Leah Heiss

Facett is the world’s first modular self-fit hearing aid, designed by Leah Heiss for Blamey Saunders hears. In order to distinguish Facett from traditional hearing aids Leah drew inspiration from the mineralogy collection at Museums Victoria in Melbourne, Australia. The crystalline form seeks to shift stigma, and move hearing aids from disability to desirability.

In addition to looking different to traditional hearing aids, Facett functions differently. The intuitive magnetic connector bypasses the need to change tiny batteries, an ongoing frustration for older people with arthritic fingers or vision impairment. Facett was designed through a human-centred approach.

Leah spent time with over 25 hearing aid users to understand what it is like to depend on a technology to live and work. The design process was iterative and Leah created over 200 3D printed models throughout development. These iterative models became the conduit for a collaboration between experts who do not have a shared lexicon. Leah also used the iterative models to engage with technology users and invite their participation in the process of creating the hearing aid.


Leah Heiss is a designer and RMIT academic working at the nexus of design, health, and technology. Her practice traverses device, service and experience and her process is deeply collaborative, working with experts from nanotechnology and health services through to manufacturing. Her health technologies include Diabetes Jewellery; biosignal sensing emergency jewellery; and swallowable devices to detect disease.

Facett, the world’s first modular hearing aid that Leah designed for Blamey Saunders hears won the 2018 Good Design Award and the CSIRO Design Innovation Award. Leah has won five Good Design Awards in total and her work is part of Museums Victoria heritage collection. She has exhibited at the Melbourne Museum, Queensland Gallery of Modern Art and other galleries locally and globally.

Leah teaches RMIT’s Masters of Design Futures and the Interior Design honours program. Her teaching practice traverses embedded practice in cancer care and transdisciplinary design focused on health sector innovation.

Facett modular hearing aid 2018
Facett modular hearing aid: Injection moulded plastic, electronics, microphones, wiring
10 mm x 7 mm x 35 mm
By Leah Heiss for Blamey Saunders hears

Facett iterative models 2016
Facett iterative models: 3D printed plastics
Each model 30 mm x 15 mm x 7mm
Leah Heiss and Blamey Saunders hears

Facett was supported with assistance by the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science through a commercialization grant as part of the Entrepreneurs’ Program.