Hearing Aid User Experience

Starkey

Medical: Getting Inside Customers’ Heads

This research and design project helped Starkey to understand the physical and emotional challenges faced by its customers and drive innovation in its product line.

No one wants a hearing aid. People with hearing impairment live in denial for five to nine years before seeking treatment. When Starkey approached us to design a line of hearing aids that visually express the advanced technology inside, we saw an opportunity to improve an undesirable patient experience. We spent time with end users to learn about the physical and emotional challenges that people with hearing impairment face.

During in-depth interviews in hearing aid users’ homes, researchers experienced the frustrations that 60- to 80-year-old users face with small buttons, battery doors and controls not created with their needs in mind.

We explored such questions as

  • What physical and emotional challenges do hearing aid users face?
  • What are the pain points involved with owning a hearing aid, through purchasing, wearing, storing, operating, and maintaining?
  • What is a day in the life of a hearing aid user?
  • What are users’ perceptions of hearing aids? Perceptions of themselves?
  • What visual cues do users desire?
  • How can a product maximize benefits that hearing aids provide?

Over two years, a multi-disciplinary team of researchers, designers, product managers and engineers used research insights to develop and test two hearing aids that reduce a strong stigma through design and improved the user experience with innovations such as the hearing industry’s first touch control.

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