What do Cape Town, Bose, and hearing aids have in common? If you guessed Lexie Hearing, then you've been doing your homework.
Lexie Hearing is a relatively new player in the hearing health world, but they've made an enormous impact and even earned 2023 honors as one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential companies.
In this guide, we're digging into Lexie's background, product line, reputation, and, importantly, their strategic partnership with Bose (yes, that Bose).
I first met the Lexie team in 2020 before they launched their first product. I've worn their products and followed their growth. For this guide, though, I decided to go straight to the source and talk with CEO Nic Klopper.
Let's dig in.
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Let's start with Lexie's product offering. Today, Lexie offers three products.
- Lexie Lumen (budget option)
- Lexie B1 Powered by Bose (mid-tier option)
- Lexie B2 Powered by Bose (Top-End option)
All three of Lexie's products come over the counter with no doctor involved. An audiologist would typically program your hearing aids to match your specific loss, but Lexie uses an app to handle programming.
I've tested all three products from the brand and ultimately found this programming approach works well for my mild-moderate hearing loss. I'm not alone in that opinion. The product has several hundred reviews on Google, with an average of 4.7 rating.
Importantly, Lexie's products are far more affordable than the national average (around $4,500 per pair). Lexie's top-of-the-line hearing aid sells for $999 per pair.
Here are some of the key features across Lexie's line of products.
- The Lexie Lumen Self-fitting OTC hearing aids can be customized according to your hearing profile. Pair the hearing aids with the Lexie app, take the in-app hearing check, and your hearing aids will automatically adjust according to your hearing profile. Suitable for individuals 18 or older with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- The Lexie B1 hearing aids Powered by Bose are a first-of-their-kind receiver-in-canal, self-fitting OTC hearing aids. Lexie B1 hearing aids pair with the Lexie app, the first self-tuning mobile app that's clinically proven to provide audiologist-quality customization for individuals 18 or older with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
- The Lexie B2 hearing aids Powered by Bose are rechargeable, receiver-in-canal hearing aids. They are Bluetooth-enabled stream phone calls for iPhone. They are FDA-regulated and pair with the Lexie app, the first self-tuning mobile app that's clinically proven to provide audiologist-quality customization for individuals 18 or older with perceived mild-to-moderate hearing loss.
Where does Bose fit in?
You may be wondering where Bose fits into all of this. The background has several twists and turns (you can read the full story here) but here's the short version:
- In 2015, Bose purchased an innovative self-fitting company called Ear Machine
- Bose used the acquisition to jump-start their own hearing aid and released it in 2021
- In 2022, Bose discontinued their entire health division, including their new hearing aid
- Later that year, Lexie signed for an exclusive license to the product
- Today, Lexie is the sole licensee and care provider for Bose hearing aid products
I asked Lexie's CEO, Nic Klopper, about how his team landed the deal with Bose. He shared, "We worked with Bose's hearing division for several years before our public partnership. As a world leader in audio quality, Bose is an incredibly valuable partner in the effort to make better hearing more accessible and affordable, and we are proud to work with them to offer some of the best over-the-counter hearing aids available on the market, including the Lexie B2 Hearing Aids Powered by Bose, and the Lexie B1 Hearing Aids Powered by Bose. These hearing aids beautifully combine world-famous Bose sound quality with Lexie's excellent hearing technology, expert care, and audiological experience."
Going further back in time.
Nic co-founded his first hearing-related company, hearX, with Prof. De Wet Swanepoel in 2016. That company is still in operation and creates hearing tests for mobile clinics. When asked about the transition into consumer products, Nic shared, "We provided leading digital diagnostics and hearing loss detection tools that served people everywhere from urban city centers in Europe and the U.S. to the most remote villages in Africa. But after several years of that work, we realized we were sending people into a broken, overburdened healthcare system. We had identified a problem for them but weren't contributing to an affordable solution that people could access with ease."
The experience was the genesis for Lexie Hearing.
What's the latest with Lexie Hearing?
It's safe to say that Lexie is the brand to beat in the OTC hearing space. Here are some quick facts:
- Lexie is available at 12,000 retail stores around the U.S.
- In recent press following Lexie's TIME 100 recognition, the company shared that it expects to top $60M in sales in 2023
- The company also told me that 80% of customers keep the product. That's twice the industry average, which comes in at 35% - 40%.
When I asked Nic about the progress, he shared, "We aren't just making hearing aids because there's a market for them. We have spent years developing a high-quality, prescription-grade hearing aid that can be manufactured and sold affordably to bring better hearing to millions in need."
On the product side, Lexie's biggest recent news is the addition of streaming capabilities within their B2 devices (only available for iPhone users at this time).
How the Lexie process works.
The Lexie process works basically the same regardless of the product you choose.
- Receive your product from retail or through the mail
- Download the Lexie app
- Follow the instructions to pair your hearing aids
- Take an onboard hearing test through your new hearing aids
- Once your test is complete, the devices will match your hearing loss
- Use the additional controls in the app to change sound quality and volume
- The entire process took me about 20 minutes
- Importantly, Lexie offers expert support via phone at any stage in the process. Experts can help you troubleshoot and fine-tune your devices to match your needs.
Where to purchase Lexie hearing aids.
The easiest place to purchase Lexie Hearing aids is directly through their online store where you can get occasional discounts and payment plans.
You'll also find Lexie at a wide range of retail locations including:
- Best Buy
Lexie Hearing aids are also available through United Healthcare and for AARP members.
How does Lexie stack up to other hearing aids on the market?
It's hard to beat the overall value, name brand, and seriousness of this team. The hearing aids themselves get the job done with solid sound quality.
The only major drawback is that Lexie B2 Powered by Bose does not offer streaming to Android devices at this time.