The Andrews Labor Government is backing local, world-first technology that will give Victorians – particularly those in regional areas – better access to more convenient, affordable hearing aids.
The Facett hearing aid device allows users to test their hearing and manage their personalised settings in their own home via a computer or mobile device with the help of online support.
“We’re supporting innovative Victorian companies that are developing and manufacturing the products that will shape the future of global healthcare. These companies show how innovation can improve our lives while also creating new jobs for local Victorians.”
Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Philip Dalidakis
The device’s modular design also allows users to swap out old hardware for new upgrades instead of having to buy a completely new device if one part of it fails.
The technology has been designed and manufactured in Victoria and will reduce the cost of hearing aids and the time spent travelling to specialists, which are often in Melbourne.
It is the result of a collaboration between Blamey Saunders Hears, Extel Technologies, RMIT and Swinburne University – a partnership that has brought hearing aid development, design and manufacturing to Victoria.
Blamey Saunders Hears co-founders Dr Elaine Saunders and Professor Peter Blamey want to engage directly with customers and reach patients in rural and remote areas. Professor Blamey’s cutting-edge technology, the ADRO sound processor, has also been used in another Victorian world-first development – the bionic ear.
“Living in a regional area inspired me to create a business that makes the benefits of innovative technology accessible to everyone, no matter where they live. We’re proud to have developed and manufactured Facett right here in Victoria.”
Cofounder and Managing Director of Blamey Saunders Dr Elaine Saunders
One in six Australians suffer from hearing loss – a figure that is expected to increase to one in four by 2050. Untreated hearing loss can lead to serious complications, however distance and prohibitive costs are often a barrier to treatment for Victorians – particularly those living in regional areas.
Victoria has a strong track record of world first developments, including customised 3D-printed surgical implants and the robotic prosthetic arm.
Victoria’s medical technology and pharmaceuticals industry is vital to the state’s future economy. It currently employs around 23,000 people and generates over $12.7 billion in revenue.
The Labor Government is supporting the sector through initiatives such as the $200 million Future Industries Fund.