Describe the company – the elevator pitch …
Restored Hearing is on a mission to rid the world of avoidable noise damage.
We have created tunable acoustic materials for noise absorption and a sound therapy to alleviate tinnitus. Sound Bounce is a smart material which responds proportionally to the noise environment. It has applications across the hearing protection, construction, automotive, and aerospace sectors.
Sound Relief tinnitus sound therapy is an online treatment for chronic ringing in the ears. Used daily, it has been clinically proven to give a reduction in tinnitus within one month.
All of our solutions are created using our background in physics and understanding the impact of harmful noise as a global health issue – this has resulted in a suite of ground-breaking technologies.
This month we have launched the Sound Bounce hearing protection headset on Kickstarter to raise funds for a CE mark and the first bulk order.
— Restored Hearing (@RestoredHearing) November 29, 2016
How are you different?
Sound Bounce material does not respond like other materials do to sound – it is smart. Sound Bounce is relatively unresponsive when low level sounds are present. Practically, this means that you could have a conversation while wearing the headset. Then, when loud sounds are present the material activates and absorbs up to 8 times more noise than standard foam – as we’ve shown in independent testing.
The Sound Bounce system is non-electronic; it can be used in situations that require robust protective equipment, like construction sites. These are the kind of environments that don’t usually get the best hearing protection, so it’s really important to us that we can help people in these workplaces.
Why will the company / product do well?
This cutting-edge design and new acoustic material grew from a passion to preserve people’s hearing. We have created and built Sound Bounce as a reaction to real world problems experienced by vast quantities of people. We’ve spent years understanding the needs of the end-user and have developed a technology for them that is superior to everything else out there.
Where are you based?
We’re based in Dublin. It’s a great place to be these days with access to both the European and US markets.
— Restored Hearing (@RestoredHearing) December 8, 2016
When was the company launched?
Rhona and I first worked together on Sound Relief as part of a BT Young Scientist project. It was from there that we took our passion for creating scientific solutions for noise damaged hearing and launched Restored Hearing in 2009 when we graduated from secondary school. Since then we went on to study physics in university and develop more ground-breaking products to take on the noise challenges of the world.
What have been your biggest wins to date?
In terms of Sound Relief two of the major achievements have been gaining our CE mark. We’ve worked with numerous audiologists who deal with tinnitus patients every day. They needed a way to better monitor tinnitus on an on-going basis and to interact with their patients. It was through these relationships, and detailed conversations with our customers, that we built the Sound Relief app.
When it comes to Sound Bounce we were delighted to be nominated for the Irish Times Innovation Awards, even though we were still in the product development phase. Given the level of effort that goes into the process, getting our patent granted in Europe earlier this year was also a major milestone.
What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to your product?
When working in areas with changing noise levels, our customers need to be able to communicate with their colleagues but also be protected when loud noise occurs. Typically they work in aviation, manufacturing, construction, military, and oil and gas.
Unlike our competitors, who use electronics, we use materials technology which dramatically cuts costs and increases durability.
Beyond those who are exposed to noise at work, Sound Bounce is also useful for DIY and noisy household chores. Hearing protection should always be worn when using a lawnmower or chainsaw, for example a lawnmower can be up to 110 dB which is a very harmful level of noise if you’re not wearing protection.
Tell us about your team?
Since founding Restored Hearing, Rhona and I have worked hard to build a team of passionate and capable people around us. Currently we’re a team of 5 with Clare our Communications Manager, Ultan our Commercial Director, and Chrissy our Community Manager.
The Kickstarter campaign has been spearheaded by Clare who has shown great devotion and tenacity in developing the campaign.
Together we have fostered a culture of customer-centric product design and delivery. Every member of the team cares about the needs of our users and bases decisions in product creation, marketing, and customer service around them.
What are you long term plans for your product / company?
With the funds raised as part of the Kickstarter we’re going to go through the CE marking process and bring the first batch of Sound Bounce to early adopters.
Beyond the campaign, and into 2017 we will be concentrating on working with industry partners to bring Sound Bounce into the construction, automotive, and aerospace sectors. We see Sound Bounce replacing many conventional acoustic materials in a wide range of applications, and we will be working towards that in the years to come.
What are your favourite tech gadgets?
For better or for worse my iPhone rarely leaves my sight. On there I use Asana and ProsperWorks for task management and keeping up with customers. I’d love to get my hands on some Spectacles to try them and see what all the hype is about.
Some of our favourite gadgets around the office are our Fitbits and Kindles and we’re all big fans of Slack.
What tech gadgets do you wish you could use to help you?
Sensorwake, an alarm clock without sound which is great for anyone with a hearing impairment. It wakes you up with your choice of smell which we think is pretty cool — even if you don’t have a hearing impairment. Espresso scent in the morning!
— Restored Hearing (@RestoredHearing) December 5, 2016
How do people get in touch with you?
People can get in touch with our Community Manager, Chrissy, by email [email protected], on Facebook, or on Twitter. We’re always delighted to hear from new people so no matter what it is, feel free to get in touch!