Facett

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csiro
  • 2018

  • Product Design
    Medical and Scientific

    Social Impact

Designed By:

  • Professor Peter Blamey
  • Leah Heiss
  • Yaniv Kaufman

Commissioned By:

Blamey Saunders Hears

Designed In:

Australia

Facett is the world’s first modular hearing aid. Co-designed with hearing aid users, it provides unparalleled ease of use, upgradability options and aesthetic appeal. Magnetic modules click easily into place, simplifying daily maintenance tasks and empowering people who have dexterity and visual impairments with independence.


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  • Facett reduces stigma and usability barriers that keep millions of people from using hearing aids. Untreated hearing loss can lead to isolation, decreased employment, and cognitive and physical decline. Mild hearing loss can triple the risk of falls. One in 6 Australian adults has hearing loss but only 20% own a hearing aid because they are considered expensive and associated with old age. People who own hearing aids often don’t wear them because they are difficult to use and unattractive. **Key objectives: ** * solve usability issues for those with dexterity problems * shift the perception of hearing aids from disability to desirability.

  • Daily maintenance challenges were the catalyst for a world-first modular design that addresses multiple user concerns. Detachable rechargeable modules eliminate disposable batteries and fiddly compartments, and make technology upgrades affordable. Instead of a new hearing aid, users can buy interchangeable modules containing new features, including health monitoring technology. Facett’s elegant form was inspired by crystals in Melbourne Museum. It turns a stigmatised medical device into a precious artifact, like jewellery. Facett evolved through a unique cross-collaboration between hearing aid users, designers, engineers, and audiologists. Over 150 3D-printed prototypes were used to ensure ergonomic fit, ease of use and mechanical functionality.

  • Facett contributes to a more prosperous world. Most people delay hearing aids for 7 years. Facett’s aesthetics encourage faster uptake, potentially saving individuals $9,280 (estimated) a year in financial and wellbeing costs (Access Economics, 2017). Facett empowers people with dexterity/visual impairments to use hearing aids independently. Pilot trial participants changed batteries easily, even in darkness. Most hearing aids take 6-8 batteries monthly. Facett uses fully-recyclable rechargeable batteries that last for over 400 charges, saving costs and environmental degradation. Blamey Saunders Hears owns Facett’s IP, allowing marketshare to expand internationally. Facett could help millions worldwide remain engaged in society.

  • Hearing aids have remained unchanged for decades. Through groundbreaking human-centred thinking, Facett uses beauty and ergonomic functional design to lower barriers to hearing aid use. Pilot trial participant Ellie Kenna said, “*Facett is art. In the past I worried about how [hearing aids] look but my outlook has changed*.” Dr Elisabeth Banks said, “*With my loss of fine movements, I thought I would never be able to replace batteries myself. But Facett is perfect*.” Facett comes with an all-in-one charging and drying device, backup modules, and the IHearYou® self-fit system recognised by Good Design Australia in 2015. IHearYou® grants users access to an advanced range of acoustic characteristics they can customise with a smartphone/computer app. Facett makes it easier to connect to IHearYou®’s programming device, using modules rather than connection cables. Facett is the first Australian designed and manufactured hearing aid. It is made in accordance with global manufacturing standards*. Its features place it in the category of premium hearing aids, which commonly retail for over AUS $10,000 a pair. Facett is competitively priced at $5,990, reinforcing Blamey Saunders hears’ mission to make premium hearing aids affordable and accessible. *CE marking is expected by April 2018.