Whisper’s AI-enabled, updateable hearing aids

By William Smith
San Francisco, California-based Whisper has developed a hearing aid which uses AI for continual improvement...

San Francisco, California-based Whisper has developed a hearing aid which uses AI for continual improvement.

Hearing aids are notoriously expensive devices, and that significant investment goes into a piece of relatively old-fashioned, unchanging technology.

Whisper’s Hearing System, however, is linked to a phone, allowing updates to features such as its Sound Separation Engine, which use AI algorithms to optimise sound in different environments.

It’s a model similar to Tesla’s approach to the automotive industry, with its cars capable of getting over-the-air updates to unlock new features

The company, which was founded in 2017, has so far raised $53mn, with its latest Series B round, announced yesterday, seeing the company raise $35mn. The round was led by lead investor Quiet Capital, alongside Sequoia Capital, IVP, First Round Capital and Arrive.

In a press release, Dwight Crow, Co-Founder & CEO of Whisper, said: “Technology should be used to improve people’s lives. Many of the problems people face in hearing – whether hearing in a loud restaurant or having a device that quickly gets outdated – are solvable with recent advancements in consumer electronics and artificial intelligence. With the Whisper Hearing System, consumers get a state-of- the-art device designed in Silicon Valley that doesn’t stay static but continually improves with artificial intelligence for better performance.”

The company said it would use the funds to support the launch of the flagship system, which consists of earpieces, a hub called the Whisper Brain, and the aforementioned app

“Software-defined hearing technology is the future,” said Mike Vernal, Partner at Sequoia and Whisper Board Member. “By building the Whisper Hearing System around software, the Whisper team will be able to improve patient care with a device that adapts, upgrades, and improves continuously for the wearer’s benefit. This is the start of a new paradigm for delivering hearing technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Whisper on this journey.”

(Image: Whisper)

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