Imagine if Warby Parker did hearing aids

Nick Morgan-Jones
May 7, 2024


Here’s how Warby Parker, an eyewear brand, could transform the hearing aid industry in 3 steps. Let’s go.

Back in 2010, the US brand turned the eyewear industry on its head cutting out the middle man, and making previously-overpriced designer glasses accessible for everyone and inspiring many other brands we see today.

Only 1 in 5 people like me who could wear hearing aids actually do. The industry is controlled by an oligopoly of 5 medical companies, selling overpriced products that no one wants to wear.

So how could Warby Parker transform the hearing industry as well, and make hearing tech both accessible and something we want to wear?

I think there’s three main steps: Design for visibility, Serve people not patients, Change the conversation

Design for visibility

Eyewear is more than just a product to correct your vision, it’s designed to look good as well, and that’s an undeniable reason why glasses are desirable.

To remove the stigma around hearing tech, we have to stop designing it to be hidden, and instead make it something that compliments how you look, just like eyewear. I've already designed and built a working prototype that is purposely and unapologetically visible, all that’s left is choosing the frames that suit you. Warby Parker already make designer frames for lenses, why not do frames for hearing tech as well?

Serve people not patients

If you realise you’re struggling to hear, where do you go? The doctor, a hearing clinic, a hospital? It’s not really clear, but what ever it is, it’s intimidating. We never think of someone wearing glasses as visually disabled, because the product and service experience is built for people, not  patients. If you want glasses, you can have your vision tested in the same friendly store where you can choose the frames that are going to complete your look. Vision and hearing belong in the same sensory-enhancing product universe— so why not build it that way?

Change the conversation

We don't call glasses "seeing aids". It's eyewear. It changes the meaning from being something you ought to wear to something you choose to wear. So let’s call it earwear. And even then, we need to talk less about the product and more about the person who wears it, the product is just an accessory that allows you to become the most confident version of yourself while you’re communicating with the people you love. So let’s tell that story.

The hearing industry is sooo ready to be disrupted. The question is, who’s gonna do it first?

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