Hybrid hearing aid startup Yes Hearing raises $10M Series A

Hybrid hearing-care startup Yes Hearing raised $10 million Series A, CEO Sam Shear tells Axios exclusively.

Why is this important: In the United States, approximately 1 in 5 people over the age of 12 experience hearing loss in one or both ears per year. study in the magazine JAMA internal medicineand although the prevalence of the disease increases with age, Medicare does not cover hearing aids or examinations for the fitting of hearing aids.

  • “It’s a huge market,” Alan Patricof, president of Primetime Partners and Yes Hearing investor, told Axios. “There is room for several players here.”

Offer details: Blue Heron Capital led the round, joined by Primetime Partners, Ensemble Innovation Ventures, Maccabee Ventures and Gaingels.

  • Yes will use the funds to hone its technology platform and explore developing B2B partnerships with hospital groups and senior living facilities as well as senior care startups such as Honor and Papa, Shear said.
  • As part of the deal, the company is appointing Todd Walrath, Blue Heron advisor and CEO of ShiftMed, to its board of directors.

State of play: A recent FDA decision Moving over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids is pushing startups and big tech companies into the hearing health market, which is expected to generate approximately $12 billion in sales by 2031, according to a recent Kenneth Research report. For instance:

  • Hearing support start-up facing employer Tuned in September debuted with $2.5 million in seeds funding.
  • Apple last year started explore the potential of AirPods as hearing aids and more recently made them usable as such.
  • In September, Sony partnered with WS Audiology Denmark to develop new Sony-branded OTC hearing health products, citing the FDA decision in a announcement as crucial to the agreement.

Yes, but: At this time, Yes only operates in the prescription hearing aid market.

  • However, Shear tells Axios, “As we look at the OTC hearing market, we might start adding them.”

How it works: Yes, based in New York, offers consultations, prescription hearing aids and ongoing care through a combination of telehealth and home visits.

  • Yes, specialists deliver, test and program the hearing aids customers buy.
  • The company operates in all 50 states and contracts with a network of more than 500 mobile audiologists and hearing aid professionals.

And after: Shear says Yes will increase its Series B in the first half of 2024 while considering potential avenues for expansion, such as other age-related health issues.

  • “We’re more of a healthy aging company than an audition company and we’re certainly interested in growing beyond audition, although that’s our current focus,” he says.
  • Patricof agrees, saying yes, it’s “at home and in a relationship with the consumer, and there are other opportunities that will come with that.”

Yes, but: One hurdle Yes will face when operating at scale is hiring health professionals in the middle widespread shortage of health personnel.

  • “At a time when there is a shortage of people with health care experience, that will be a challenge,” says Patricof.

Michael A. May