Market prognosticators Gartner and IDC predict that hearable product sales will continue to lead the growth in the wearable device shipments worldwide at least for the next three to five years. During CES 2021, Taipei-based Relajet announced the company will begin selling its Otoad AI-powered hearing aids in the U.S. in 2021.

Relajet positions the Otoadd hearing aids for people with mild to moderate hearing impairment. The Otoadd uses a Qualcomm QCC 5141 extremely low-power Bluetooth, voice-enabled SoC (system on chop) with integrated noise cancellation. The Qualcomm chip powers Relajet’s Speech Enhancement Engine. The Speech Enhancement Engine has two purposes. The engine minimizes background noise to emphasize and separate voices. The engine adds directional information to help the user locate specific voices. The Qualcomm chip handles amplification, music playback, and phone calls. Relajet employs Microsoft Azure cloud services for hearing tests, remote calibration, and over-the-air updates. According to Relajet, Otoadd hearing aids run for up to 16 hours per charge.

Relajet is also ramping up production for mass production for global sales. The Otoadd hearing aids are non-prescription devices strictly for the over-the-counter market. Otoadd hearing devices are currently available in Asia for $1,000 to $1,500 per pair.

We’re elated by the debut of new hearing assistance devices with different features and price points. Although comparative performance reviews are beyond our scope, we can comment on a few of the hearing products we’ve tried. NuHeara’s IQBuds MAX differentiate and adjust the volume of world noise from voice sounds. IQBuds MAX earbuds, $399 per pair, also can focus on sound in front of the listener. Phonak’s Audeo Paradise AI-powered hearing aids, medical products that require a prescription and sell in the neighborhood of $4,000 a pair, adjust directionality on the move to track and enhance the voice of someone with whom you’re talking while you walk across campus or on city streets.

As a member of the growing graying global population with hearing loss, I’m excited by the pace and variety of hearables developments.