The world’s first modular hearing aid is Australian made
Dr Elaine Saunders and Prof Peter Blamey
Blamey Saunders Hears reduces the barriers stopping millions of Australians from finding a hearing solution. Founders Prof Peter Blamey and Dr Elaine Saunders are in the pantheon of global healthcare innovators, and are renowned for disrupting the hearing aid industry.
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Phone Number: 1300 443 279Despite persistent usability flaws, hearing aid design hasn’t changed in decades. Four in 5 Australian adults with hearing loss risk health secondary complications by not using them. Historically, hearing aids are expensive and hard to access. And many who own them aren’t using them because they’re dissatisfied with the settings, find it too hard to change batteries on their own, or worry that hearing aids will make them look old. So Australian hearing aid company Blamey Saunders Hears set out to create a beautiful hearing aid that people would be proud to wear, and to solve key usability issues.
Facett was co-designed with real hearing aid users and brought to life with assistance from RMIT University, Swinburne University, and government grants.
Made For Easy Handling
Facett is divided into two components. The core (DSP) contains the settings and magnetised modules contain the battery. Everything clicks easily into place, simplifying daily maintenance tasks and empowering people who have limited vision and dexterity with independence.
Our pilot trials showed that participants were able to change battery modules easily, even in the dark. A rare immune disorder caused Dr Elisabeth Banks to lose fine movement in her hands. She said, "I thought I would never be able to replace batteries myself. But Facett is perfect.”
Say goodbye to disposable batteries
Hearing aids typically require 6-8 batteries monthly, and 97% of hearing aid batteries go to landfill. Facett uses fully-recyclable rechargeable batteries that last for more than 400 charging cycles, saving costs and environmental degradation.Facett is the first rechargeable hearing aid that can be used while a battery is charging; drained modules can be swapped for a charged backup pair in mere seconds.
Upgrade with a module, not a whole new model...
Facett’s unique modular form enables a cost-effect way to upgrade technology. Modules allow users to upgrade technology without buying a new hearing aid; new features will be released in interchangeable modules that work with the original core. This design also makes it easier for users to connect to a device that allows them to personalise their hearing aid settings using a smartphone.
You won’t want to hide it
Inspired by crystals in Melbourne Museum, Facett’s aesthetics turn a commonly stigmatised medical device into a precious personal artifact —like jewellery, in order to encourage crucial early hearing aid uptake. Pilot-trial participants reported feeling what they coined ‘deaf pride’.
Facett exemplifies human-centred design thinking
Our challenge was to bypass attitudes about hearing aids among an audience largely reluctant to reveal ageing signals. We had to detach the idea of the body in decline from a device that makes one feel alive and empowered in a social context. Melbourne-based designer Leah Heiss was hands on throughout the entire project, working closely with engineers and audiologists to ensure human-centred design was applied. She consulted extensively with hearing aid users in order to understand the emotional experience of relying on a medical device, and to pinpoint their wants and needs.
Since it launched in March 2018, Facett has won multiple prestigious design awards, including Good Design Australia’s Good Design of the Year award.