El-egance Hearing Device

Posted on June 18, 2010


Designer: Ryan Kirkpatrick

As requested by Max (designer of the most attractive glucose monitoring device the world has seen), this is The Design Critic’s take on Ryan Kirkpatrick’s El-egance Hearing Device.

Ryan has boldly attempted to position the hearing aid as a fashion accessory, rather than a form of dependence on which many of the hearing impaired rely on. Although there are many concepts which market the hearing aid as a lifestyle product, Ryan has addressed this issue with surprising depth and understanding. One cannot agree more, that “…resorting to hiding the devices is an implicit acceptance of the stigma attached to them”.

We can see that Ryan has approached this project very comprehensively, considering multiple degrees of a product set in a relatively niche market. He has addressed social stigma, material and finishes, integrated charging/packaging and even consumer usability. Many designers rarely carry a concept to such a high level of resolution, but it seems that this designer has managed to do just that.

However, if I could change just one thing (as usual), it would be the design of the earpiece. The ‘volume rings’ are a delightful, almost musical-looking combination of concentric circles. The earpiece however, seems to lack congruence with the rings in terms of aesthetics.

Lastly, with regards to the rings and volume control, i’m actually not too sure how they work, except that rotating the outer rings somehow adjust the volume.

Few questions for the Ryan:
– Is there a need for two rings? Could they be condensed into one?
– Is there a chance that the user might accidentally turn up the volume too much?
– Is there a reason that the styling of the earpiece and the rings are different? (I’m guessing internal components.)
– Imagine if this earpiece could be hooked up (probably via bluetooth) to an iPod or iPhone. That would be awesome.

We eagerly await Ryan’s response on his well-designed product,
from the team at The Design Critic.

Posted in: Product