EssilorLuxottica, a group known for its multiple eyewear brands, announced that it will now be expanding into the hearing solutions market. With a dedicated Super Audio team, in-house R&D resources, and enabled by its 100% acquisition of Israeli startup Nuance, the Group plans to introduce a new hearing technology combining eyeglasses and hearing aids 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.”

Similar to vision care, the hearing solutions market is underpenetrated for a number of reasons, according to the company, from the visibility of traditional hearing aids, to discomfort and price. According to research, globally there is an 83% service gap. 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. According to the company, 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.