You're going to see a lot of news in the next few days about big TV screens, smartphones, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, self-driving cars and virtual reality as CES 2024 gets underway in Las Vegas.
Glasses maker EssilorLuxottica thinks you should also hear something about technological breakthroughs as well as it prepares to unveil a prototype that integrates hearing assistance into the plastic frame of a pair of glasses, without the need for clunky wires or attachments.
The electronics trade show, which opens for media events on Jan. 7, has been the global platform for the introduction of high-technology devices and concepts, with attendance and publicity soaring during the past decade.
For EssilorLuxottica — the company that produces brand names such as Ray-Ban, Oakley, Prada and Foster Grant — the show is key to its entry into the hearing aid industry.
The U.S. government approved over-the-counter hearing aid sales in late 2022, a move intended to cut costs and add competition to the industry. A few months later, EssilorLuxottica announced it was entering the market.
Its new Super Audio team is working on its first product, embedding a "completely invisible" audio component within a pair of glasses, "removing a psychological barrier" to hearing aids. It is planned for users with mild to moderate hearing loss, a group that includes more than 1 billion people.
"While sight remains our core business … we are uniquely positioned to open up a new avenue for the industry by addressing the need for good hearing with innovative technologies," CEO Francesco Milleri said in a news release.