We recently had the opportunity to speak with Christian Gormsen, CEO of Eargo, about the concept of hearing wellness and the need to destigmatize hearing loss.
Gormsen shared his insights with us on the difference between hearing health and wellness, the impact of the FDA’s ruling to make hearing aids available over-the-counter, his company’s mission to encourage open conversations about hearing loss and how Eargo plans to celebrate World Hearing Day on March 3rd.
What’s the difference between hearing health and hearing wellness? Does it matter which term we use?
CG: While hearing health can be determined by factors outside of our control, hearing wellness is an active, preventative practice that includes behaviors like protecting our ears in loud environments, participating in regular hearing screenings, consulting with hearing professionals, and wearing hearing aids when hearing loss occurs.
Unfortunately, stigma still prevents many people that need hearing care from getting the help they need. What can people do to normalize hearing loss and hearing aid usage?
CG: Eargo was founded with the central mission of destigmatizing hearing loss. For us, that starts with our virtually invisible product design, allowing users to manage their hearing loss on their own terms.
We know that hearing loss and hearing aid use is nothing to be ashamed of, and encourage open conversations about the importance of hearing wellness–but that should be decided by the person wearing the device, not the people around them.
How has the FDA ruling to make hearing aids available over-the-counter impacted Eargo? Are any Eargo hearing aids approved as OTC devices?
CG: The FDA’s OTC Rule is a huge step in the right direction towards fixing America’s hearing problem and dealing with hearing loss stigma. Before the OTC Rule, getting a hearing aid was often an expensive and arduous process. Now, millions of Americans have the option to walk into a retailer and walk out with a top-of-the-line hearing device, no doctors’ trips or fittings required.
Today, Eargo hearing aids are available for over-the-counter sale in Best Buy and Victra stores and are available online at eargo.com. The opening of the OTC market has been instrumental in making hearing wellness more accessible to more people, which is our ultimate goal.
How are devices like the Eargo 7 different from traditional prescription hearing aids? How does the process actually work for consumers?
CG: Eargo devices are virtually invisible, fitting inside the ear instead of over it. They also contain rechargeable batteries that last up to 16 hours on a single charge, eliminating the need to continually change batteries. Additionally, the Eargo 7 is designed with innovative, proprietary Sound Adjust+ technology that automatically recognizes the user’s soundscape and adjusts audio for comfort and speech clarity. They come with a companion app with a Sound Match feature that allows you to personalize your devices to each ear’s unique hearing preferences. Eargo 7, our newest device, boasts SoundAdjust+, our most advanced sound technology yet.
The Eargo journey begins by completing a fast, easy, and free hearing screener, either online at Eargo.com or in-person at one of our retail partners’ stores.
Upon purchase, our customers have lifetime access to a team of hearing professionals and 24/7 customer support, ensuring that Eargo customers receive a high-quality and high-touch customer service experience.
How are you planning to celebrate World Hearing Day?
CG: At Eargo, we champion hearing wellness year-round through our personalized, high-tech devices, easy-to-use app and online hearing screener, and lifetime support from our team of hearing professionals. This World Hearing Day, we’ve also created a PSA video (see below) that encourages people of all ages to get their hearing screened, shares information about the prevalence of hearing loss, and showcases the profound joy that comes with hearing well. In addition, we’re offering $360 off Eargo 7 devices for the week of World Hearing Day (February 27-March 6) to make hearing wellness even more accessible.
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