Proving that smartphones can really do just about anything, The Good Ear has developed an iPhone app that can analyze and treat hearing loss.
You may think this is a niche group of users, but according to a recent Johns Hopkins study, 1 in 5 Americans are currently experiencing hearing loss in some form. The big problem is that most of those people aren’t even aware that they have a problem. The company is one of five smartphone app developers competing at our MobileBeat Innovation Competition in San Francisco today. (Update: The Good Ear won the prize.)
The Good Ear’s “Better Hearing” app identifies where your hearing is weak, and for 99 cents a month, it offers a way to fix your hearing using Threshold Sound Conditioning (TSC). The company claims that your hearing will be improved by simply using the apps TSC features for 30 minutes a day over 14 days.
“The traditional hearing loss treatment has been to amplify the sound through the use of hearing aids, which are actual mini-amplifiers placed in the ears,” wrote cofounder and VP of business development John Nahm in an email to VentureBeat. “However, this amplification actually worsens the hearing by having the ear become used/trained to hear at a continuously increasing volume.
“In contrast, our technology identifies the frequency band that the user experiences the most hearing deficiency in, relative to the other frequency bands, and applies sound therapy at the barely audible level to prompt the ear to become trained to hear at lower volume levels for that problem frequency area.”