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EssilorLuxottica Enters Hearing Solution Category with New Acquisition

August 2, 2023

Woman cocks her ear, trying to ear due to hearing loss or hearing impairment.

EssilorLuxottica announced that it has made a strategic decision to expand into the hearing solutions market, according to reporting by Vision Monday.

It will do this with “a new disruptive technology at the intersection of sight and sound,” a dedicated Super Audio team and in-house R&D resources enabled by its 100 percent acquisition of Israeli start-up Nuance. With this new initiative, the group said it will introduce a new breakthrough hearing technology to benefit the 1.25 billion consumers suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss.

“Meeting critical consumer needs with the boldest actions is part of our DNA. While sight remains our core business—and growing the optical market our strategy—we are uniquely positioned to open up a new avenue for the industry by addressing the need for good hearing with innovative technologies” said Francesco Milleri, chairman and CEO, and Paul du Saillant, deputy CEO at EssilorLuxottica.”Our proprietary hardware and software, combined with our design and manufacturing capabilities, will enable us to pair hearing solutions and prescription glasses into one groundbreaking product, and to bring it to market everywhere through our open network model. As we did in the vision space, we will be the first to remove the stigma of traditional hearing solutions, replacing it with comfort and style,” the executives said.

Similar to vision care, the hearing solutions market is under-penetrated for many reasons, EssilorLuxottica’s executives pointed out, from the visibility of traditional hearing aids, to discomfort and price. According to research, globally there is an 83 percent service gap.

The company said yesterday that the group’s Super Audio team is working on its first product to shift that paradigm, embedding a high-quality hearing technology into fashionable eyeglasses, seamlessly, expected to launch in the second half of 2024. The audio component will be completely invisible, removing a psychological barrier that has historically stood in the way of consumer adoption of traditional hearing aids.

As part of its open business model, EssilorLuxottica will leverage traditional hearing aid channels as well as select optical wholesale customers, to make this technology accessible to consumers in 150 countries. The company will also engage its retail network to support the new category and expand its reach across the world.

In comments to analysts during the company’s release of its Q2 and first half financial results, Milleri added, “We want to grow and elevate the entire hearing aid industry like we are doing with the eyecare industry and I would say both businesses have great potential in terms of growing demand driven by the aging population, as well as the opportunity to grow the entire category.”

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