August 19, 2019

I HEAR YOU

Adnan Shennib has shaken the hearing-aid industry to its core by developing a revolutionary hearing process and device that lowers costs by a staggering 90 percent.

BY RICK WEINBERG, CALIFORNIA BUSINESS JOURNAL

Greed is evident virtually everywhere you turn these days.

But don’t put Adnan Shennib in that category.

Shennib has devoted his entire professional life – more than two and a half decades – to helping people with hearing impairments. Not only did he develop Lyric, the world’s smallest hearing aid, but now he’s changed the entire landscape and direction of the industry by lowering hearing-aid costs by a staggering 90 percent – from $3,000 all the way down to $300 – with his company, iHEAR.

“Hearing aids should be – and need to be – affordable,” he says. “We wanted to develop hearing technology for the masses, not just for the one percent who could afford it.”

How refreshing. In this day and age when so many people and businesses gouge the public in every way possible, isn’t it wonderful to stumble across an individual like Shennib – especially when it comes to a serious issue like hearing loss?

More than 37 million Americans suffer from hearing loss — and studies show that 80 percent go untreated, mainly because of the cost. The exorbitant prices are not because of the hardware, which is inexpensive. It’s the associated costs like research and development, overhead of retail stores and a lifetime of servicing that get folded into the price. Adding to the cost problem is that hearing aids often have to be replaced every five or six years.

And insurers typically don’t pay for hearing devices or for the associated services. Surprisingly, even the federal Medicare program for the elderly doesn’t cover hearing aids, hearing exams or the costs of fitting the devices.

No wonder why hearing aids can cost as much as $3,000 a pop – or more in some cases.

But Shennib is changing all of that.

“This is our mandate, our mission,” he says. “We were committed to creating cutting edge hearing-aid technology that is very affordable. We realized that in order to make it affordable we had to empower the consumer to do most of the work themselves. So we developed online tools to enable people to test their hearing and make the necessary adjustments to the hearing device. That cuts down the very high cost of service, which is the No. 1 factor for the markup on the hearing aids. The cost of the aid and the hardware itself is low, only $100. But by the time it reaches the customer, that $100 cost of goods becomes $2,500 or $3,000. We eliminated that by developing an online platform so people can do the entire process from A to Z from home.”

iHEAR’s devices are the size and weight of a kidney bean and are nearly invisible inside the ear. Users customize the fit and calibrate their devices using the iHEAR’s software online in the comfort of their home. The device features exceptional sound delivery, providing the user with a superior hearing experience.

As a child, Shennib was heartbroken over his father’s hearing impairment. “He struggled to buy one hearing aid after another and nothing seemed to work for him,” Shennib says. “That got me curious at an early age as to why people are not satisfied with their hearing device and what can be done to fix it and control it.”

While his friends were out playing, Shennib could be found studying engineering and sound technique in his effort to help his father. After earning a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Shennib attended the University of Texas, where he received a M.S. in Biomedical Engineering.

During graduate school, he met a disabled individual with a hearing impairment. They got into a deep conversation about cell phone technology for the hearing impaired. Soon thereafter, Shennib co-invented the predictive text messaging (cell phone shorthand) allowing mobile users to send text messages rapidly with fewer keystrokes. The University of Texas has received over $12 million in licensing and royalties for the invention.

That creation launched Shennib’s medical device career. He later joined ReSound, a Silicon Valley start-up developing the first programmable hearing aids and hearing fitting systems. He later founded InSound Medical, where he invented and developed the Lyric hearing device. His next adventure was iHEAR.

“He is a genius,” says Corinne Cole, who suffered hearing damage as a child and has spent thousands of dollars on hearing aids during her lifetime. “Mr. Shennib has changed the world with his technology and has made it so affordable anyone can buy it.”

Twenty years ago, Cole spent $6,000 on her first hearing aid – for both ears. Eight years later, she had to do it again. Last year, she needed yet another replacement.

“I was fed up paying those kinds of costs, so I did some research,” she says.

That’s when she discovered iHEAR.

“My prayers were answered,” she says. “The device works perfectly. I hear as good – or even better – than I did before.”

 

Contact:

iHEAR Medical, Inc.

15250 Hesperian Blvd.

San Leandro, CA 94578

510-276-4437

iHEARMedical.com

info@ihearmedical.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

iHEAR Medical on YouTube

Latest comments

  • I’m a 61 year old now on my 2nd pair of hearing aids from Costco for $2500 each time in about 6 years. I think I prefer the behind the ear instead of in the canal type based on my experience. I religiously remove the batteries each night and put the aid in a small UV dehumidifier that Costco suggested. Would this practice be advisable with your hearing aids as well? I still work so wear them at least 16 hours a day. I like the idea of being able to program them as it seems like the Costco folks never do it as good as it could be done.

    I don’t use it very often but my current aids have bluetooth so I am able to mute the TV and my wife can sleep comfortably. Do your aids have bluetooth capability? Same question for cell phone. Is there any provision to bluetooth smart phone audio into the hearing aids?

    I’m ready to replace what I have without insurance help as others have mentioned unfortunately. Please advise on above questions to assist in my decision. Thanks.

  • Please where and how can I get one? I need it for work.

  • I have been waiting to get aids but just don’t have 6000.00 like the ones my wife got. I am 71 and the way thing go not sure if I’ll ever get them.

  • I am interested in your hearing aid.

  • Just went to hearing Doctor yesterday wants 7,000 dollars for hearing aids. Do these work fo everyone or just one type of hearing loss. They say I need the ones that go behind my ear don’t like that but don’t know exactly what to do… What might you suggest

  • Hello i am looking for an invisible hearing aid. I am already using STARKEY invisible hearing aids. I have a problem with these ones in the noisy areas, Like restaurants, Shopping malls & places like that. Its only good for confined places. Also 3 years Warranty has expired. I already paid $ 350 to get it fix for one hearing aid, It happens quite often. During the Warranty period every second or third week I had to send it in for repairs.If possible could you please guide me what to do in this situation. Also let you know that, I live in Canada not in the USA. Thank you & hoping for a favorable reply soon. Faithful Samuel 56-Dominion Crescent(Niagara on the Lake) St. Davids LOS 1J1 Ontario. Canada.

  • My daughter and son in law bought me these as a gift. I have needed hearing aids for years, but both times I went to an audiologist they wanted thousands of dollars. These are absolutely amazing! I can hear things I haven’t heard in years. I am so happy with this product, it has changed my life. Thank you whoever is behind this! P.S. I am 68

  • I am very interested in the iHear device. I was checked out by an adiologist quite a few years ago and was told I needed hearing aids but when I was told how much they were, I told them I couldn’t afford them. I asked if they take payments and was told that they didn’t. So that was pretty much the end of it for me. I get along as best as I can.

  • I had been wearing a hearing aid in my left ear as I lost 60% of my hearing. Then in December I lost another 20% and was tested. I need Cros hearing aids so both ears seem like they work together. My question for you is do you have these? Thank you so much for your time. I am retired and am 70 years old.

  • I cant afford 600.00 what is your price sounds like this would work for me I am 74 years old thanks for coming up with this hearing aid

  • First I just like to say that these are listed as devices because they are assisted listening devices not hearing aids. The reason hearing aids are so expensive is because of the research and development that goes into them these are not like iPhones or Apple computers where they sell millions of them the research and development is in the cost of the hearing aid. The end cost of a hearing aid is set up by the audiologist or the hearing aid dispenser not the manufacturer. The cost should have included in it all adjustments cleaning and everything to make you comfortable and hear properly. If you want proper explanation how is hearing aid works and how it’ll help you go to an audiologist or hearing aid dispenser and talk ask questions get tested and make a decision. Leave your checkbook at home and remember that they’re going to want to sell you the best hearing aid available for your hearing loss and what you need for your lifestyle. The people I fit with hearing aids usually have the same set five to ten years as long as long as their hearing doesn’t change or they want better technology or they don’t take care of them if you have any questions you can contact me directly by phone or email me and I will answer any questions at no charge. Hearingbyaudiooptics.com

  • Thank you, Mr. Shennib for inventing this device. I will be calling you tomorrow. This sounds very exciting.

  • I am sorry if I sound a little cynical but this is almost too good to be true. I know of someone who needed hearing aids badly for over 15 years but couldn’t afford them.

    By the way, we Libyans are generally skeptical and cynical anyway! Dr. Shennib should know!

    How does the device work and how is it different from other expensive hearing aids? How was the cost dramatically reduced by 90%? How effective is it and does it help with tinnitus?

    Thank you!

  • I would love to try these amazing hearing aids.

  • Maybe you can tackle the outrageous $98,000.00 price of cochlear implants next 🙂 that’s the device cost, the surgery is extra…

  • Hi Rick, I just read your CBJ piece on Adnan Shennib and iHEAR. I wanted to express my appreciation for a well crafted read, as well as your attention to the real story being Adnan’s character. It’s not often stories capture the heart of the entrepreneur beyond the business-as-usual celebration of ambition and competitive fervor. Well done, and, thanks. -Daniel

  • I wonder if Medicare would approve the purchase of these aids … In Texas Medicaid pays for hearing aids .. and I got a pair for approx $4K !!! tested by “professionals” yet they never listened to me .. they seemed to make my hearing WORSE because I complained about the hissing in the background (there seemed to be no way to turn down the “squelch” like you can on a CB radio .. and I could hear a truck coming down the interstate 5 miles away .. but could not really hear conversations well in the same room !! I am “tone deaf” which only affects certain sounds .. so I have to kind of lip read to fill in the blanks … I stopped wearing the expensive aids about a year after I got them .. and Medicaid is getting ripped off daily 🙁 $600 seems like a worthwhile amount to pay .. and maybe we can adjust them ourselves 🙂 ha ha Now I got to save for a while .. would like to try them before I buy them though 🙂

  • My husband has very bad hearing and I have the same problem too. We are both on a set income and it isn’t much. I have been looking at hearing aids for about 5 years now and these are a great price. Looking forward to more info as far a sizing, use with cell phones and others.

  • I am very interested in your hearing aids. I wear aids now but am dissatisfied with them. I wanted the Lyric aids but felt they were very expensive and seemed more like a rental than buy, due to them charging for each battery change. My ear damage is environmental, not genetic, so I am told. Can you help me?

  • I am on my third set of hearing aids. I’ve already spent at least $12,000. I had to take out loans. It’s almost unbelievable to be able to get them for $300 each. I have tinnitus and a severe hearing loss. Do you think these would be for me. I am elderly and on fixed income, so this is exciting. Thank you

  • I have two BTE hearing aids. When there is background noise, especially the high pitched sounds, they are practically useless. Are there any additional costs over and above the initial price of $300 each? Ia the a trial period with a money back policy if they are retuned?

    Thank you, MCK

  • Are these available now? And is there anyone reading this that has purchased this?

    • Hey, L E, David Reagan below is a current customer…he seems pretty happy!

  • What wonderful news that affordable hearing aids like the iHear devices exist. I can purchase them for my parents (or even myself) in the future if needed.

  • SO HOW MUCH IS ONE?

  • I am profoundly deaf in my right ear and my left ear is sewn shut, had spinal fluid during a stapes operation. I wonder if this hearing aid would work for me. I have rebuilt second hand hearing aid , but it does not muffle out backround noise it just makes everything louder.

  • I need a hearing aid… I have a $700 allowance from Scan

  • I just have an IPad – no computer. Will that work?

  • I have tinnitus, is there anything that can help me? I always have roaring in my ears.

  • There is no logical reason for anyone to pay $6000 for a pair of hearing aids when you can buy a large screen TV for $500, or even a nice used car for less. I understand audio testing and fitting fees are included but these do not justify the thousands. I called the local hearing center in Phoenix area where my dad lives to inquire about a basic set of hearing aids and they tried to sell me a pair of digital for $7,600. What? isn’t everything digital now anyway? I am still recovering from the sticker shock, but I now understand why most people who need hearing aids choose to live in silence instead. Kudos for i-Hear and for anyone doing something about this.

  • All the many years of tractors, chain saws and various shop tools; combined with being a busy and longtime volunteer fireman and medic have left me with quite a hearing deficit. Oh yes, I played music in an old time Western swing band to boot! Poor ears :-)! It’s as frustrating for my family as it is for me. Believe me, I will try these hearing devices as soon as I save up the reasonable sounding cost .

  • iHEAR Medical, Adnan and his staff, get my vote for the greatest company for what they are doing driving down prices for hearing aids. A good audiologist or dispenser will explain all about their overhead, valuable education and on and on. Yes, all true, but in many many cases, you and I can adjust our own hearing aids using Adnan’s FDA cleared hearing screen and iTUNE programming tool – it’s online, they help you remotely if you need it. I can write a table of contents to the reasons why Adnan’s hearing aids, and general motivation, are monumentally wonderful.

    I paid $5,998 dollars twice in less than two years for hearing aids (yes, that’s $11,996 dollars I could have used for my kids, my wife you name it). Yes, they were great hearing aids, but iHEAR’s $299 hearing aids are just as good – a solid equivalency. I’ll take the $5,400 dollar savings and have the ability to program my own aids any day of the week!

    Adnan and iHEAR Medical staff – I salute you!

    David Regan
    iHearHD wearer – one week!

  • Incredible. My dad has very poor hearing. I am going to order this for him right now! Thank you for this wonderful and important article.

  • Wow. Just an awesome article. What a hero!

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