That's great your son feels that way Chris - he's my new hero, truthfully. 20+ years ago I was "prescribed" a hearing aid. It wasn't like I couldn't hear, but I do in fact have a hearing loss that warranted an aid. Never once did I wear it to school or in public. We returned it a few month later because I simply would not use it.
Could some other design have helped? I strongly doubt it, unless it was invisible.
But - times have changed. I believe the world has way more knowledge and acceptance of disabilities. I even want to believe kids are less cruel, about those things at least. NURB's son may build a character where he's not ashamed of his hearing loss, he may even be PROUD of it. Me, I still won't wear an aid. One day my family will probably force me, and it's gonna be as discreet as possible.
A mistake _senior_ designers do, is that they want to conquer the world with their projects. Like, if you don't reach 80% of the market it's not worth doing. But even 0.1% of the market may be a large enough market share to warrant a BC. Ever looked at quantities for the biggest kickstarter successes that pull in millions? It's THOUSANDS! I.e. below average China MOQ.
To the OP - get some visuals down. Put it up on a wall somewhere. Get it noticed. 99.99999% chance is that nothing will come out of it. But you have positioned yourself as a designer willing to work overtime to think for yourself and explore a different direction = you've showed passion, and you've learned something.
Do it a few times on other projects and if your boss is a smart guy, you'll get more freedom to explore and not just execute orders.
And if/when your competitor does it you have a "told-you-so"-card to pull out. Just don't pull it out too soon, wait for it to be a commercial success, or it will backfire