Episode 121
Apple Are Entering The Hearing Care Market

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Podcast Transcription - Apple Are Entering The Hearing Care Market

Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Business of Hearing podcast and today we're talking Apple. Apple are set to enter the hearing care market in late 2024. What does this mean? What should you do and how do private practices benefit from what is happening? Let's discuss.   

Welcome to the Business of Hearing podcast with me, Oli Luke, the podcast for entrepreneurial private practice hearing care clinic leaders, the ones who set benchmarks of excellence, build wildly successful businesses, grow their impact and navigate the choppy waters to spearhead the future of private practice hearing care. Thank you so much for joining us. Pour yourself a cup of tea and let's get stuck into this week's episode. 

So welcome along. Thank you once again for lending me your ears and I'm gonna try and keep this as concise as possible because this is a big, big chunky subject that we're discussing with our inner circle members and making some moves currently but let's talk about Apple entering the market and they're not just entering a us market, they're entering a global market so what do we know up to now about Apple's attack on hearing care?  

First of all, iOS 18 and Apple are doing a big conference on this. I'm going to do the presentation on June 10 so we'll learn a lot more but iOS 18, which is likely to be released in September. We’ll include something that Apple calls a hearing aid mode. Now, Apple have previously launched features like the live Listen feature in 2018 and the conversation boost feature in 2021 and these have been almost things that you can utilize if you're an AirPods and iPhone user in order to basically use your Airpods to amplify sound and some of the features are pretty good even from a basic level so what does hearing aid mode mean? We're unsure at this stage, right? We'll know more, hopefully on June 10 when they have the official conference and naturally, when iOS 18 is launched, we'll know significantly more but if there's anybody in the market that could probably launch a more consumer focused product that is very, very good, it's probably Apple so it's certainly interesting. What else do we know? We know that Apple's third generation AirPods Pro are expected to launch in late 2024, early 2025 based on forums, some leaked information etcetera and it's very likely that these new AirPods will include the hardware updates to allow users to maximize the hearing aid mode. What we've always seen in the past with Apple is the latest software updates. The next hardware typically is to complement the software update naturally so you see it with iPhones, they roll a few new things out, some camera features and it's only the next iPhone which really allows you to maximize those features which is super smart for how they sell new phones and it looks like they're going to be doing the same here. What else do we know? Well, we know Apple are a beast when it comes to advertising. They're predicted to spend $8.31 billion in advertising in 2024 and that's expected to grow in 2025 and what we do know is the AirPods are the biggest earphones on the market by a huge distance. In fact, if you lined up just them as a tech brand just on that department alone and that product alone, they'd be in there with the biggest tech brands on the planet because their annual revenues are around 14.5 billion every year just for the AirPods so we're essentially taking the best which is subjective but let's call it the best, given it's the best-selling, the best earphones on the market which connect to the most popular phone on the market and introducing a hearing aid mode to allow users to use their AirPods for some form of hearing aid purposes. Now, this is big, big news because you know, we can look back at what happened in the US with OTC and when OTC was introduced in late 2022. We've seen brands like Sony and Jabra and many others launch a product to the market that was an over-the-counter hearing aid product. What looks very different here is what Apple are planning to do is not create a standalone product for over the counter or for hearing aid users. They're looking to roll that as a feature into their already best-selling, super popular AirPods which is really, really interesting so what do I predict is going to happen here? Because there's a lot of question marks. Apple could launch another bland feature that isn't actually very good or they could go super, super aggressive with this. Here's what I believe is going to happen if I look into my crystal ball. I believe, you know, as we see, the global hearing aid market is huge US dollars wise, it's just close to 8 billion. The compound annual growth rate is 6.78%. That's majorly influenced by the number of boomers entering the market and what is interesting is if we look back at when OTC launched, the market size didn't decrease, it increased so that's looking positive and naturally, Apple are looking to take a big chunk of this market that makes a lot of sense for them. The compound annual growth rate is significant in our industry compared to many others. Makes a lot of sense why there's so much attention on it, why groups are trying to roll up, why there's so much mass consolidation, etcetera. I truly believe that Apple will position much of the launch of their next AirPods around these hearing aid mode capabilities like I just think, where do they go from here? Because every time they've launched new AirPods and you know, they've done a few now, AirPods Pro run number two is they launch it on the fact it's new. There isn't that many new features. It's all small line items. This hearing aid mode, if it's as good as they suggest it may be, could be the big, big feature that they advertise. It's like AirPods plus hearing aid mode. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the heavily funded advertising message and the focus on the hearing aid mode as part of the AirPods is a big part of the advertising, especially to older generations and of course, one thing that Apple do really well is they tailor their marketing communications very effectively. The message to a 25-year-old will be very different to the message that they show to 65-year-olds so that'll be super, super interesting but as we learned from OTC in 2022, what will likely happen is media headlines will be written and those media headlines will cause a lot of confusion. We've seen it in OTC. Big headline. I can't remember who it was, who published it, but it was affordable. Hearing aids are finally here. Now, take that headline. How much confusion is that causing for something that isn't a hearing aid but is an over-the-counter hearing aid and I feel we're going to see the same, right? We're going to have patients feeling confused. We're going to have potential patients delaying their decision-making process and you'll have an increased number of questions for you to explain what the difference is between this $500 Apple product and seven $8,000 worth of hearing technology so I do believe it's going to cause confusion. We're going to have a lot of people now price anchoring that better hearing is $500 through the AirPods than what it is now but much of this we've seen with OTC in the US especially. However, I think there's some significant benefits of this.  This is where I'm getting really, really excited because if we actually break down what's happening here, what is the biggest thing that's prevented us as an industry and been a hindrance to us over the past number of decades. It's the stigma. It's the fact that nobody wants to be a hearing aid wearer. Nobody grows up looking forward to the day they can buy their first set of hearing aids and that stigma delays many people from seeking treatment soon enough, or even seeking treatment, period, right? What we're going to see now is the biggest and probably the coolest tech brand in the world talking about the benefits of better hearing like this is going to normalize the treatment of hearing loss in my eyes if I see this how I believe it will go because once Apple start making this a normal conversation around the dinner table, help people understand the benefits of better hearing like presses feature, can you experience how you now hear better? And even putting this on people's radars that they have a certain level of a hearing ability and what better could sound like how is that going to benefit us? Because if we all of a sudden have a normalization of hearing loss, then people seeking treatment will be a lot simpler path, less emotional baggage, less of the stress and challenges and the stigma concerns and the vanity concerns that exist currently and this isn't an overnight process but this is a big, big domino once this is knocked down, that will impact the future of our industry so personally, I think this is a huge, huge step. I do believe many people will buy the AirPods Pro as a result of this hearing aid mode. They'll experience the benefits but what they'll soon realize is I need a full-time solution because the AirPods do have a certain battery on them. It's going to last a few hours. There is a weird stigma out sitting in a restaurant with a set of AirPods in. Maybe that will change but still that's a big one for somebody to come over as a burden of sitting with AirPods in while having a conversation with their husband or with their wife so I believe people will need a full-time solution and they'll realize they need significantly more than what the AirPods can offer. Essentially, I believe Apple could develop the  gateway drug to prescription hearing aids and then on top of that, the more you dig  into what's going on with Apple right now and many  of these rumors and what you can read about the  iOS update and what it will mean for hearing aid  mode, it appears there's going to be a simple way  to self-assess your hearing abilities so essentially to do a mini, simplified hearing test via your iPhone that will then program your AirPods  in order to support you in better environments. Now that is going to be interesting.  Interesting for some negative reasons, of course, but also interesting because it will allow people to understand that hey, your hearing is not as perfect as you think it is, and you certainly need help. The AirPods can help, but you may need a little more help so it's going to allow people to experience hearing benefits and I do believe the AirPods will be the springboard to creating more opportunities for practices like you. Now, of course, all this is happening over the next kind of nine to twelve months. We will see a lot more in Apple's conference in June but this is an immense opportunity for you as a private practice. There's a huge amount of unknowns in our industry, and this is one of them and when the likes of Apple decide to get serious about our industry, of course it's going to create significant ripples. They hold one of the biggest advertising budgets in the world. They're one of the most trusted brands in the world. People see their technology as the best technology in the world so when a brand like Apple enters the market, people don't know, Resound, Phonak Starkey really, if you speak to the average Joe on the street, they know Apple so we've got those things to fight against that are going to be part of the challenge but your opportunity right now is substantial and here's what you do not do. Do not ignore this news. Do not wait until it happens then share your opinion with patients. Get ahead of it. Set the narrative now. Communicate with patients, communicate with physicians, communicate with any influential decision makers. Let them know what is happening and ensure that you set the narrative because if you don't, and you appear to be reactive rather than proactive then you're going to be in a more compromised position. Be on the front foot with this. Be bold. Share what the risks of this are, share what the good things are but almost be the live blogger, the live vlogger, whatever you want to be that shares the news that is happening and becomes the thought leader in your community that educates, empowers your patients and empowers them in order to be better equipped with the information for when this occurs. This is something we're driving forward with our inner circle members pretty aggressively right now. We've got a big plan in place for how they're going to be the content leader in their area, and they're already setting the expectations with local physicians. This is a big opportunity and I do believe you're going to be on the right side or the wrong side. If you play defensive on this and say that the Apple AirPods are terrible, then you could potentially look like you're trying to fight from the back foot, get on the front foot with this big, big opportunity if you get it right but hopefully that gives you some insights into where this could go, what we know now, where I believe it will go, looking into my crystal ball and how you can get ahead of this big move that is going to happen globally. This isn't Apple. Don't launch AirPods into one country. They'll be launching AirPods globally. This isn't going to go through the legislation of an over-the-counter device. This is similar to what they've done. They've launched AirPods with certain features in the past to help hearing impaired people. This is just another one but they're taking I more seriously based on what I can see so I do believe this will be globally launched without too many conflicts and challenges and yeah, an immense opportunity if you can get ahead of it. Over to you to do the work. Appreciate you listening and I'll speak to you again soon.   

And there we have it but before you head off to skip to the next episode or eagerly await for next week's, I have three things for you. First of all, if you've enjoyed what you've heard today and want to learn more about our exclusive inner circle to discover how 60 plus clinics are setting benchmarks of excellence in private practice, benefitting from a mastermind of North America's most successful practice owners and having an industry leading marketing team driving gold standard implementation, then go to That's orange-gray. There's not only a video there detailing how you can win in the next two decades in private practice but it also shares a downloadable PDF with no ask for email address or anything like that, that will explain exactly what becoming a member looks like. Second of all, I strongly feel that private practice is in a very challenging spot right now, where we're the David fighting against Goliaths, made up of large groups, manufacturer owned chains, Costco's and whatever the next heavily funded Whizbang online direct response consumer model will be. I'm a strong believer in a rising tide lifts all boats and the more private practice can fight back at scale, the bigger impact will make so please consider a friend, a colleague, or even a Facebook group, a LinkedIn group, etc. where you can spread the word about this podcast and third and finally, it may be a little thing but a five-star review hitting subscribe will ensure you automatically download all future episodes and help the algorithm to grow the impact of this podcast and at the very least, it will certainly put a smile on my face when I go and look at the numbers so I look forward to talking to you again next week. Thank you for your ears and I'll speak to you soon. 

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Do you own a pair of AirPods? 🎧

Well, it appears that it was only a matter of time before Apple brought forth their long-awaited attack on the hearing healthcare world.

When I say world that’s exactly what I meanthis new technology from Apple has the potential to disrupt hearing care internationally. 

This podcast is going to share what we know up to now, my predictions, the pros and cons to this move, and how I believe you should approach this to be positioned perfectly for the tech giant’s announcement. 

It’s only short, but this podcast is direct, and it will ensure that you’re ready to take advantage when the time comes.


Are you eager to learn more?

You can find some amazing tips and tricks of our members in 2023, head over to 👈🏼 to find out more.

Want to learn more? 👀 ⬇️

If you want to learn more about the Inner Circle to discover how 60+ clinics are setting benchmarks of excellence in private practice, benefiting from a mastermind of North America’s most successful practice owners, and having an industry-leading marketing team driving gold-standard implementation, then visit

Listen To More:

Free (No Opt-In) PDF Download:
23 of The Best (and Most Original) Ideas Implemented by Private Practice Hearing Care Clinics in 2023


📈 A clinic that has launched a premium monthly subscription program that includes community perks, benefits and annual upgrades (yes, ANNUAL upgrades) ... yet earns them industry-high margins!

📹 How one clinic has bought themselves 6+ hours back on the schedule each week by implementing a series of helpful patient videos (that is also winning them patients from competitors

🔎 How two clinics have built industry-first programs to attract existing hearing aid wearers that are either unsatisfied with their existing provider, or new to the area (and turn this into a profit-center for their business)

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