Australia’s only ASX-listed consumer wearables tech company is poised to take advantage of new legislation expected to be introduced in the US imminently.

“The Over the Counter Hearing Aid Act of 2017” has already received bi-partisan support and now awaits official approval from the Trump Government.

The Act aims to help millions of Americans affected by hearing impairment by making certain types of hearing aids available over the counter. It means that consumers will no longer require a medical examination in order to obtain an over the counter hearing aid.

If approved, the Act will open up new markets for Nuheara (ASX:NUH) and its IQbuds, which are designed for those with mild to moderate hearing loss to help them overcome noisy social settings by enabling them to turn down background crowd to hold a conversation.

The IQbuds retail for $399 a pair, while a standard hearing aid can cost around $4000 to $5000.

Nuheara CEO Justin Miller said the company hoped Trump’s rubber stamp would open up new global markets for the technology, which can be varied to take advantage of the proposed Act.

Mr Miller, who has just returned from a fortnight visiting his US offices for an extended strategy session, believes other global markets will follow the US.

Nuheara has just raised $9 million at 9.2c per share, reporting strong demand from new and existing investors. The company told the ASX that the proceeds will be used to fund aggressive retail expansion plans, new product development and provide working capital for continued retail expansion.

The first wearable prototype launched in January 2016 and has since achieved $4 million in sales, according to the serial entrepreneur.

“We did a reverse takeover to build the product. We wanted to remain an Australian company, but venture capitalists wanted us at revenue positive levels, which was impossible, so we left for the US with reverse capital to raise,” Mr Miller said.

A diagram showing how the IQbuds work. Picture: Nuheara
A diagram showing how the IQbuds work. Picture: Nuheara

Proof of concept came from his previous business, Sensear, which produced industrial hearing products. Mr Miller stepped back from the business four years ago to return to Australia after living in San Francisco for a number of years. He also founded ASX-listed IT services company Empired (ASX:EPD).

Upon returning to Australia, he began considering the market potential for a wearable technology in the hearing devices space for the consumer market.

“We started to think about an application for hearing-related technology for the wearables market. Smart devices that you could wear in your ear that gave you the ability to strip away distracting speech,” Mr Miller said.

Nuheara recently signed a number of deals with major consumer electrical stores in the US and the product is being rolled out across the country. A retail push into the UK and Europe is also under way in plenty of time to tackle the lucrative Christmas retail period. Other global markets will follow in the next few months.

“You’ve got to be quick to market now, because technology moves fairly swiftly. You want to be fast to succeed but also fast to fail. But touch wood, we have made this a success.”


This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.