Edinburgh-based Hearing Diagnostics Limited announced that it has received £715,000 (USD $926,000) of investment which will enable its hearing test system to undergo trials with universities and hearing aid retailers in the UK with a view to full market launch in 2021. The company has has received financial backing from Scottish business angel investment syndicate, Archangels.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 466 million people worldwide who experience hearing loss. However, an estimated 86% of hearing loss in the UK goes unmanaged. People with untreated hearing loss may also experience social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline as a consequence.
Hearing Diagnostics’ hearing test is said to be based on the patient wearing headphones fitted with a motion sensor and turning their head in response to random, multi-direction sounds. This test, when assessed using computational algorithms, has proved to “be more accurate than existing test systems during pilot trials, and is also deemed to be more resilient to imagined sounds and background noise,” according to the company’s announcement.
The Hearing Diagnostics test, according to the company, can also be administered successfully without a soundproof booth and by a store clerk rather than an audiologist, “thereby increasing accessibility and reducing cost.” Furthermore, the Hearing Diagnostics test takes three minutes, the company reports.
Hearing Diagnostics Co-founder and Chief Executive Claudia Freigang, PhD, said, “Our vision is for hearing tests to become as accessible and commonplace as eye tests to ensure that everyone with hearing loss receives care at the earliest possible opportunity. Investment by Archangels brings us a huge step towards achieving our vision and we are excited to work with such a highly experienced and supportive group of investors.”
Colin Horne, PhD, Co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of Hearing Diagnostics, said, “As humans, we have the remarkable ability to pinpoint with precision accuracy the exact location of heard sounds, something which should make testing whether a sound was heard a trivially easy task. However, to-date, there has never been a testing technology that can deliver highly accurate screening at low cost. I’m thrilled that with this investment from Archangels, we’re now in a position to change this and realize a paradigm-shifting new product.”
Niki McKenzie, Joint Managing Director at Archangels, said, “Hearing loss is a condition that is experienced across the world and yet the technology around hearing tests has barely changed in recent years. Hearing Diagnostics appears to have invented a low-cost, accurate. and accessible test that will help hearing aid retailers to identify customers who need support with their hearing quickly and cost effectively.”
Alongside the Archangels investment, Hearing Diagnostics is proposing a number of board appointments. Charles Sweeney, formerly CEO of Bloxx and Document Outsourcing Group and a non-executive director of a number of tech businesses, will join Hearing Diagnostics as chairman. Jacqui McLaughlin, CEO of Archangels portfolio company, Reactec, and Phil Harris PhD, CEO of Vert Rotors, will join the board as non-executive directors.
The company points out that Claudia Freigang, Chief Executive and Colin Horne, Chief Technology Officer of Hearing Diagnostics, as a married couple, are members of the same household and, therefore, not socially distanced in the photo accompanying this announcement.
Source: Hearing Diagnostics Ltd.
Images: Peter Devlin