Sometimes it’s the smallest pieces of hardware that are the most complex.
While developing the framework for an online hearing test, Audicus Founder and CEO Patrick Freuler studied thousands of audiograms, clinical tests and design iterations. The end product was a quick and simple test sophisticated enough to make custom hearing aids for individuals with hearing loss.
“The test was developed over two years with a neuroscience engineer,” said Freuler. “The goal was to create a test that would be both intuitive yet thorough enough for accuracy. It tests each ear twice, at five frequencies, and uses error detection algorithms to ensure results are accurate.”
The online hearing test is just one aspect of Audicus, a startup that makes hearing aids more accessible and affordable. Freuler launched the company in 2012 after noticing a gap in the industry.
“I discovered the cost and complexities of getting a hearing aid in America, and the issue hit home with me as I saw members of my family struggle with hearing loss,” he said. “Audicus was in many ways a reaction to the pain points entrenched in traditional audiology.”
I discovered the cost and complexities of getting a hearing aid in America, and the issue hit home with me as I saw members of my family struggle with hearing loss."
The company’s research found that while an estimated 48 million people have hearing loss, only 20 percent actually get treatment — and that’s due to financial, accessibility and social factors. By joining the ranks of other direct-to-consumer companies like Smile Direct Club, Simple Contacts and Harry’s, Audicus is able to cut out the middleman and offer helpful products at a fraction of the usual cost.
The company makes it possible to order a custom hearing aid from home in 20 minutes without going to the doctor. It’s also proven to be a powerful learning tool for those who are coming to terms with their hearing loss.
“We need to change the conversations around hearing loss and focus them on empowerment rather than play into the scare factors,” said Freuler. “We want to normalize hearing loss and hearing aids and start a more positive, less stigmatized conversation in our culture.”
The company currently has 20 employees and $5.8 million in funding, and plans to grow significantly in 2018.
“I believe that putting the best people in positions that play into their skills and passions is one of the most important things a company can do,” said Freuler. “As we grow, it will be crucial to maintaining our culture of positivity, internal entrepreneurship, innovation and empowerment.”