Impactalpha, August 28 – Argentina-based startup uSound is developing low-cost earbuds to help people with hearing damage improve their hearing. Nine-hundred million people will have “disabling hearing loss” by 2050. “This number is becoming bigger every year, mainly due to noise pollution in large cities and the popularity of listening music too loudly,” the team’s founders wrote. Only a small fraction can afford hearing aids, which cost thousands of dollars.
uSound has raised (in Spanish) an undisclosed amount of capital, via a convertible note, from Argentinian social investment firm Puerto Asís Investments for its earbuds. The ear set uses a microphone to capture sound then adjusts the frequencies through its smartphone app. Users can adjust the settings as they require. The company claims people with slight to moderate hearing impairment—who represent 80% of the hearing impaired population worldwide—can improve hearing quality with its earbuds by 70% to 100%.
Puerto Asís Investments is the investment arm of family office Organización Román. It has backed 14 companies across the Americas in the past five years. In 2016, Organización Román revised its social investment mission to include “synergizing capacities and creating networks with potential for impact, but with a new challenge: to also be the protagonist of those changes.” (translated from Spanish.)