Patrick Freuler, founder and chief executive of the hearing aid company Audicus, went into business after being confronted with prices and inefficiencies that seemed out of step with today’s technology-driven, consumer-oriented world…Audicus, based in Chelsea, is part of a wave of companies capitalizing on the shift toward what Freuler calls DIY diagnostics. Anyone with a mobile phone can track their blood-glucose levels, take a vision exam or even attempt to self-diagnose a skin condition. Why not take a hearing test?
Audicus is selling simple and affordable, German-manufactured hearing aids. It is one of the first startups that offers an Online Hearing Test that is accurate enough to program your hearing aids, which eliminates the need to seek a clinical audiogram. This direct-to-consumer startup radically reduces hearing aid costs and ensures that hearing aids are customized and tailored to the client’s requirements.
The cost to manufacture a single hearing aid — not including fees for testing and programming and other services — is only $50 to $200, said Freuler.
“I think at some point, what will happen [is that] we will make the market bigger, because we will attract people who will not go to the audiologist because it is so expensive,” Freuler said.
Perhaps the closest thing to “a fashionable hearing aid” happened in 2015, when Audicus partnered with Advanced Style for a line of devices in leopard print, glitter, polka dots, and hologram. They’re actually really cool — and the campaign video, starring the impossibly glamorous Joyce Carpati, is serving very good octogenarian style icon vibes.