Customers will now be able to purchase Audeara’s (ASX: AUA) assisted hearing technology products in 238 Specsavers stores after a distribution agreement was reached between the two parties.
As part of the new symbiotic partnership which was announced today, Brisbane-based Audeara will gain access to Australia’s fastest-growing audiology network, with an opportunity for further growth as Specsavers continues to roll out audiology services to its optometry store footprint.
The agreement increases the total number of audiology clinics stocking Audeara products by over 20 per cent to 1,369, with Specsavers now the business’ second-largest relationship in Australia.
“The exciting part for us is that there are more than 400 Specsavers optical sites, and it very much intends to move to provide both audiology and optical services throughout the country. We see it as a great initial push into the clinics that already offer audiology and establishing ourselves as the service grows throughout that network,” Audeara founder and CEO Dr James Fielding told Business News Australia.
“What's exciting about the Specsavers relationship is that because it is predominantly an optical clinic, people are going in at a much younger age and being provided with audiology services.
“So rather than pure audiology, where people seek a solution to hearing problems, people are going into Specsavers for several reasons, and it's opening up their eyes to the importance of hearing health. They're getting their eyes checked, but they’re also getting their ears checked, and we love that we can be part of that story now.”
As Audeara looks to provide solutions to help people regain the joy of better hearing and make early intervention more accessible to Australians with hearing loss, Fielding sees an opportunity to attract a new set of customers who may be more aware of their hearing health.
“In Australia, the average age of a first-time hearing aid user is about 75, while the average age of people getting their vision tested for the first time is around 45,” Fielding noted.
“Both Audeara and Specsavers seek to lower the average age of people seeking an early intervention solution for their hearing to improve hearing outcomes over the life of people suffering hearing impairment.”
Audeara’s headphones can be used as an assistive listening device for people with mild to moderate hearing loss or those not yet ready to transition entirely to hearing aids.
Delivered through Bluetooth, Audeara’s proprietary personalisation algorithm calibrates the headphones for an individual’s unique hearing profile providing high-quality audio for video conferencing, telephone calls and when using mainstream applications like watching television, listening to music and gaming.
Despite stores stocking its products being heavily impacted by COVID lockdowns and the fallout from the Queensland and NSW flooding disaster, Audeara recorded a 28 per cent year-on-year revenue rise during the March quarter to $330,517.
The business was helped after it increased its stockists from roughly 800 in November 2021 to 1,041, adding agreements with Amplifon, Audika, and Sonova subsidiaries Connect Hearing and Blamey Saunders hears (BSh) to its Australian network.
Audeara released a trading update in May confirming April’s sales rebounded back to normal trading conditions, recording the third-best month of sales in the company's history.
It also announced agreements with The Hearing Co, a subsidiary of Healthia Group (ASX: HLA) and NextSense – Australia’s oldest hearing charity and pioneer in hearing health advocacy, education and services.
“Everything's back on track; we're back to where we want to be revenue-wise and feel very confident about how everything's progressing,” the 2021 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur finalist confirmed.
“Never say never when it comes to natural disasters and pandemics, but we feel like we're starting to get back into a good rhythm, and an opportunity like this with Specsavers is a sign of that.
“We’ve spoken previously about how it's a relationship we've wanted to grow now that they offer audiology services.”
With a growing number of distribution agreements in Australia and North America, Fielding isn’t shy about Audeara’s ambition for its products to be available for sale in every hearing clinic globally.
“We feel very strongly about our international partnerships across the board. We're in several global chains now, predominantly in their Australian operations, but we've big aspirations to prove the value of those relationships here and then take them internationally,” he explained.
“At this point, the Specsavers deal is very much focused on Australia, but we feel ready to step it up once we've proved ourselves here.”
Shares in Audeara (ASX: AUA) have risen by 8.43 per cent as of 1.05pm AEST following the announcement.
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