The world’s first modular hearing aid has been designed by Melbourne-based hearing aid designer Blamey Saunders. The invention has changed the way hearing aids look and function. The groundbreaking device, called Facett, was unveiled at a glitzy ceremony at Sydney Opera House by the designers who won Australia’s prestigious Good Design Award of the Year and the CSIRO Design Innovation Award for their device.
What makes this modular hearing aid different than other models is that it works with a core, connected to an app, and is powered by a rechargeable module; the module magnetically clicks into place, making it easier for someone trying to change a hearing aid battery in the dark, or had have someone else change it for them.
Additionally, while rechargeable batteries for hearing aids are widely available now, they can be problematic and often people with less ingenuity may find difficult to use it.
Instead, with Facett you can reserve one of two pairs of modules in a small portable charging and drying pod, which can be plugged in before you go to bed. The overnight charge will let you use it whole day.
Keeping in mind that everyone has a different level of hearing, the device settings are adjustable via a system called IHearYou, by way of smartphone, Windows app or a tablet. The Facett has high resolution sound, 96 output channels, and mechanism that isolates speech and lowers background noise.
“This product has incredible potential to make a very positive impact on people’s lives who suffer from hearing loss. The use of rechargeable batteries and magnetic coupling is highly innovative,” said the Good Design Awards judges’ statement.
“Every little detail of this product has been meticulously designed with the end use in mind, right down to the magnetic charging case, color coded units for each ear and carefully considered design aesthetic.”
With the “carefully considered design aesthetic” the hearing aids are really slick with a geometric exterior that comes in 4 colors – gloss white, metallic silver, metallic rose gold, and matte black. The design was inspired by the crystal forms in the Melbourne Museum’s mineralogy collection, according to RMIT University in Melbourne.
Preorders for the hearing aid can be placed through Blamey Saunders’ website. The price: a single AU$3,100 and a pair AU$5,990.