Clever headphone hearing protectors smash Kickstarter target

26 Jan 2017

Image: Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock

Irish start-up Restored Hearing has successfully funded its earmuff protector material on Kickstarter, with products expected to become available this summer.

One of Ireland’s more innovative start-ups, Restored Hearing is having a pretty excellent start to 2017, achieving its crowdfunding target for a new headphones filter with two days to spare.

Seeking €15,000 to enhance the testing, quality control and production of the company’s Sound Bounce technology, the campaign is currently overfunded, with 22 hours still remaining at the time of writing.

Essentially a filter material to put inside headphones and earmuffs, Sound Bounce reduces noise levels depending on the volume, allowing low and medium noise through and easing the damage done to ears when working in noisy environments.

The company, founded by Rhona Togher and Eimear O’Carroll, will now be able to get CE certified and ship headsets to backers during the summer.

“We did this on a tight budget so every pledge was hard won,” said Togher in The Irish Times. “Many campaigns have the backing of big marketing agencies but we didn’t have that luxury.”

The insert is made of a ‘smart’ material, reacting to noise levels and absorbing peaks more efficiently than foam alternatives.

The more sound energy present, the more the material absorbs, with it staying ‘passive’ when low volumes of noise pass through.

Saying the campaign is vital to the company’s success, O’Carroll noted that this achievement could lead to Sound Bounce being rolled out into more areas, adding the acoustic material to industries like automotive, construction and aerospace.

The team behind Sound Bounce have worked together for more than 10 years, following work with tinnitus sufferers. Their interest in physics and creating scientific solutions led them to research advanced materials for the prevention of hearing damage.

Restored Hearing’s other product is Sound Relief tinnitus sound therapy, clinically proven to reduce ringing in the ears by 15pc within a month when used five minutes daily.

The company is targeting the 300m-plus tinnitus sufferers worldwide, specifically those in the US, where organisations such as the American Tinnitus Association and veterans’ associations raise awareness around, and contribute funds to, this area.

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic