SonicCloud Launches First-Ever App to Make Phone Calls and Videos Crystal Clear for People with Dramatic Hearing Loss

Larry Guterman
January 21, 2018
 

Company Raises $4M Angel Round To Make Hearing Technology Accessible, From Phone Call‍s to Videos

October 12, 2017 —  SonicCloud announced its launch with over $4M from seed investors including Ian Hogarth (cofounder of SongKick), Bob Bozeman (530 Angels), and Sean Hayes (Jack from Will & Grace). The Company aims to make hearing technology truly accessible, from phone calls to videos and beyond, for millions of people with moderate to profound hearing loss. 

The SonicCloud App is a beautifully-designed, easy-to-use app that allows people with moderate to severe hearing loss to accurately assess their own hearing, and then enjoy enhanced, personalized audio on their phone and laptop speakers. All they need is a phone or computer, and a pair of headphones. SonicCloud has been praised for its uniquely whimsical and captivating design aesthetic; in fact, that’s one of the biggest reasons they were featured in Apple’s 2017 Worldwide Developer’s conference.

SonicCloud’s co-founder, Larry Guterman, director of successful films (Cats & Dogs and ANTZ (as sequence Director)), has dealt with hearing loss for most of his adult life. He experienced terrible feedback when using his hearing aids on the phone, and the quality and speech discrimination was never good enough. Meanwhile, phones grew more and more powerful. One day he was on the phone with his college friend, successful Silicon Valley engineer and co-founder of SonicCloud, Jon Lederman, when the realization hit — why not build the functionality of the hearing aid right on the phone?

With the launch of the SonicCloud app in 2017, every mobile phone call can be perfectly calibrated for an individual’s unique hearing needs. 

And with the forthcoming launch of SonicCloud Streaming in 2018, every video, song, podcast, audiobook, and more will also be perfectly calibrated through a groundbreaking new desktop application for Mac OS computers.

Here’s How SonicCloud Works: 

The assessment: Users take a quick hearing assessment, which allows them to set custom levels for right and left ears. The personalization: Each user gets his own personal Hearing Fingerprint, which is used to inform the algorithm that intelligently enhances sound on both his mobile phone and computer. To zero in on the most accurate Hearing Fingerprint, there are three tiers of tuning:

Data capture: SonicCloud’s methods, developed in conjunction with an audiologist, are accurate and precise. Interactive refinement: Everyone’s brain processes sound differently. SonicCloud interactively optimizes for neural differences between users. Situational tuning: Users can customize their sound while on a call for individual voices (like your daughter’s high-pitched voice, for example) or environments (like the restaurant your friend is in).

The calls: Incoming/outgoing calls are processed through their “mixing board in the cloud,” which optimizes voices and noisy environments.

The Streaming App: Once the user has established his Hearing Fingerprint, the SonicCloud Streaming App automatically enhances all audio coming through his desktop computer. That includes TV shows, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, video conferences, you name it! Any audio coming through computer speakers can be instantly personalized using SonicCloud Streaming.

The result: clearly better sound quality on both your phone and computer.

Says Guterman, “The human voice is one of the most powerful ways we connect, and creating crystal clear phone calls for people with moderate to profound hearing loss is an extremely difficult problem to solve. With SonicCloud, we’ve harnessed the power of the cloud to process speech in real time. And with the upcoming release of SonicCloud Streaming, people will be able to effortlessly watch videos without the need for captions. This is going to make a big difference for the millions of people with hearing loss.”

One in ten people suffer from moderate to profound hearing loss; most people know someone close to them who has dramatic hearing loss. 

The SonicCloud solution is:

  • Affordable: the app is free to download; users pay just $9.99 per month to use the cloud calling service and, once it launches, SonicCloud Streaming.
  • Convenient: the solution lives on the device users have with them all the time, and uses standard earbuds. Users can therefore take the hearing assessment in the comfort of their own home.
  • Powerful: the intelligent algorithms process speech in real time, providing groundbreaking interactive tools that allow the user to optimize for their unique hearing needs.
  • Simple and intuitive to use: they’ve taken extra care to create a beautifully-designed app that is engaging and fun to use.

“SonicCloud is a game changer for people with hearing loss. It provides unparalleled user controls. The Hearing Fingerprint assessment is user friendly and engaging, providing customizable quality to fit the listener’s unique needs,” said Jody Winzelberg, AuD, former Chief of Audiology at Stanford Children’s Health, who worked closely with the team to develop the app. “This solution has the potential to make a big impact on the lives of people with hearing loss.”

SonicCloud is being brought to life by a team of experts with diverse DNA, including an engineering team with expertise in both mobile and cloud technology, musicians and sound recording engineers, and the former Chief of Audiology at Stanford Children’s Hospital, all under the leadership and untiring efforts of its CEO, Sachin Khanna, to create this novel and sophisticated solution.

About SonicCloud

SonicCloud is a transformative new technology for personalizing audio for millions with moderate to profound hearing loss, from phone calls to videos and beyond. The company is headquartered in San Francisco. SonicCloud has raised over $4M from seed investors including Ian Hogarth (cofounder of SongKick), Bob Bozeman (530 Angels), Sean Hayes (Jack from Will & Grace).