Edinburgh company behind ‘breakthrough’ rapid hearing test prepares for market launch


Claudia Freigang, Managing Director, and Colin Horne, Technical Director of Hearing Diagnostics. The couple are a married couple, so social distancing was not required for the photograph. Photo: Peter Devlin

Hearing Diagnostics has received £ 715,000 investment through Archangels, the Scottish business angels union. It will allow the company’s hearing testing system to undergo testing with universities and hearing aid retailers in the UK for a full market launch over the coming year.

The capital firm’s hearing test is based on the patient wearing headphones equipped with a motion sensor and turning their head in response to random, multi-directional sounds.

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This test, when evaluated using algorithms, was found to be more accurate than existing test systems during pilot testing. It is also known to be more resistant to imaginary sounds and background noise.

Niki McKenzie, Co-Managing Director of Archangels, the Scottish Business Angels Union. Image: Graeme Hunter PHOTOS

The short test can also be administered successfully without a soundproof booth and by a salesperson rather than an audiologist, increasing accessibility and reducing costs.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 466 million people worldwide who suffer from hearing loss and that two-thirds of all adults over the age of 70 have the condition.

However, it is estimated that 86% of hearing loss in the UK goes unmanaged. People with untreated hearing loss can also experience social isolation, depression, and cognitive decline as a result.

Hearing Diagnostics Co-Founder and CEO Claudia Freigang said, “Our vision is for hearing testing to become as accessible and common as eye testing to ensure that all people with hearing loss receive care as early as possible.

“Investment by Archangels brings us a big step towards realizing our vision and we are delighted to be working with such an experienced and supportive group of investors. “

Colin Horne, co-founder and chief technology officer of the company, said: “As humans, we have the remarkable ability to pinpoint the exact location of the sounds heard, which should make the test if a sound was heard a trivial task. .

“However, to date there has never been a test technology capable of providing very accurate screening at low cost. I am delighted that with this investment from Archangels, we are now able to change that and realize a new product that changes the paradigm.

Along with Archangels’ investment, Hearing Diagnostics is proposing a number of appointments to the board of directors. Charles Sweeney, former managing director of Bloxx and Document Outsourcing Group and a non-executive director of a number of technology companies, will join the company as chairman.

Jacqui McLaughlin, CEO of holding company Archangels Reactec, and Phil Harris, boss of Vert Rotors, will join the board as non-executive directors.

Niki McKenzie, co-managing director of Edinburgh-based Archangels, said: “Hearing loss is a condition that is experienced around the world and yet the technology around hearing testing has hardly changed in recent years.

“Hearing Diagnostics appears to have invented an inexpensive, accurate and accessible test that will help hearing aid retailers identify customers who need hearing assistance quickly and affordably. “

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