Gizmos & Gadgets: New Startup Prototypes Affordable Hearing Device

March 22, 2014 – iHear Medical, a California startup, is crowdfunding on Indiegogo to raise $65,000 U.S. and is better than two-thirds there with a half-month to go. What makes the hearing device they have built so interesting are two things:

 

  • a dramatic reduction in cost for the hearing loss afflicted.
  • the ability for users to do home testing and customize the product to their specific requirements.

 

With the iHEAR HD you skip the otolaryngologist, the audiologist and the dispensing fees you would pay. And with programmable, digital hearing aids priced at up to $2,500.00 U.S. you end up saving thousands more.

iHEAR HD is a digital hearing aid and that’s state of the art. It is no larger than a kidney bean, comes in a range of designer colors, and easily fits inside the ear canal. A replaceable seal tip ensures a good snug fit. No whistles, buzzes or echos with this device. Wearers can program the aid for a range of loss types from flat, reverse slopes, high frequency, mild, moderate to moderately-severe. It is water resistant for casual use. You can swim and shower with it. You can even take a nap and leave it in but the company recommends removing it overnight.

Because when you use it you are the one in control, you do the testing using the $49.00 U.S. Test Kit that’s included with every iHEAR HD sold. This USB 2.0+ device plugs into any Apple or Windows compatible computer and lets the user conduct his or her own online hearing test with the results stored in the cloud. You get two tests per kit and can order additional tests by going online and paying $9.00 for each.

Plans to release the product this summer in the U.S. are on schedule. International sales will begin in 2015. But for those who wish to be an early adopter, go to the Indiegogo site and make a pledge to order one or more. The company will send you a medical waiver listing conditions where the device should not be used. Fill out the form and email it back. You’ll then be put on the wait list to get one. If uncertain about your hearing just order the iHear Home Hearing Test Kit which can be purchased for $49.00 whether you order the hearing aid or not.

At $199.00 U.S., iHEAR HD is far more affordable than any other digital hearing aid on the market today. And additional maintenance costs are reasonable. These include replacement batteries at $9.00 per month, and seal tips at $1.00 per month.

A pledge of $349.00 on the Indiegogo crowdfunding site gets you a nice package whcih includes two hearing aids, the Hearing Test Kit, and a month’s supply of batteries and seal tips (a $449.00 value). The crowdfunding site also offers the iHEAR Test for $49.00 U.S. and single orders of the hearing aid for a pledge of $149.00. Oops, the latter offer is already sold out.

One other thing that iHEAR Medical is doing to sweeten the pot. Any one of the first 1,000 who order an iHEAR HD device will result in the company donating an additional device and the Test Kit to someone who could not afford to buy one on their own. Roughly 40% of those suffering from hearing loss in the United States cannot afford a hearing aid. So in supporting this Indiegogo campaign you’ll be helping not just yourself but someone else suffering from hearing loss.

 

iHEAR HD hearing aid

 


Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...

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