We know what you’re thinking, how did they make Eargo Max come to life? Well, it wasn’t easy. To tell their story, we sat down with two members of Eargo’s brain trust, Daniel Shen (Founder and Chief Clinical & Science Officer – think Spock without the pointy ears) and Manny Ocano (Director of Clinical Support and master of the perfect mustache). Their mission is to ensure Eargo boldly goes where no hearing aid has gone before… namely, your ears.
We picked their brains about the secret sauce that went into creating our best hearing aid yet, Eargo Max. Hear’s your glimpse into how our proverbial sausage is designed and developed:
What drove the research and development of Eargo Max?
- Daniel: We had the opportunity to improve on Eargo’s devices by introducing more advanced algorithms to improve the technology behind our hearing aids. The data provided by these rules helped us achieve better overall sound quality through background noise suppression and feedback cancellation.
- Manny: It really started when the team decided to put a new chip in the device to help strengthen the “brains” of our hearing aid. Hearing aids are essentially mini-computers, and with any computer the stronger the chip the more functions are allowed to the computer. Designing Eargo Max provided us the opportunity to introduce a stronger processing chip and updated device features like our voice-prompted Sound Profiles and low-level expansion that provides the wearer a cleaner sound regardless of the gain.
Who was Eargo Max designed for?
- Daniel: For clients seeking a more advanced listening experience. Max provides the same usability, comfort and invisibility our clients have come to associate with Eargo, only with next-generation algorithms.
- Manny: Eargo Max was designed for clients with more of a moderate hearing loss who can benefit from the device’s advanced background noise reduction.
What did Eargo’s drawing board process look like? What product features were changed over time?
- Daniel: It’s safe to say Eargo Max’s development was an agile project – there’s no doubt our team worked quickly. Because we were incredibly receptive of and responsive to our clinical trial participants’ feedback, we were able to return to the drawing board with iterations that served to improve our final product.
- Manny: As a start-up, we move a lot faster than an R&D team would in a larger company and therefore, our decision-making occurs much more quickly. There are a ton of small details to remember whenever a change is made. We ran nearly constant measurements on the device to determine what kind of audiograms it could fit. Even though Eargo clients save more than 50% by purchasing our hearing aids instead of traditional, BTE devices, our goal is to make sure the cost of our hearing aids is worth the benefit of their investment.
Developing our device.
How did market research and focus group feedback shape decision making?
- Manny: We fit a gaggle of focus group members with Eargo Max who had previously helped us test Eargo Plus. The R&D team utilized devices with our new presets to focus on helping users with a broader range of hearing loss. Believe it or not (we’re prone to believe it), no one wanted to return our hearing aids when the test ended!
- Below are quotes from one of our focus group members, George. We asked him to help answer the question, “How much better are you hearing with Eargo Max?”
- “At the end of the day when I’ve taken them out and put them in the – very cool – charger, I find myself touching my ears several times to remind myself that I have in fact removed them, which just goes to show how unnoticeable they are when I wear them.”
- “Without Eargo Max I’d really be unable to function in faculty meetings or at noisy parties and restaurants. At the moment my Eargo Max devices activate, a sound window opens, crystal clear, and I’m listening way out into the world. It’s bracing, you know?”
What are Eargo’s hearing aids going to look like 10 or 20 years from now? Help point our lobes in the right direction and tweet us the upgrade you’d most like to see implemented on our devices.