USING DESIGN TO ADDRESS STIGMA AND USABILITY

The Situation

Starkey makes some of the most technologically advanced hearing aids available. There’s just one problem—no one wants a hearing aid. More than 48 million Americans suffer from hearing loss, but the average person waits seven years from the time a hearing aid could help until actually purchasing a set. People associate traditional hearing aids with age, disability and weakness. To help Starkey grow, we needed to overcome strong emotional barriers.

The Solution

Driven by more than a decade of in-depth customer research, Karten Design introduced functional innovation across Starkey’s entire product line, including the first touch-operated hearing aid and Starkey’s first made-for-iPhone hearing aid. With a dynamic new design language that borrows visual cues from modern architecture, jewelry and automotive design, we’ve helped overcome the stigma surrounding hearing aids while making them easier to use. And we’ve been widely praised for our work. The K:D designed Livio AI hearing aid was awarded as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions of 2019.

 

What We Did

Design Strategy
Design Research
Industrial Design

Digital Design
Mechanical Engineering

“Thanks to Karten Design, we’ve been able to minimize not just the physical barriers around using a hearing aid—changing batteries and operating sound settings—but the emotional barriers. Karten Design’s research has helped us understand our customers as people with complex emotions and motivations, and it has transformed our approach to product development.”

— Deborah Corti, former Principal Product Line Strategist, Starkey