At the origins : an ENT doctor's report
SERINITI is a French family company, founded in 2016 on an idea of our father, ENT doctor for more than 35 years in Seine Saint Denis (Ile de France, France). In the course of his professional activity, he never ceases to notice a massive rejection of hearing aids by his patients, despite their daily discomfort, conflicts with their families, an indication for hearing aids and an offer of hering devices well present on the market. In contact with his patients, he tries to understand the reasons for this unanimous refusal. This refusal is found worldwide : if, in France, 3 presbycusisers out of 4 reject hearing aids, in the United States and in Italy, only 20% of the population concerned is fitted with a hearing device and this figure drops to 15% when Spain is considered. Belgium and Germany are no better off. Psychological denial, rejection of a visible hearing aid (BTE), refusal of an expensive solution for "a simple inconvenience", lack of information on the risks of not wearing a hearing aid... So many elements of answers which, since then, have been highlighted by numerous national surveys :
- The cost of a hearing aid, which can be as high as 1 550€ on average per ear ;
- Aestheticism : 80% of hearing aid worldwide sales are for BTEs ;
- Rejection of a long and regulated care path ;
- Rejection of a hearing device considered too complex to use ;
- Negative feedback from relatives who have been fitted with a hearing aid, not motivating them to go ahead ;
- Poor information on the real possibilities of a hearing aid ;
- Poor information on the risks of not wearing a hearing aid.
A strong desire to change things
While many studies have highlighted the risks of withdrawal and cognitive decline linked to the refusal of hearing aids, our father is alarmed by this situation and aims to change things. In the early 2000s, when the advancement of technology and the miniaturization of hearing aids made it possible, he shared a simple idea with some of the audioprosthesists he met : to design a hearing aid exclusively intended to compensate for presbycusis. Preconfigured on a typical curve, the device would have to :
- Be discreet ;
- Allow a good reduction of ambient noise, the main source of discomfort for the people concerned ;
- Integrate a qualitative treatment of the sound signal ;
- Be available without prescription, for a solution without delay ;
- Be sold without additional follow-up services, for a fair price ;
- Be simple and fun to use, so as not to dramatize this discomfort, which is otherwise common, and thus allow the user to be perfectly autonomous.
The idea will never be realized and, to his great regret, he will notice, in the following decade, that nothing will change, neither the proposed offer, nor the refusal of the concerned people to go ahead. In 2014, he evoked this idea with his children, Olivier and Géraldine.
From the idea... to the marketing of Orison
Between 2014 and 2015, we put together a team of 18 people, mostly ENT doctors and specialized engineers, joined by a state-certified hearing aid specialist. The objective was to discuss the technical feasibility of the project. For two years, we have compiled nearly 150,000 audiometric curves recorded in various medical software programs, to synthesize 7 amplification programs that are substantially different, all intended to compensate for presbycusis. These different programs were then tested by some 2,000 people, aged 55 to 87, whose audiograms showed presbycusis hearing loss at different intensities (mild to moderate), up to a loss of 80dB on high frequencies (limit of severe hearing loss). Following these tests, we kept only one program, which evolved 3 times during the following semester, before being finalized by our team : this is the birth of Orison. The first production, in small volume and with the objective of market testing, was carried out during July - August 2016. September 2016 marks the beginning of the marketing of Orison, in France and Europe.
Recognition and development
In 2017, SERINITI joined the French Tech ecosystem. The national distribution network expands to 30 optician partners. Orison's success extends to Switzerland and Canada.
The following year, SERINITI is finalist of the Silver Night Trophy, in the "R&D Product Innovation" category. The second version of Orison is marketed : thinner shell, amplification up to 33dB, increased automatic reduction of ambient noise. Orison's success extends from Europe to Mauritius, where we enjoy the privilege of working closely with the Kestrel Medical Center.
In France, during 2019, SERINITI and the national brand l'Opticien qui Bouge are setting up a partnership based on the shared ambition of democratizing access to optical and hearing care. Deployed over the second half of the year, this partnership, which creates social ties, makes it possible to be present in isolated regions, in contact with those who are unable to travel.
Since 2020, Orison has also been available nationwide in more than 70 outlets in the Distri Club Médical network (consult the list of our points of sale).
2021-2022 is a milestone date, marking the launch of our international website and the development of our products range, with the marketing of the AZUR rechargeable mini-BTE, designed for those who cannot or do not wish to adopt an CIC hearing device or who are simply looking for a discreet rechargeable hearing aid.
Few words from our users
Thanks to the Lab Senioriales expertise days, SERINITI had the opportunity to meet 15 business experts and 17 senior experts representing our users, to present the Orison hearing aid and benefit from their appreciations. Evaluated on the presentation of the offer, its objective, the fluidity of the reasoning, the technicality of the vocabulary used and its good understanding by the people present, SERINITI came out with flying colors ! Our approach was considered complete, logical, sufficiently technical to reassure without frightening and attractive. More than anything else, this friendly meeting in Toulouse, at the corner of the Quai des Savoirs, reinforced our certainty that we had fully realized our father's idea and that we were able to allow each person experiencing discomfort to benefit from a quality hearing solution, at a fair price.
© Jean Jacques Gelbart for Le Lab Senioriales, presentation of the SERINITI company and its Orison hearing aid. Toulouse, January 2019.
Interview France Antilles, October 2019
Faced with the low rate of hearing aids in the population, SERINITI spoke out in the newspaper France Antilles to alert people to the risks of not wearing hearing aids and the progressive isolation of individuals. Read the article (french).
Interview 7.Dragons, July 2019
During a hot day in Paris, Geraldine met Philippe, entrepreneur, founder of the entrepreneurial blog 7.Dragons and start-up coach. Over coffee, they talked about professional experiences, positive culture of failure and development of SERINITI. Read the article (french)
March 2019, Le Lab Senioriales, Toulouse (France)
One last word, before leaving the Quai des Savoirs.
- April 2018, Salon des Seniors, Paris (France)
We were young : )