WHO - 2021 World Report on Hearing
Nearly 2.5 billion people worldwide ─ or 1 in 4 people ─ will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050, warns the World Health Organization’s (WHO) first World Report on Hearing, released March 2, 2021.
The report, launched ahead of World Hearing Day on 3 March, underlines the need to rapidly step up efforts to prevent and address hearing loss by investing and expanding access to ear and hearing care services. Investment in ear and hearing care has been shown to be cost-effective: WHO calculates that governments can expect a return of nearly US$ 16 for every US$ 1 invested.
Nick Laperle, CEO
What is EERS?
NL: The original goal was to prevent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), the number #1 occupational disease, that costs billions of dollars to manage, and is tragic on a human level as it is 100% preventable. Over the years, we understood that the ear is the gateway to the body. This led us to invent advanced technologies for hearing protection, communication in challenging environments, wellness, medical, augmented hearing, gaming, and many more applications. Today, we are a global leader in disruptive in-ear technologies that enhance and preserve the auditory and quality of life.
As the "architect", what’s your vision for the future for EERS?
NL: We have worked on innovations long enough that they are now ready for human applications. We continue to convert our growing IP portfolio, technical know-how and deep domain knowledge into separate ventures, each with a clear path to commercialization through partner licensing and co-development agreements with industry leaders.
So, Michael, what exactly are you building?
MT: We build in two phases. First our team takes the core in-ear scientific methods developed with our university research group and apply it to very specific use cases. We build real working betas of the core features operational in a hearing or communications device that solves a real problem. This includes signal processing, embedded and mobile software, communications, electrical, mechanical and industrial design. These innovative Minimum Viable Products inspire our partners. Second, we work hand in hand with our partners to transform these projects into world-class products ready for the market.
How do you minimize risk when creating these products?
MT: Striking a balance between start-up mentality and experienced discipline, we rigorously apply our understanding of engineering, manufacturing, licensing, technology transfer and patent litigation to manage the many risks in bringing new products and services to market. We can help larger organizations move with agility.
Prof. Jérémie Voix, Head of Research
How do you envisage the future of in-ear technologies?
JV: The ear is a gateway to the body allowing us not only to protect your hearing and improve communication in challenging situations but detect and monitor all sorts of biometric data – even brain and electrical signals. We are specialists in the ear – human perception (intelligibility), cognitive workload (what you hear or don’t, and what do you perceive) and what you understand (hearing, cognitive/attention function).
How is EERS uniquely positioned to develop these great ideas you are working on?
JV: Not only is Montreal a tech hub, EERS is a center for excellence; continuously attracting high caliber researchers and engineers. Through our long and strong relationship with ÉTS and other universities, we are working on the evolution of our Research Chair to advance our cutting-edge research to brain computer interface, as well as tap into neuroscience to realize an entire new era of human applications.
Charles Garneau, COO, EERS 2Live
Charles, what do you produce?
CG: From the engineering prototypes that Michael’s team builds, we produce a final design that is predictable, repeatable, serviceable and manufacturable. We work with our go-to-market partners to introduce our IP into their manufacturing and distribution ecosystems by creating a full documentation design package.
How do you scale these innovations?
CG: The wheel is an analogy I like; scalability is the difference between it rotating once, and making it spin at 10,000 RPM without any vibration or friction. We work out the technical and manufacturing kinks and challenges.
Many factors are needed to achieve high velocity distribution. Savings on the Bill of Material, environmental constraints, Product Life Cycle, shipping methods, packaging, safety and regulatory requirements are some of many parameters that must be in the equation to manufacture and distribute worldwide. We maintain a strict discipline to produce the manufacturing package our partners need for scalable mass production.
Gateway to the Body
Ears are the gateway to the body: via the earcanal, we can detect and monitor all sorts of biometric data, brain and electrical signals.
Biometrics include blood pressure, heart rate, oxygenation, and breathing rates, and many others with additional sensors. Technology today can measure health and emotional wellness, and adapt hearing aid sound quality based on changing ambient noise levels. We can even detect and filter sounds booming inside the skull: voice, blinking, breathing, coughing, or swallowing. Using our proprietary algorithms, we can filter out unwanted noise, allow you communicate in noise, or use silent machine controls, (like simple nonverbal commands such as trigger answering your phone by clicking your tongue or easily interact in “whisper mode” with your A.I. virtual assistant in a noisy airport, for example.)
In-ear technology already has a high adoption rate – we wear earbuds daily, they are non-intrusive, and globally accepted.
Technology (especially sensors and CPUs) getting smaller, faster and more capable. The smartphone we carry around with us at all times provides a huge amount of processing power. Coupled with our ongoing innovative in-ear technologies, EERS Global is uniquely positioned to deliver cutting-edge solutions.