Medical Device News Magazine

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Tuned Raises $2.5M Seed Round to Radically Upend the Status Quo in Hearing Care

Tuned, a hearing health company focused on providing hearing care for all, today announced that it raised $2.5 million in seed funding, led by Idealab NY and Elements Health Ventures.

Following successful pilots with companies such as RetailBound and Mishe, the injection of new capital will be used to scale employer adoption and bring comprehensive hearing wellness to the workforce as a specialty healthcare benefit offering.

Tuned delivers the first and only comprehensive hearing health benefit: employees access specialist audiologists, as well as hundreds of vetted hearing health products, via the Tuned platform. Tuned is also the only benefit offering over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids and tinnitus management apps, as well as traditional hearing aid and hearing protection options. Tuned empowers employers to offer a new type of benefit tethered to lifelong hearing care, complete with transparent pricing models and enrollment support.

Today, 25% of working-age adults and 15% of school-age children experience hearing issues, from hearing loss to ringing in the ears (Tinnitus), balance issues, Auditory Processing Disorders (APD), and more.

In fact, the recent FDA ruling on OTC hearing aids has shifted the care discussion to working-age adults, but employer-sponsored benefits – how most working U.S. adults receive healthcare coverage – are not yet ready to meet this need. Five Major hearing aid manufacturers currently own many hearing health benefits and audiology clinics, causing them to focus entirely on product sales rather than care.

This control by hearing aid manufacturers has long ignored even mild-to-moderate hearing loss, which can lead to severe health consequences, including social isolation, cognitive fatigue, and depression.

This creates a need for employer-sponsored hearing benefits that provide proper diagnosis and counseling for those living with hearing loss, and other hearing issues.

Undiagnosed hearing issues cost employers $2,200 per person per year, representing a 46% increase in healthcare spending compared to people without hearing loss. A recent survey of more than 350 working-age adults, conducted by Tuned, showed that the pandemic has led to an increase in hearing issues. Findings show that 1/3 of adults wear headphones for up to eight hours per day, which could lead to hearing fatigue and auditory processing issues. In addition, 50% of respondents experience hearing fatigue and notice a decrease in productivity as a result.

“Hearing is as critical as any of the senses in providing people with the ability to work, socialize and connect with others. Despite this, millions of people who are impacted by hearing issues but not ready for a hearing aid receive no care options in their benefits package,” said Danny Aronson, Tuned’s CEO and co-founder. “Tuned is not only providing a patient-centric answer to this care gap, but we’re doing it through employer-sponsored benefits, which is how the majority of Americans receive their healthcare.”

“The stigma against hearing care is partly driven by the current industry landscape and partly by the fact that we don’t discuss hearing in the same way we do for concerns such as vision care and mental health,” said Kate McGinley, Tuned’s Chief Growth Officer and co-founder. “Tuned is committed to breaking down healthcare barriers and helping to prioritize hearing wellness for those in need.”

Tuned is shifting the hearing benefit model away from only severe hearing loss and hearing aids in order to bring hearing health mainstream, and erase the social stigma around one of the most important senses. Tuned’s benefit serves patients of all ages, including children, by connecting Tuned’s specialist Doctors of Audiology with patients via an easy-to-use, clinically validated platform. It offers affordable, convenient, and accessible solutions to employees around the world.

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