specific hearing needs. For example, the specialist will only amplify frequencies the user struggles to hear. OTC hearing aids do not require a prescription or a specialist visit. Users can adjust the hearing devices to their own desired settings. The settings may or may not be similar to those of prescription hearing aids.  

People with mild to moderate hearing loss tend to get the most benefit from OTC and prescription hearing aids. However, certain types of prescription hearing aids may also be effective for people with severe hearing loss. 

Where to find Nuance Audio glasses 

EssilorLuxottica plans to launch Nuance Audio glasses in the U.S. in late 2024 and select countries in Europe in 2025. The company's goal is to make the product accessible in 150 countries. 

Nuance Audio glasses cannot improve severe or profound hearing loss. But for users with mild to moderate hearing impairment, Nuance Audio may make it easier to see and hear the world better.

World report on hearing. World Health Organization. March 2021. 

Hearing loss and its link to cognitive impairment and dementia. Frontiers in Dementia. June 2023. 

Effects of hearing loss on development. American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Accessed March 2024. 

Hearing impairment in pediatric population associated with higher prevalence of loneliness. ENT Today. August 2021. 

Association of audiometric age-related hearing loss with depressive symptoms among Hispanic individuals. JAMA Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery. February 2019. 

Buyer beware: Hearing amplifiers are not hearing aids. Healthy Hearing. December 2022. 

Over-the-counter hearing aids. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. August 2022. 

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