By Philipp Skribanowitz
One of the wonderful things about technology is its ability to improve people’s lives and experiences. From GPS that guides us just about everywhere, to smartphones that enable us to run our lives and businesses from the palm of our hand, to content distribution platforms that deliver music, movies, news and other content whenever and wherever we want, technology has, and continues to change our daily lives.
Individuals and companies constantly develop and improve technologies to address problems, remove obstacles and aim to improve our overall quality of life. When we founded Mimi, we sought to do exactly that.
Historically, monitoring and protecting hearing health has often been cumbersome and costly. Hearing testing typically required specialists, and for those with hearing impairments taking corrective action could be very expensive.
We believed that more use of smartphones, widespread access to apps and reductions in processing costs can create better opportunities to protect hearing wellbeing and optimize the quality of listening experiences.
Mimi initially aimed to leverage the ubiquity of smartphone technology to compensate for hearing loss by improving the processing of audio streams, enabling people to easily test their hearing and self-refer to a physician if the test revealed they would benefit from intervention.
Mimi’s first break-through product was an accurate hearing test plus compensation for mild to moderate hearing loss in one app. We launched that app in May 2014 and to date, more than two million people worldwide have used it to test their hearing and create a personalized hearing profile.
Our Mimi Hearing Test Database – one of the largest databases of its kind – corroborates conclusions from independent studies that project hearing damage is more widespread than the general public realizes and is not limited to the older population.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 25% of people have some degree of hearing loss or impairment, and data from the 2 million hearing tests and collected in Mimi’s World Hearing Index indicates the percentage of the population with some hearing impairment could in fact be significantly higher. WHO projects that by 2050, nearly 2.5 billion people will have some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require hearing rehabilitation.
Further, WHO estimates that over 1 billion young people are at risk of permanent, but avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices: When certain sounds are outside our hearing profile, either because they’re too quiet, out of range or are masked by other competing content, we struggle to hear them. This not only reduces the quality of the listening experiences, but frequently leads to a potentially harmful response from the listener, as our instinctive response is to increase the volume.
There are a wealth of studies that speak to the connection between higher listening volumes and hearing damage. This data, and our own findings through the Mimi World Hearing Index, underscore the pressing need for better audio solutions and point to the efficacy of our belief that our sound personalization technology can markedly improve the listening experience.
Mimi has evolved into a hearing wellbeing company with a dual focus on quality and health. To this end, we are providing individuals with tools to take control of how they experience audio, thereby allowing them to enhance the quality of what they hear and help mitigate threats to their hearing wellbeing.
With our technologies, we can analyze an individual’s hearing to develop a personalized hearing profile that can be stored on audio devices ranging from headphones, TV‘s, smartphones, to sound bars and more, which then can be used to optimize and protect the hearing.
To date, we have realized partnerships with beyerdynamic, Philips, Skullcandy, Cleer Audio, Goertek, and many others, with Mimi’s audio optimization technology integrated into a vast range of audio devices.
By personalizing the sound, we and our consumer electronics manufacturing partners enable people to hear more of the audio they’re intended to hear while also mitigating the harmful effects associated with simply turning up the volume.
Together with our extensive and growing roster of consumer electronics partners, we look forward to helping even more people to personalize their hearing experience and manage their hearing health.