Hearables: Next Big Consumer Thing

LAKE WALES, Fla.—Hearables may be the next “big thing.” Samsung jumped on-board last week, ensuring that hearables will at least get a mass-market introduction. Like the health monitor revolution for people without health maladies has prospered as “wellness,” likewise the hearable market is expected to prosper with people of normal hearing, by enhancing their ability to hear in the presence of noise.

The stakes are huge, according to WiFore Consulting, which predicts that hearables will be the fastest growing wearable market, exploding upward to over $16 billion by 2020. The reason is that hearing is perhaps the most important sense — even more than vision. Ask any videographer and they will confirm that a good audio track trumps the video track, which users will forgive for glitches if the audio track is pristine. (In fact, video is often intentionally degraded in the presence of an excellent audio track — for effects such as mimicking amateur footage in “ghost stories”). WiFore's “$16 billion by 2020” prediction sounds high, but with Samsung entering the market, the $16 billion may be achievable.

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