Most of us consider hearing loss to be mostly confined to older people, but it affects people of all ages. One of those people is Amy Li, a dedicated member of the hearing industry who personally has hearing loss. She was approached after coming forward about her own hearing issues by others who felt that dealing with their hearing was too expensive. The result was Concha Labs.
The company's goal is to bring affordable hearing devices to people while improving the quality of the technology. The company's main focus is on software, designed to allow the wearer to conform the device to their own hearing profile. But, in addition to a standard profile, the software is able to adjust to various environmental scenarios, such as the noise of a convention center. This is a major change from standard hearing devices, which are tuned for the wearer, but not for the environment.
The tuning process is also very different. The normal process is to go into a doctor's office and perform an audio equivalent of an eye test. When the profile is created, it is usually wrong, causing the wearer to have to go back into the office to have it fine-tuned after a few days. With Concha Labs, you can perform your own test, which is more similar to an audio version of a full eye exam. This test is more detailed than the traditional test and creates a more accurate profile. It also prevents the need for the doctor's visits. And, because the profile is completely your own, you can make adjustments on the fly from your mobile device. So, if you are at a party, the symphony, or a convention center, you can use altered versions of your default profile to enhance your experience in these unique situations.
The Concha Labs technology is currently in beta in the company's Hearing Pods. As part of the beta test, a member can get the Hearing Pods for $800 (as opposed to the average of $5000 for traditional hearing aids), and $25 per month for the service, which includes the tuning, profiles, as well as replacement parts, such as batteries and ear tips. To join the beta or learn more about the company's technology, check out their website.
Interview by Scott Ertz of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology and Christopher Jordan of The Talking Sound.
Scott is a developer who has worked on projects of varying sizes, including all of the PLUGHITZ Corporation properties. He is also known in the gaming world for his time supporting the rhythm game community, through DDRLover and hosting tournaments throughout the Tampa Bay Area. Currently, when he is not working on software projects or hosting F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Scott can often be found returning to his high school days working with the Foundation for Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology (FIRST), mentoring teams and helping with ROBOTICON Tampa Bay. He has also helped found a student software learning group, the ASCII Warriors, currently housed at AMRoC Fab Lab.