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he said in an interview. "It gave me a little bit of a window on the valley and how people thought and the passion they have for what they do. They have a certain toughness. No excuses. It was 'Let's get this done.'".
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"I didn't realize it at the time that I was in the middle of the second renaissance after Florence that was occurring in this valley over the last 40 years," Air Jordan Hat
But some experts worry that the influx of affordable hearing tech gadgets sold online will encourage more people to skip going to the doctor if they have a serious hearing condition. Just about 20 percent of Americans with hearing loss seek medical treatment, according to the American Speech Language Hearing Association.
Perkins, founder of the California Ear Institute at Stanford, is no newbie to the venture community the 78 year old has founded about a dozen companies, including three that he took public, and has raised millions from the venture and angel investment community. At the ear clinic in Palo Alto where he practiced for more than 40 years, Perkins made acquaintances with some of Silicon Valley's tech pioneers William Hewlett and David Packard; Intel's co founder, Gordon Moore, and its former chief executive, Andy Grove who helped shape his career as an entrepreneur. Perkins ate lunch with Steve Jobs, and pitched to the former Apple CEO his ideas about personalizing sound through iPhone apps.
Soundhawk also makes a wireless microphone that can be placed up to about 33 feet away from the user to pick up voices, television, music or other sounds that may be too soft to hear. But some experts question whether users will be comfortable bringing a microphone into social settings.
These hard of hearing moments inspired Cupertino startup Soundhawk to make high tech devices that cost a tenth the price of some hearing aids, are accessible without a prescription and attractive enough to wear at a business meeting or Sunday brunch.
2012, and with the new deal announced Tuesday, it will begin selling to consumers by late summer.
The awkward strain of trying to hear someone speaking just a few feet away is all too familiar for many of us who frequent noisy restaurants and rowdy bars. Catching every few words and struggling to read lips, we may give up on the conversation and succumb to eating in silence or signaling for the check.
"Every single one of us every day puts ourselves in environments where there's New Era Nfl Hats 2016 lots of background noise," said Michael Kisch, chief executive of Soundhawk. "It could be walking down the street in San Francisco, or going into restaurants. These are situations where the environment overwhelms the biology. have hearing loss, and the majority don't have hearing aids, which generally cost $1,200 to $4,000. The number of people worldwide with some sort of hearing problem but who aren't classified as hearing impaired by a doctor could be as high as 900 million.
Soundhawk joins an array of what's known as personal sound amplifier products that have become popular options for people who may have some hearing problems but don't need or want expensive hearing aids or other medical devices. The ubiquity of smartphones and tablets and the popularity of Bluetooth headsets and wearable tech devices have created a market for tech startups inventing ways to hear better by using mobile apps, wireless technology and discreet ear pieces. Soundhawk is aiming for consumers who are tethered to their smartphones and endure some hearing problems in noisy environments not such a dramatic loss that they require a hearing aid but enough of an annoyance that they'd be willing to spend $299 on a new gadget.
system includes a delicate earpiece, wireless microphone and smartphone app that uses dozens of algorithms to filter, mute, amplify, muffle and alter in other ways the sounds around the user, depending on the environment. The user moves a finger across his smartphone screen to adjust the sound until settling on a comfortable level where he can hear what he wants to hear, and isn't distracted by ambient noise. The free app works on Android and iOS, and is available for phones and tablets.
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The $5.5 million Series B round brings Soundhawk's total fundraising to $11.2 million. True Ventures, a Palo Alto firm that's known for investing in early stage consumer hardware companies including Fitbit and 3D Robotics, led both rounds.
"For people with hearing loss, they can't go to restaurants and enjoy themselves anymore because that environment is too noisy," said Richard Einhorn, a New York based composer who suffers from hearing loss and advocates for others with hearing impairments. "If someone can bring to market technology to help more mild to moderate hearing loss that is affordable, then the market is enormous."
The company, founded by Stanford ear surgeon and serial entrepreneur Dr. Rodney Perkins, announced Tuesday it has cinched $5.5 million in venture funding and an agreement with Foxconn the Asia manufacturing company that also makes Apple products and has been beleaguered by labor rights issues to begin building the Soundhawk earpiece and microphone. The company has been researching and testing the hearing device since Florida Marlins Hat New Era
"If you're in a crowded bar trying to communicate, you have to think about the reality of it," said Catherine Palmer, director of audiology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "When you only want to talk to one person, that works, really well, but if you're talking to five people, then you have to figure out a way for each of them to hold the mic."
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