Sound opportunity: Hearing Diagnostics £1.1m funding augurs market breakthrough

Healthtech company moves towards commercialisation in the domestic and US markets following Archangels-led fundraise.

Edinburgh-based Hearing Diagnostics is targeting market expansion after receiving £1.1 million (US$ 1.3m) in funding led by tech and life biosciences-focused angel syndicate Archangels.

The funding will unlock the spatial hearing screening technology’s market potential, and other funders in the raise include Scottish Enterprise through its Scottish Co-Investment Fund.

Longevity.Technology: Hearing loss is often accepted as a natural consequence of aging, and research demonstrates that hearing loss is often under-recognised and inadequately addressed. But hearing loss demands more attention, not only because of its consequences, but because (like so many things in longevity) it is much better to correct hearing loss sooner rather than later. In fact, improving hearing input is better for the brain.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one in 20 people worldwide experiences some degree of hearing loss. On average, individuals with hearing loss leave their hearing loss unmanaged for 10 years, and in the UK alone, 86% of affected individuals do not receive care for their symptoms. Unmanaged hearing loss can have severe consequences including social isolation, cognitive decline and an increased risk of dementia.

The link between hearing loss and cognition and dementia risk was clearly documented in a 2011 study; the research found that older adults with hearing loss were more likely to develop dementia than older adults with normal hearing. In fact, there was a relationship between level of uncorrected hearing loss and level of dementia risk: mild hearing loss was associated with a two-fold increase in risk; moderate hearing loss with a three-fold increase in risk, and severe hearing loss with a five-fold increase in risk [1].

A 2013 study sound that cognitive abilities (including memory and concentration) declined faster in older adults with hearing loss, as compared with older adults with normal hearing [2].

Hearing Diagnostics’ technology makes testing for hearing loss easy and reliable while being accessible outside a clinical environment. The company was established by Dr Claudia Freigang (CEO) and Dr Colin Horne (CTO) – who both come from a background in hearing research – and has used previous funding from Archangels to develop its Audimetroid screening technology and is now ready to take the product to market. To that end, Hearing Diagnostics, which currently employs five people, intends to expand its team through the latest investment round.

Sound opportunity: Hearing Diagnostics £1.1m funding augurs market breakthrough

Hearing Diagnostics is targeting expansion into the UK domestic market through audiology retailers as well as high street optical chains which are increasingly building audiology capabilities. In the US, changes in regulations have seen the over-the-counter hearing aid market open up, creating significant commercial opportunities for early movers to capitalise.

Dr Claudia Freigang, co-founder of Hearing Diagnostics and a winner at the Women’s Enterprise Scotland Awards 2022, said: “Hearing loss usually advances slowly and unnoticeably and has severe consequences if left unmanaged. Our mission is to make reliable hearing testing accessible outside of specialist clinics to drive the early diagnosis of hearing loss and to ensure positive patient outcomes.

“There is a global market potential for our accurate Audimetroid hearing screening technology, and with the latest investment round led by Archangels, we can start unlocking that potential.”

To date, Archangels, the world’s longest continually-running angel investment syndicate, has invested £1.8m in Hearing Diagnostics technology, across two rounds of investment to support the development of Hearing Diagnostics and bring its product to market.

Niki McKenzie, Joint Managing Director at Archangels, added: “Claudia and Colin have built a truly ground-breaking and disruptive technological platform to tackle a global health issue. Hearing Diagnostics market approach with manufacturers and retailers can transform diagnostic pathways.

“We understood the potential commercial opportunity early in the development phase and we’re pleased to continue our support into the next chapter of Hearing Diagnostics.

“This is technology is based on deep scientific research, early feedback from the market has been very positive and we are excited to see how the wider market as commercialisation builds.”


Photographs: Hearing Diagnostics