Venture Capital: Whisper gets $50M For Its AI-Powered Hearing Aids
Whisper, a startup that uses AI to power its hearing aids, launched its flagship product and announced a $35 million Series B fundraising.
San Francisco-based Whisper, which launched in 2017, announced Thursday its flagship Whisper Hearing System. The innovative hearing aid comes with its own ‘brain’ unit, which contains the companies proprietary Sound Separation Engine. This engine optimizes the nearby sounds and transmits them to the earpieces worn by the consumer. An accompanying mobile app ensures that software upgrades are implemented in the system. The user can also use the app to modulate the hearing aid system from the phone.
The company simultaneously announced the successful close of its $35 million Series B. It was led by Quiet Capital and received participation from Sequoia Capital, First Round Capital, and IVP. (Whisper)
Whisper hearing aids
The company claims that a key differentiator of its product versus the competition is the facility to constantly upgrade the system on the fly. In contrast, other hearing aids become obsolete very quickly due to changing technology.
Further, since Whisper uses artificial intelligence, its algorithms that learn and optimize sound will get better with time. These improvements will transmit to users’ hearing aids via the mobile phone app.
The hearing aids from Whisper are available on a monthly payment system. The current launch offer is for $ 139 per month for three years. The price includes ongoing care from a local hearing care professional, a lease of the Whisper Hearing System, regular software upgrades, and a 3-year warranty that covers the system along with loss and damage.
How AI helps in the Whisper hearing aids
“Technology should be used to improve people’s lives,” said Dwight Crow, Co-Founder & CEO of Whisper. “Many of the problems people face in hearing – whether hearing in a loud restaurant or having a device that quickly gets outdated – are solvable with recent advancements in consumer electronics and artificial intelligence. With the Whisper Hearing System, consumers get a state-of-the-art device designed in Silicon Valley that doesn’t stay static but continually improves with artificial intelligence for better performance.”
AI-powered hearing aids for hearing loss
According to statistics from the US National Institutes of Health, 25% of adults between 65 and 75 years, and half of those aged 75 or more, experience disabling hearing loss. Furthermore, about 28.8 million US adults could benefit from using hearing aids.
“By applying artificial intelligence, integrated with today’s advanced digital hearing aids, a hearing solution can learn how users best prefer various listening environments and give them greater automated control over their hearing experience,” wrote Lise Henningsen, global head of audiology for Denmark-based WSAudiology, in a recent article.
Related Story: AI Could Improve Hearing For Millions of Americans
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