Whisper co-founder and president Andrew Song talked to his grandfather about his hearing aids a few years ago. He spent thousands of dollars on a medical device to improve his hearing. Moreover, it was to improve his quality of life. Nevertheless, he was not wearing that device. Song’s co-founders had similar experiences with grandparents. So as entrepreneurs and engineers, they decided to do something about it. They tried to build more modern and better hearing aid.
The company emerged today from stealth with a new hearing aid built from the ground up. It uses artificial intelligence for adjusting and learning in an automated way to different hearing situations like watching TV or a noisy restaurant. Upfront, you do not have to pay thousands of dollars. Instead, you can pay a monthly fee on a three-year subscription. So, you get free software updates along the way.
The company also announced a $35 million Series B investment led by Quiet Capital, with participation from previous investors First Round Capital and Sequoia Capital. To build the hearing aid system that it is announcing today, the startup has raised a total of $53 million.
Before starting the company, discussions with his grandfather led Song, wondering why he was not wearing those hearing aids. He asked what the challenges he was having and why that was not working for him. Those questions led him to launch a startup.
Song explained that those questions inspired them to build a new kind of product. The product could get better over time and would better support people who use hearing aids. Thus, hearing aid uses artificial intelligence to improve the sound that somebody gets.
The founding team had a background in engineering and engineering. Nevertheless, they did not have expertise in hearing science. Thus, they brought on Dr. Robert Sweetow. He was from the UCSF audiology department. So, Sweetow helped them.
That technology consists of some components. For starters, you have hearing aids themselves that fit on the ear. It is along with a pocket-sized external box that they call the Whisper Brain. The company says that Whisper Brain works wirelessly. Moreover, earpieces to enable a proprietary artificial intelligence-based Sound Separation Engine. Furthermore, there is a smartphone application to update the software on the system.
Song says that artificial intelligence is what separates them from other hearing aids. The company offers those hearing aids with a network of hearing aid professionals.
Let us wait and see the future of hearing aids.