By Riley Kaminer
How’s your hearing these days? Too many long nights at Space or lengthy conversations shouting over some Wynwood loudspeakers might have your ears in less than tip-top shape.
Not to fear: AudioCardio is here. And that’s something to shout about (although it’s probably better to whisper).
The Los Angeles born startup has developed an app to give your ears the workout they need to strengthen your hearing and relieve tinnitus, which affects around one in four adults.
But the AudioCardio experience is much more akin to a relaxing day at the spa than a 5am session at Barry’s Bootcamp. After a quick test to determine a user’s baseline hearing, the app plays a stimulating sound that is imperceptible to the user because it’s just under the softest sound that they can hear.
The user can listen to a podcast or music during the therapy and go about their day-to-day life uninterrupted. Around a few days to a few weeks later, the user will regain the ability to hear that frequency of sound – at which point the app will go even softer.
The initial spark for AudioCardio came when co-founder and CEO Chris Ellis [pictured below] started to take care of his grandfather, who faced hearing loss after spending most of his professional life around loud machinery.
“He was seeing cognitive decline, which ended up being dementia,” Ellis told Refresh Miami. After going down a rabbit hole in an attempt to better understand his grandfather’s condition, Ellis learned that there was a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline for untreated hearing loss.
In 2018, Ellis partnered up with co-founder Sam Kwak, an expert in cognitive acoustics and systematic musicology, to build AudioCardio. Since their app launched in 2020, it has built a community of upwards of 30,000 users – 5,000 of whom pay at least around $8 each per month for a subscription.
“Our goal is to be the leader in hearing loss treatments and solutions,” asserted Ellis. He said that too many people wait too long to go to the doctor to deal with their hearing loss, in part because of the undue stigma. In that context, he believes that AudioCardio’s in-home offering could be part of the solution.
The company now has around 9 full-time employees, with an ever-growing slate of contractors. While AudioCardio has never gone after institutional capital, it raised an initial pre-seed from friends and family, angels, and a crowdfunding campaign.
Ellis moved to Miami in May 2023 after having gone back and forth between coasts for years. A native of Silicon Valley, Ellis never imagined he would leave California. He said that the influx of talent and capital to Miami drew him here.
“Miami just made sense,” he said, drawing parallels between his decision to move here and his previous decision to move to Los Angeles from the Bay Area. “I’m following the tech.”
“The Miami tech ecosystem is vibrant. It’s people wanting to do things. That reminds me a lot of how Los Angeles was when I moved there 10 years ago.”
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