qualcomm state of sound report analysis

Changing Preferences in Consumer Audio: Breaking Down Qualcomm’s 2021 State of Sound Report

In this week’s episode, Dave Kemp interviews Dr. James Fielding, the Founder and Managing Director of Audeara, and Andy Bellavia, Director of Market Development for Knowles Corp.

They break down the latest Qualcomm ‘State of Sound Report‘ and discuss the implications of the changing consumer preferences in audio and how it relates to hearing health.

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Full Episode Transcript

Dave Kemp
Okay, welcome to another episode of this week in hearing a show where we discuss the innovation and happenings occurring within the hearing healthcare space, the hirable space, the audio space, really anything that touches those that work with the state of audio and today I’m joined by Andy Bellavia and James fielding. So before we jump into what we’re going to be talking about today, why don’t we allow them to introduce themselves one by one. We’ll start with you, Andy.

Andy Bellavia
Thank you, Dave. Always a pleasure to be on with you. I’m Andy Bellavia, Director of market development for no score. I work in the hearing health tech division, and I’m actually responsible for everything in here which is not a regulated hearing aid, sell professional musician in ear monitors, radio communications, earpieces, and hearable devices are under my responsibility, and I’m looking forward to having a really good conversation with James about the latest findings from Qualcomm on hearable devices. Awesome. And James

James Fielding
Yeah, James fielding. I’m the Founder and Managing Director of Audeara that made the world’s healthiest headphones that have a built in hearing personalization feature to tailor the sound to your individual hearing profile. We partner alongside audiology clinics here in Australia and Brisbane, Australia right now and really looking forward to having one of our awesome conversations recorded this time for other people to share.

Dave Kemp
That’s great. Well, thank you too very much for joining as Andy alluded to, the topic for today is going to be around Qualcomm’s most recent State of Sound Report. So they put these annual reports out where they do a whole lot of consumer surveys, gathering information on the appetite for, you know, the coming features of different, you know, audio devices and other Qualcomm powered devices. And this one is very specific to audio. So I thought that as I was looking through it, I always like to have my right hand man on here with Andy. He’s been on all of This Week in Hearing episodes with me. But I thought that James would be a perfect fit as our third. Because as I was reading through it, the thing that really jumped out at me is that two things were really, really apparent from this with the next generation of devices. The consumer appetite seems to be very much geared toward HD audio, and sound in personalized enhancement. So sound enhancement and personalized enhancement, this ability to customize the way that the sound is actually output from your headphones. And so given that that’s what Audeara is really designed to do. James, I figure we’ll start with you kind of give us a breakdown of how maybe Audeara came to be, the insight that you had and the way that you’re thinking about your product, your company, in light of these Qualcomm findings, yeah, effects.

James Fielding
So we came out of medical school, I’m a medical doctor by trade, I was on my way to be a surgeon and did an MBA during medical school. And we originally came out to try and solve the problem of access to hearing health information. And once we had solved that riddle around, how do we get a personalized piece of hearing information in front of each user, we figured, let’s actually take a step to change some behavior. Because as we found showing people result is one thing. But if you can provide them an incredible experience, that’s going to change their behavior in a really positive way. That’s the focus of why you should be driving your attention. And our entire ethos is your headphones are trying to play sound for you. Can you actually hear it? Because to date, technology has been based on transducers and wiring battery life and noise cancelling and how much nickel is in you connectors and all these types of things, which is super interesting, super technical and super audiophile. The piece that was getting left out of the equation was the person listening because when it comes down to can you hear this, you have to get it all the way in through the ear to the brain and say I am having this experience. So we said let’s focus on that part. And instead of guessing what great headphones should sound like, let’s just ask you what you’re hearing is like and then tailor it so you’re getting the best possible experience. And with this report with Qualcomm, you know, we use Qualcomm chips to do what we do. But we stripped the guts out and we put our personalization engine in there. And it’s a really amazing platform. And these state of sound reports are always really interesting because we get a forward look and we get advanced access to some of this technology. And the idea that people are looking for sound enhancements and personalization. These are terms that weren’t there five, six years ago, and so it was really exciting to see that and see this progression to people really paying attention to sound and I know we’re gonna get into the COVID argument and use but that was the really key takeaway for me.

We’re talking about sound quality. But we’re talking about that final piece of the puzzle sound quality for the individual listener, which is where we shine and where the future of hearing technology is going.

Andy Bellavia
Yeah, I think there’s a couple of trends going here that that you hit on James, which are really causing us to converge on, you know, the hearables. Convergence with hearing aids and how people use hearable devices in different situations, I think COVID did have something to do with it, because people are having conversations in different environments than they used to, and are becoming more aware of the shortcomings of their devices. So for example, ANC, when you look at the state of play report, the likely impact of advanced features on true wireless earbud purchase ANC was at the top of the list. Why? Because people were working at the dining room table with, you know, kids playing nearby, this sort of thing. But then you also have hearing enhancement and hearing personalization popping up much higher than it ever did before. If you’re spending more time with meetings, or listening to podcasts, you know, entertainment, you come to realize that hearing personalization is important. It’s part of the enjoying the experience or being able to understand people better. I think in a way, this is really good for the breakdown of the hearing loss stigma, that’s 60% of the people- a number higher than when you and I talked even a few months ago, Dave. 60% of the people say hearing personalization is a feature that will you know, influence their purchase of their next device. And then along with that very high on the list is HD audio, as a people are listening more they want higher quality listening. And there’s also a boost for new music streaming services boom in the last few months have all announced HD services. And in the case of apple and Amazon at no extra charge. So now, we don’t know what Spotify is going to do yet because they haven’t released theirs. But you now have two to three top services giving HD audio away compared to standard. So everybody’s become aware of the availability at no extra cost of a better music listening experience, which feeds into what you’re doing also, because if I’m going to listen to HD music I want to hear is the artist intended. And so if I’m getting a little treble boost through my personalization, more power to me, so I think the trends are all coming along very nicely to have a device which is usable in any circumstance. And you know, therefore it gives you kind of this ambient listening experience wherever you are more conversation experience, if you will.

James Fielding
Yeah, and I think I think it ties in really nicely what you were saying there about the different situations and the different use cases that you need in different situations. And I think this hirable piece and that transition from hearing aid, hearable, headphone, it’s not a one case fits all type scenario, there’s there’s going to be need for different products in in different areas. And I think people are more accustomed to using different products to meet their different needs as well, which is a really important part of the technology improvement.

Dave Kemp
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a couple things that you both said that really stand out to me, you know, obviously the pandemic has played a big part in this, it’s accelerated everything, it’s made it more apparent that you know, we all are working in a remote world that is you’re always sort of tethered to your work and in a way where, you know, whether it’s a zoom call, or some sort of remote interaction that you have, and I just think that you know, it’s already apparent through a lot of the sales data that you know, hearables and true wireless headphones were a big pandemic beneficiary a lot of people opted to upgrade into higher quality audio devices. And I think that what’s interesting to your point Andy is that you now see people starting to have this demand for more advanced features. As they wear these things for longer periods of time, they want the music to sound better, so they want HD audio, there are you know, maybe in the type of person that has a hearing loss so they want some type of hearing enhancement for their digitally acoustic environment This is no longer something that’s you know where I think historically hearing aids in particular have been positioned for your ambient acoustic environments we’re now talking about a world where you need to be able to interface with both your digital acoustic environment and your ambient acoustic environment and so I think that all of this lends itself to this idea that like consumption is going up more usage is going up and therefore it I think it’s becoming more apparent in the consumers eyes that these features exist, what’s on the horizon for them, and therefore I think that’s what this report is really telling us. And again, going back to this whole idea of you know, hearing enhancement in idera something that has gone through my mind a lot is this whole question of you know, if you are someone that has a hearing loss, James how’s the way that you sort of position on deira as a complimentary device to that rather than a you know, the hearing aid being the end all be all speak to maybe the advantages that something like yours

Device has for somebody that is experiencing the world that we live in today with a hearing loss.

James Fielding
Well, the biggest one for us is that positioning as complimentary where in as well as type product or and on your way to a hearing aid type product, which gives us a great relationship with the clinics. And I think the simplistic fact is that by utilizing Bluetooth by utilizing core headphone technology, and then adding the personalization to that, you get the versatility and the simplicity of connecting to different devices in your different environments. So you can have your TV connected to the TV, then you can you’re on your laptop, direct stream to your laptop, your phone rings, you enter your phone, that seamless connectivity piece with is also doing the tailoring to meet your individual hearing needs. And so we see ourselves as a really great complementary product for people who know their their hearing loss and are seeking a solution, and are aware that that solution comes in different form factors for different needs. And it’s a really fascinating time, as more and more people come to realize that

Andy Bellavia
Yeah, and in no company less than Sonova actually backs up what you just said, I’ve got their latest investor day presentation in front of me and they have a chart that shows the continuum of the consumer journey in which there’s premium and audiophile headphones, then there’s hear troubles with amplification, then there’s hearing aids and then there’s cochlear implants, you don’t want an access that shows your journey going one way and the need for amplification going the other. And so what you have is a series of overlaps. And I would say even even in my case, where I’m in severe hearing loss territory, so I really need to correction just to hear people. At the same time, the music experience through hearing aids isn’t the greatest that’s going to change over time. But it isn’t the greatest and so when I want to listen to music, I would use you know, a personalized headphone for better music quality. But then when I’m out and about and talking to people in person, I would use my hearing aids and so I’ll even I’ll switch devices in and out according to the situation. And if you’re in mild to mid category, a device like yours is perfect, I get the best audio quality possible, you know, personalized for my own hearing. And the other interesting thing about this Sonova report is it’s very similar to Qualcomm’s now their hearing health company, granted they just bought Sennheiser but they really, they look at it through a hearing health lens versus a consumer product lens. But they did a similar survey, they actually broke it in half with consumers without hearing loss and consumers with hearing loss results separated. But the results are almost identical in their survey they have wearing comfort does number one, it was very high on the list and Qualcomm’s but not number one. And then hi fi sound quality is number two. And so whether your lens is a hearing health company or your lens is a consumer products company, hi fi sound quality HD audio, a good listening experience is coming up at the top of all the lists. And yet so it’s a combination of being able to deliver HD sound in the first place, and also being able to personalize it so everybody can enjoy the same experience.

Dave Kemp
Yeah, I think to like the thing that, you know, going back to what you said earlier about Amazon and Apple, and probably eventually Spotify is that I think what we’re gonna see will be somewhat analogous to what we saw with televisions where, you know, you had standard definition televisions were the the norm and then HD came out. And then suddenly you had football and the NHL and James for you, you had cricket, you know, and it was like, wow, this is significantly better to watch as a consumer. And so you see in these reports, there’s, you know, 57% of responders say that they would like HD audio, how only however, only 5% have it today. And so I think that as this becomes more normalized, and the headphones are capable of supporting it as the streaming services are capable, and just offering it for free. I just think it’s going to be similar to where once people kind of see what exists in what’s out there. They’re not going to go back, they’re going to want that HD feature. And then the standard gets raised again. And that seems to be the kind of reoccurring theme with all of these different features is that it’s basically a standardization and that standardization keeps rising, every single feature becomes ubiquitous. I think that we’re seeing that with ANC now. Almost every new type of device that enters into the market today seems to have some level of ANC baked into it, or at least that’s sort of the that’s the trajectory broadly speaking. And so I think that ultimately what that represents is the consumer demand is just going up. It’s like increasing in its demand for higher

quality features. And I think that that’s going to going back to Andy’s point, it’s going to continue to lend itself to this spectrum, where initially it’s the true wireless headphones. And then you have like hearing aids and cochlear implants. But now everything’s kind of being filled in in the middle. And that’s where I think this is getting really interesting is, again, we’ve talked about this before, Andy is, it becomes very hard to distinguish who’s wearing what, for what. And for me, I think that it shouldn’t ever be that you should be, you know, we live in a society where you have to hide from the fact that you have hearing loss. But I think that it might eventually just become moot because of the fact that it’s going to be extremely hard to distinguish what type of headphones have that feature in them, because it’s going to be such a ubiquitous type of feature, you know, again, from at least a rudimentary standpoint of having something like hearing personalization or enhancement and see these features are just becoming more and more widespread, it feels like

Andy Bellavia
Yeah, I just want to comment on your very last point, going back to this Sonova survey, and again, this is a hearing health company, and I don’t know their scale Exactly. But wearing comfort was 15, the highest sound quality was 14, down at the bottom. And this is consumers without hearing loss. And consumers with hearing loss, they both have the same number. In visibility of device when worn is 2 It’s, it’s exactly to your point is that people are wearing headphones and earphones out under all circumstances, nobody knows what they’re in there for people are accepting that they can be seen wearing them. And I think it’s terrific. It’s both terrific from the, you know, the comfort level of wearing them, you know, in public places, it reduces the stigma around hearing loss, you know, you don’t know if I’m personalizing my music when I’m, you know, on the metro listening, it’s it’s the barriers are very quickly breaking down. And I think that’s good on a number of different levels.

James Fielding
Oh, absolutely. And we talk about what we do on that continuum, as well, we talk about world class and experience, regardless of your hearing health, regardless of your hearing profile. Because whether it’s a tiny tweak for that person that’s looking for that hybrid when they’re gaming, or listening to music all the way through to severe and profound loss and use them over top of hearing aids. You know, there’s, there’s this idea that everyone deserves his high quality experience, and we use words like deserves now, which is, I think, really important, and to your point, and he I took my hearing aids, when I went out to dinner with my wife last week, you know, my hearing is pretty good. But they have some incredible features that make it so easy for me to hear her clearly around or the bubble. And it’s a much more relaxing experience, actually, in a lot of ways. And so, because I like gadgets, and I have all these different toys for these different scenarios. I think that the more people who are doing that, and saying, you know, I’ve always seen it more as a tip of the cap to say, oh, you’re actually wearing your hearing aids, thank you. Like, you’re actually in it to hear what’s going on, like you’re in it, to engage in it to be part of the conversation. And you know, you have that classic story of, I’m not going to talk to you dad, unless you put your ears in, you know, so people who are actually using their devices, I think, yeah, that’s what it’s about. That’s the point, that’s you’re getting the most out of your situation, you’re getting the most out of your environment, you shouldn’t have stigma, for wanting to get the best out of your experience, it just doesn’t make any sense. And it’s, as we talk about his quality of senses scaling up. I also like to think about sound catching up, because you’re looking at TVs, you went from black and white boxes, then to digital, then to wide screens, then to curve screens then to 8k, not films in 8k, but you’ve got an 8k TV, right? And then you listen out of the speakers on the TV, and it’s kind of like okay, and then you get soundbar that’s good, better nice. But you can put headphones on you can put TV stream is t here and you can do these other situations where people are saying, I’ve just spent a couple of thousand bucks on this massive TV.

But 60% of people are using a speaker on their phone as the audio output. but,, what you see is they’re doing that. But then 60% of people using devices more than, what, six or seven hours a day to gain that optimized experience. And so I think people are saying, Yeah, I want a great sound experience in my device. But that comes with, I’m using it a great sound device. I’m not asking my smartphone to be a great sounding speaker. And I think that Yeah, it’s a capture of audio coming into the piece, the way this whole stigma thing around hearing aids, which, you know, kind of turns my stomach a little bit that’s still a thing. You know, I’m wearing glasses that wearing glasses and so it’s 10 you know, that old dorky four eyes kid thing. That was 30 years ago, it doesn’t exist anymore. Now. It’s just not a piece of the puzzle. And I think that we get in there we’re catching up, and it’s a very positive sign of things to come.

Andy Bellavia
Yeah, definitely. Definitely. I couldn’t have said it better. I couldn’t have said it better. You know, audio was actually interesting because the analogy with TV that you and Dave both made as a TV quality uniformly got better over time. You went from black and white to color and it was analog and then you went digital and now you have as you say 4k and 8k audio went in reverse. Yeah. When mobile audio started the audio quality suddenly was terrible. And my my first mobile audio device well, cassette tape Walkman was my first one. But my first digital device was made by creative and had 512 Meg’s of memory, well, you had to compress the songs pretty far in order to fit enough music into that thing, you know, so you could take your music library with you or fraction thereof, and then then came to mobile streaming services all highly compressed and you lost a lot and even under production and as people started listening this way, they started contesting with each other’s who sounds would pop who songs would pop up and sound louder to you and engage you so they started compressing the music like crazy before it left the studio. So right on floor, right, exactly. So it all went downhill in in a lot of people grew up thinking that was sound quality. But then the rest of the universe started elevating their sound. Like you said, TV sound with a sound bar sounds great. Even mid range cars have nice audio systems in there now. And so I think people have slowly become re educated into what good sound quality is really like and what music can really sound like. And as far as headphones go. Now the technology has caught up. You have good high res codecs, like Sony had ldac for a while, and Huawei did all hdc. And Qualcomm did aptX, adaptive aptX HD and now coincident with this report, they also announced that they can support full lossless CD quality streaming. So you have that going, you have enough battery life, when you’re running those codecs. You have companies like ours, we enable woofer, tweeter combination so you can get good sound quality at a time of year but out of the, you know, out of the speaker system. So all of these things have come together to really deliver a high quality audio experience. At a time when the streaming services, the mainstream services have made it available. aware that Bluetooth streaming is now capable of delivering and you have a comfortable long battery life device. None of this really was there until very recently. When Qualcomm says only 5% of the people currently subscribe. That’s because up until a few months ago, you had to go to one of the you know audio file services like QoBuz to get your HD and it just didn’t have the awareness and they were expensive. Now you can go to Amazon and get HD right or if I’m an iPhone user, I can get it from Apple, it you know, just like nothing in the mainstream services in there pushing it. I mean, Spotify hasn’t released theirs yet. And they had that that big press event with Billy Eilish and all the rest. So now consumers are very much being made aware of HD mainstream press are writing about it. There was an article about it in Rolling Stone extolling the virtues of HD and a good headphone to go with it, you know, this sort of thing. So all of a sudden, like that people are becoming more audio aware about the quality of their music, about the quality, the listening experience, you know, about hearing protection and hearing augmentation issues. It’s all coming at once is a very exciting time.

James Fielding
I was just gonna say you touched a really interesting point right at the tail in it talking about this hearing protection and hearing awareness piece, which is one of those elements that it doesn’t get as much attention but something that I think is super important to be able to have devices in a protective environment in the UK have taken some really big steps.

forward around the impact of toxic noise in the workplace being a Class One hazard now. So, you know, people are becoming very forward thinking around, hey, we got to be looking after ourselves too. And the thing you have is this idea that hearing protection is destroying your listening experience. We’ve been working with orchestral musicians, and we’ve been looking at this really high end protection type space. And when you look at the impact of someone like a musician, and I think the adoption rates for hearing protection in live musicians is about 1%, or 0.5%, which is why musicians have their horrible 4k notches. And it’s starting to lose hearing and get tinnitus far too early in life. I mean, when is it appropriate instead of hearing loss and tinnitus, but you know, it’s becoming earlier and earlier, but people are starting to become more aware of this protection pieces importance of hearing piece, and not being willing to accept that I’m going to stuff a bit of foam rubber into my ear, that’s not going to cut it. And so we’re seeing some really great devices in that space too, that are looking at this enhancement piece. But also in a protective piece with the benefits we don’t really talk about an awful lot with the noise cancelling and the safety features that has around not needing to drive things so hard. But we talked about a ‘better, not louder’ sound experience but as you say, that that cut through in a local car system was mean you’re mixing and mastering things to go to 11 you know, because that’s how the songs good because it’s loud and you got that rock impact, you know, and that position has started to shift a bit as well that kind of healthiness around COVID and this whole health conscious piece is finding its way into audio and the conversations people have about you know, wearing earplugs more often or or having devices and all what’s a great benefit they’re also healthier protective tube which is really positive stream of how we’re progressing that technology Yeah, I would say along that vein too you have what Apple’s doing with you know, with the Apple Watch it has a sound level meter baked into it now right Isn’t that great? It’s great and it’s because again, it just makes people aware of something that I think very few people were recognizing I was in the dentist office I tell the story often where you know the drill my I looked at my watch and the sound level meter was in like dangerous zone and I’m thinking to myself, Why Why not if I’m hearing professional start targeting every single dental office in the country with some sort of hearing conservation campaign because all of these hygienists are around these loud drills and they’re wearing no hearing protection and I think that like that’s just one very specific example but along that same vein you know, so you have the The watch has the sound level meter and then also with just the audio output if you’re listening at dangerous levels you’ll get notified as well so again, I think that like there’s something to be said about the the the broad impact that a company the size of Apple can have on just the general awareness of these problems. And then I think what’s exciting is that like the Calvary really is already here of all of these new products and solutions that exist that cater to every facet of healthy hearing like you said, and so as we kind of come to the close here I’m curious to kind of get your thoughts both of you on for me like what’s really exciting and Andy we’ve talked about this before Is it very much feels like we’ve sort of gone through a very important phase which is that crucial period of like the the overall proliferation and adoption of generation one of these advanced devices and in what this report like the thing that just jumped out at me when I read this was that everybody’s already ready for the next generation of devices and you see all the building blocks you see what all the systems on the chips and the collaboration that Qualcomm car that knows and chattable like we talked about last time, which is like everything is falling into place for this next generation and for me, I think that the appetite You know, it really does stem before the pandemic the pandemic really accelerated where everybody now is outfit with a pretty good true wireless headset of some sort. It seems like you know, by and large, like obviously there’s still room to grow. But for me, it’s like what’s so exciting is a lot of people seem to be asking the question of what comes next you know, what’s the next set of features to really be excited about? So I would say that here we are in September of 2021 what what is the next three months and then into 2020 to look like in your eyes and and what are the things that are on your radar right now that you

Dave Kemp
Get you really excited about what’s coming feel free either one of you to jump in on on that.

James Fielding
Well I think for me obviously I’m biased and the personalization piece is a no brainer for me but I think you really hit the nail on the head with people having this idea and you know, OTC you know, and all these other government changes which are putting on the radar, Apple’s put on the radar and I think, you know, as you’re heading into Christmas time and people are thinking about, I’m going to get you know, the best new device or I’m get somebody gift basic isn’t good enough anymore. sound coming out, doesn’t cut it. You know, there’s so much awareness of the amazing technology that as you said, He’s already here that I think what you see in the next three months heading to kind of gift giving season, people aren’t going to be willing to get basic anymore, you know, things have to be good, they have to be next there has to be pushing. And you’ll see that get better and better next year, a lot of the stuff in the Qualcomm report is still in its R&D phase. You know, there are companies and we trying to get our hands on some of these, these new options is this new functionality? How do we take and make it even better? So if there are companies like mine, sitting around in Brisbane, in Australia, trying to get our hands on next gen Push, push, push tech, you know, it’s going to be an incredible next year, there’s going to be an incredible next five years really, with that proliferation of technology. I think it’s going to be spectacular time to be around.

Andy Bellavia
Yeah, I’m really excited for what’s happening in this space. I mean, if I go back to the report and look at what were the top five things people want ANC hearing enhancement, HD context, awareness, and hearing personalization. Those are all the things you need for hearable device you’re going to wear throughout your day. And they’re actually all available right now. And and both for ease of meetings and without cognitive overload, easy to understand for an enjoyable music listening experience and for hearing protection. I mean, you said something James, you know about listening at lower levels. I wrote an article for World Hearing Day, it’s on LinkedIn in which I quoted two studies that both showed that people will listen 13 dB above the noise level. And so if you can knock down the noise level of say, the metro or a boss, with ANC earphones, you’re just going to dial it down without even thinking about it. And so your phone suddenly have gone from a device which are accused of ruining your hearing to a device which will protect it. And now you can have ambient awareness because if I still want to hear what’s going on, on the train around me, I can still listen to my music, all these things are coming together in really exciting ways. So between the hearing personalization to hearing protection, and your sheer enjoyment of higher quality music, it’s really an amazing time right now. And in the next year, you’re going to see more and more devices taking advantage of all of those consumer demand trends

Dave Kemp
Couldn’t have said it better, I think that you’re so right there with this idea that people want to be able to straddle their digital acoustic environments, their ambient acoustic environments, they want to control it, you know, they want to augment their, the the abilities that they have. It’s just a really exciting time because it does feel like audio in the ear in particular, you know, it’s almost a head fake in the sense that everybody kept talking about AR, AR, AR, augmented reality coming in the form of glasses. And however I think that you can make a really solid argument that the real first iteration of, of significant augmented reality is happening with our ears. And I think that that’s kind of what we’re seeing right now is everything falling in place to facilitate that to make it so that like I said, you can kind of control these these environments, simpatico, you know, and have like layers and layers of augmentation on top of it. So really, really great conversation, you guys, Andy. James, thanks so much for joining. Thanks for everybody who tuned in here and we will chat with you next time.

 

About the Panel

Andrew Bellavia is the Dir. of Market Development for Knowles Corp, a leading acoustic solutions provider to the hearables, smart speaker, mobile, and IoT industries. He has been personally involved in supporting the development of many innovative hearable devices since the beginning with pioneers like Bragi and Nuheara. Andrew is also an advocate for the role technology can play in addressing hearing loss, and in the practical use cases for voice in the coming hearables revolution. When not in the office he can usually be found running the roads of N. Illinois, and until recently, the world, often photographing as he goes.

Dr. James Fielding, is the Founder and Managing Director of Audeara, a company that manufactures “the world’s healthiest headphones” which have a built in hearing personalization feature to tailor the sound to your individual hearing profile.

 

Dave Kemp is the Director of Business Development & Marketing at Oaktree Products and the Founder & Editor of Future Ear. In 2017, Dave launched his blog, FutureEar.co, where he writes about what’s happening at the intersection of voice technology, wearables and hearing healthcare. In 2019, Dave started the Future Ear Radio podcast, where he and his guests discuss emerging technology pertaining to hearing aids and consumer hearables. He has been published in the Harvard Business Review, co-authored the book, “Voice Technology in Healthcare,” writes frequently for the prominent voice technology website, Voicebot.ai, and has been featured on NPR’s Marketplace.


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