Breaking: Bose To Cease Hearing Aid Sales
The big news hit the Boston Globe only hours ago. Bose is getting out of the hearing aid business. Bose’s Health division, which is responsible for the groundbreaking SoundControl™ self-fitting hearing aid, has been eliminated—employees were laid off after an independent review determined that “Bose should no longer be selling hearing aids.”
The layoffs are part of a larger ongoing trend of cost cutting at Bose. The company has reportedly laid off about 2,000 employees in recent years, closed down over 100 retail shops, and sold off a 1,500-employee office campus in Stow, MA. One former employee was quoted as saying “To say morale is low is an understatement.”
Bose shut down 119 Bose retail stores before the pandemic.
The report indicates that Bose has struggled with sales in recent years, missing the mark with products like Bose Frames and the SoundControl hearing aids. Bose has also reportedly lost market share to Apple, which has made headway into the pseudo-hearing-aid category with it’s speech-enhancing AirPods Pro. Bose’s overall sales were down almost a billion dollars from 2019 to 2021, according to the report.
For now, Bose plans to focus on its core product range, such as “headphones, speakers, soundbars, and audio equipment for cars.” It’s unclear what will happen with the second-generation hearing aids that were reportedly under development, but there have been some whispers (unconfirmed, but I have multiple sources) in the industry that Bose’s hearing aid technology may live on to power the hardware of a partner brand; potentially another major player in the hearing aid industry.
Bose hearing aids are still available to purchase online from Bose.com for $699 a pair, and the Boston Globe does not provide a timeline for Bose’s complete exit from the direct-to-consumer market. We were not able to immediately get an official comment from Bose.
Update — May 5, 2022
We just received the following statement from Bose:
SoundControl Hearing Aids were introduced last year and continue to be available on Bose.com. We’re learning a lot about the hearing aid market and target customer through our experience with this product. This information, along with FDA’s final OTC hearing aid rules, will help inform how we move forward in the category.
Bose remains committed to delivering critical technologies that help with hearing augmentation and noise cancellation.
We have no additional updates to share regarding our plans at this time.
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Thank you for this timely news! It will be interesting to see where the Bose hearing products go.
I am hard of hearing. Bose is not one of my favorite brands because they don't tell you how many decibels their radios and CD players can put out, or the power level in watts. With such poor attitude, I can't imagine that their hearing aids would have been worth buying either.
I tried their hearing aids and they weren't for me. Customer service was fantastic, though.
About two weeks ago got an email from Bose offering me a $20 credit at Amazon for answering a 15 minute online survey. The questions focused on whether I would pay extra if certain Bose features could be added to my HA. In summary, I pointed out that the Costco KS10 (aka Phonak) had virtually all the features they were describing. In comment section did say I might pay an extra hundred dollars for the airplane noise cancellation feature found in some headsets.