Eargo landed $25 million in funding. So there is money flowing into hearing aid innovation. But Eargo does not solve the issue of cost. A pair of hearing aids from eargo are still over $2000.
I do not think its the technology that keeping prices high. I will point the finger at distribution. Think of how DeBeers used to control the flow of diamonds. When you control the flow you can control the prices.
The top 6 have the audiologist channel - about 6000 to 9000 throughout the US and Canada - many of these offices are owned partial or outright owned by the mfg. They have hearing planet dot com - where oddly enough all models seemed to be the exact same price in respective categories and they are all in Costco. Costco has reasonable prices but they are still around $2000 for a pair. Liberty (which I think is owned by Starkey) is sold in SamsClub.
Just recently Walmart in Texas was selling hearing aids without licensed audiologists or dispensers, they were simply asking the customer to sign a waiver. Walmart was was sued by the Texas State Board of Audiologists. The Texas State Board of Audiologists lost. For the same reason, if you are over 18, you can refuse medical treatment, The Court decided with Walmart because they found someone over 18 is able to make decisions about their own body.
This is the current method of distribution. 6000 to 9000 audiologists, 650 Costcos only in metro areas, and Sams clubs. And soon Walmart will be selling hearing aids throughout the country.
Are there current alternatives, with lower prices to the Big 6? Yes there are 5-10 other hearing aid mfgs, smaller sizes like ExSilent, Audina, Persona Medical, Manan Hearing - That build quality hearing aids for a fraction of the price. They use the same chips that Starkey, Audibel and Beltone use and the come with strong warranties. These mfgs, due to their size, cannot get into the 6000 to 9000 audiologist offices, or costco or samsclub. So they distribute through companies like my company, Century Hearing Aids, audicus,and others.
The Biggest opportunity is internet sales. Why can't someone with hearing loss, sit in their home order a hearing aid, have it delivered to their house, reprogram it to their liking?