Perspective of a person wearing assistive tech XanderGlasses that display real-time captions of conversations for people with hearing loss.
Are Xander Captioning Glasses Right for You or Someone You Know?
Xander Captioning Glasses are designed to simplify communication, enhance understanding, restore confidence, and ...
Xander Captioning Glasses are designed to simplify communication, enhance understanding, restore confidence, and empower people with significant hearing challenges in daily conversations.
If you’re wondering whether XanderGlasses could be helpful to you or someone you know, answering two basic questions could help you determine whether the glasses would offer a viable solution.
- How severely does hearing loss impact your quality of life—what is your degree of hearing loss?
- What result do you hope that this assistive tech device will provide—what are your goals?
Degrees of Hearing Loss (HL)
The spectrum of hearing loss ranges from mild to profound and each ear can have a different degree of hearing.
XanderGlasses work the same regardless of your level of hearing loss. However, choosing which solution works best for any individual can vary according to the degree of their HL.
Severe to Profound Hearing Challenges
For two years, we tested prototypes of our captioning glasses with people who had varying degrees of hearing loss, from extremely mild to profound. After observing users, we believe that Xander Captioning Glasses offer the most significant assistance to people who struggle with severe to profound hearing challenges, and who want to improve their understanding of speech.
People with more severe hearing loss cannot hear the speech of a person talking at a normal level, even in a quiet room. Constant straining to hear when others are speaking makes it hard, if not impossible, to hold conversations. It’s exhausting. It can decrease autonomy because people must depend on a spouse or child to communicate. One tester shared his frustration and humiliation when he tried to complete a simple transaction in person:
“I went to see about my insurance the other day, and the guy called my son because I just couldn't understand him. But now with this, I feel like I could take care of stuff. I'm reading. . . it makes just makes a world of difference.”
Ronnie F., Vietnam Veteran, severe hearing loss.
Many who tested XanderGlasses told us that they grow embarrassed by asking someone to repeat themselves. It's common for people with hearing challenges to withdraw and become isolated as their hearing loss increases. One Veteran, Ronnie F., shared, “It's something that people don't understand. You don't know until you have to be in silence.”
Another, Marvin T. described, "I lost total hearing on the left, and then about a year later, I lost hearing on this side. You go through life and you just take it for granted. And then when you lose it, it's devastating."
If you can relate to these descriptions, XanderGlasses might be helpful to you.
An Additional Option
Xander Captioning Glasses have proven especially useful to people for whom current solutions, including prescription hearing aids and cochlear implants, are either not an option or no longer provide enough help.
One audiologist described,
“I've been in audiology a long time. Years ago, the hearing aid was the end of the line. Then we got cochlear implants. And that was the end of the line. Now, the line has moved again. I believe these captioning glasses will be life-changing for my patients.”
~ Dr. Lisa Boothe Rogers, AuD, Audiology & Speech Pathology Services, VA Health System
Mild & Moderate Hearing Challenges
People with mild hearing loss might experience frustration at not being able to understand speech completely in certain situations, like noisy restaurants, or a soft-talker. Devices like hearing aids can greatly help people with mild to moderate hearing loss.
If you can hear speech well with a hearing aid(s), then you likely don’t need XanderGlasses for everyday conversations. In fact, having two sensory inputs may be overwhelming. Some users liked having the option of using Xander Captioning Glasses to follow conversations in certain situations, like a noisy restaurant, busy office or station, loud outdoor streets, or places with background noises where it can be difficult to follow a conversation. But that is a matter of personal preference.
Personal Goals or Hopes for the Assistive Device
Before buying any assistive tech device, it’s important to identify what you want it to deliver—how you want it to help you. If your goal is to be able to hear music again, XanderGlasses will not be useful to you.
XanderGlasses cannot restore your hearing. They can simplify communication and enhance your understanding of others.
People with severe hearing loss often remark that the Xander Captioning Glasses help them "hear" better because they can understand speech that they previously could not. This makes communication easier.
Some of our testers with moderate hearing loss who could hear well with hearing aids or cochlear implants found that XanderGlasses were useful in certain situations, like noisy restaurants, in group settings, outdoor venues, and places with steady background noise. While their degree of HL was mild or moderate and they might not need the glasses all the time, they reported that the captions gave them confidence that they understood what was being said.
One of our most memorable tests was with a 102-year-old man with profound HL. His children urged him to try the glasses, thinking they might improve communication. He called the glasses “a miracle,” noting that with the glasses, “someone who is completely deaf could still function.”
Ultimately, he did not adopt XanderGlasses because he explained that he didn’t interact with people every day, since most of his acquaintances had passed. He felt satisfied with his quality of life and from his perspective, he didn't need additional assistive technology.
So, the choice to use XanderGlasses is highly personal.
A Different Solution: Sensory Substitution
Xander Captioning Glasses are wearable assistive technology that help people with hearing challenges by leveraging the sense of sight. Tiny microphones on the glasses listen for you, transcribe speech into text in real-time, and then display captions of what others are saying. Captions are projected at about arm’s length from the person wearing the glasses, and they are only visible to the wearer. We like to say that “when you can't hear what someone is saying, XanderGlasses let you see what they're saying.”
Other captioning solutions are available but XanderGlasses are different in a few ways that relate to our core principles of providing a simple, reliable, and safe assistive tech device that protects users privacy. Xander Captioning Glasses are made in the U.S. Our glasses are manufactured in Rochester, New York, by Vuzix, a pioneer and industry leader in wearable computing, waveguide optics, and protective smart eyewear. XanderGLasses are powered by the Vuzix Shield smart glasses and meet the highest standards and basic safety requirements under General Product Safety Directives 2001/95/EC.
You can learn more about the product and how it works here.
The total cost of XanderGlasses is comparable to the cost of a pair of prescription hearing aids. In 2023, Forbes estimated that the average cost of prescription hearing aids ranges between $4,000 to $8,000 for a pair. Hearing Tracker places the average cost of hearing aids at $4,672.
Xander Captioning Glasses are available for a total cost of $4,999, with monthly payment plans available through Affirm for as low as $174/month. This one-time cost includes all accessories (charging cable, power brick, microfiber cleaning cloth, eyeglasses cord, protective hard case, carrying case, and sunglasses clip-ons). We also cover the cost of prescription lenses (available for distance vision only). There are no additional costs or ongoing subscription fees.
"Our ability to hear is precious. Untreated hearing loss can have a devastating impact on people’s ability to communicate, to study and to earn a living. It can also impact on people’s mental health and their ability to sustain relationships."
~ Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization
If you or a loved one struggles with hearing challenges, we encourage you to investigate all of your options to find and use whatever assistive technology helps you to understand and communicate. If you would like help finding the best prices for hearing aids in your region, the project, Local Hearing Aid Discounts which was started by Hearing Tracker in 2019, can help. You can learn more about how Xander Captioning Glasses work and the XanderGlasses kit here.