In India, 3 out of every 40 people suffer from a disabling hearing loss, according to statistics from the World Health Organization. Over 68% of them can benefit from using a hearing aid(*2), however, less than 3% of these are likely to have one(*1). The reasons can range from non-availability of a hearing aid to the high cost of diagnosis and devices to stigma and a limiting mindset towards using it in social situations.
Mobile Ears is a convenient and free app-based solution for millions of Indians who have a mild to moderate hearing impairment and can benefit by making the sound loud and clear when having a one-on-one or a group conversation. Mobile Ears uses a unique speech amplification technology that ensures users hear everything clearly irrespective of background noise or number of people in the room.
Clarity of speech & sound at zero cost
Mobile Ears is the result of years of joint research efforts by Listen AS and Norwegian research organization SINTEF to perfect speech clarity, noise cancellation, filtering and removal of unwanted background noise. Speech clarity is at the core of Mobile Ears. Most others solutions in the market sound metallic & unnatural to new users and getting used to them can take anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks.
“Exclusion from communication can have a significant impact on everyday life, causing a feeling of loneliness, isolation and frustration. Our mission is to enable quality hearing under any environment, for everyone”, says Snorre Vevstad, CEO, Listen AS. “Mobile Ears is easy to use, requires no special devices, beneficial for people of all ages and suitable for indoor as well as outdoor sound environments. I am confident that this one-click solution can be of assistance to millions of Indians who are unable to use traditional medical hearing aids.”
Barriers for pursuing hearing care
The reasons for not pursuing hearing care can be broadly divided into stigma and price-related. The number one reason is denial about any hearing impairment, saying that they can hear well enough. The other stigma-related reasons are: using a hearing aid will look embarrassing, unattractive and I am too young to have such a problem. The price-related reasons are high cost of hearing aids and no coverage by insurance providers. These insights are based on a research by David & Werner in a review on “Stigma and Health” in 2016.
WHO global estimates, more than the half of the Adults with disabling hearing loss are over 65 years and countries in South Asia, including India, have a high prevalence of such population(*3).
Hearing loss affects a high percentage of society and this is where Mobile Ears comes in. It lowers the barriers for anyone who wants to hear better with a free and easy to use app. It helps users to lead and active life without the need to speak up/ louder with them during conversations. More importantly, it does not look like a hearing aid.
Using Mobile Ears on the smartphone:
1. Download from the iTunes App Store
2. Open the app and enter the user’s age & gender, so that the app can customize the listeners’ experience
3. Plug in earphones and move the button on the slider to personalize the sound for maximum speech clarity and amplification.
The smartphone can be placed on the table or in front of the users. Unlike traditional hearing aid devices, setup and adjusting the sound on Mobile Ears can be done without visiting a specialist. The app also works offline.