Hearing care and artificial intelligence company Whisper recently unveiled its new hearing aid equipped with machine learning and AI, said Tech Crunch. It also revealed a $35 million investment it received during the Series B funding round.
Whisper Hearing System is an aid for individuals with hearing impairment that operates based on the noise level of their surroundings. It uses AI to adjust the earpiece’s volume level depending on the environment.
As such devices are known to cost thousands of dollars, the company offers a more manageable option through subscription.
A $179 fee will be paid monthly throughout a three-year subscription for a total of $6,444. For a limited time, individuals can avail of it for $139 per month. It comes with the device, an external system, insurance, and warranty, as well as guaranteed software updates.
It is worth noting that customers will not be able to own their devices at the end of the subscription. They can renew their subscription or return the device.
The external system, called the Whisper Brain, is a pocket-sized device that listens to the user’s environment to identify the right volume level required. It also “works wirelessly with the earpieces to enable a proprietary AI-based Sound Separation Engine.”
Aside from these, users can also control and manage their devices using a smartphone app designed for the Whisper Hearing System.
President and co-founder Andrew Song came up with the idea for an AI-powered and machine learning-based aid after observing his grandfather’s refusal to wear his thousand-dollar device.
He said, “That really inspired us to build, I think, a new kind of product, one that could get better over time and better support the needs of people who use hearing aids.” Song added that the goal is to use AI “to actually improve the sound that somebody gets.”
The firm’s team is composed of software and hardware experts. They also sought help from DR. Robert Sweetow from the University of Whisper Announces AI-Powered Hearing Aid, Funding California, San Francisco’s audiology department.
The new hearing system was made possible by funding it received in the Series B round led by Quiet Capital and participated by Sequoia Capital and First Round Capital. During the round, Whisper acquired $35 million for a total of $53 million it obtained via investments.
However, it is important to note that Whisper is not the first to implement AI and subscription plans for their systems. Whisper, though, is one of the few that uses an external system as a way to design a more innovative approach.