When Yes Hearing CEO Sam Shear’s grandparents began experiencing severe hearing loss in 2018, it left him with a few realizations. First, he found hearing loss to be extremely isolating. Second, it leads to deterioration of health in other areas, such as dementia and depression. Finally, accessing hearing care is extremely confusing and difficult.
This eventually led him to start working in New York Yes Rumor in 2019. The startup sells prescription hearing aids and provides home and telehealth audiology services in all 50 states.
“Hearing aids are really only half the battle – hearing care is so much more than that. Yes Hearing offers a home service that provides the knowledge and advice needed to increase actual hearing aid use. This leads to long-term health benefits beyond hearing, including communication, mobility, dementia prevention and more,” Shear wrote in an email.
After securing $10 million in Series A funding, Yes Hearing will work to expand its services announced last week. The funding round was led by The capital of the Blue Heron and included participation from Primetime Partners, Ensemble Innovation Ventures, Maccabee Ventures and Gaingeli. In total, the company has raised $13.5 million.
Blue Heron Capital chose to invest in Yes Hearing because of its work in providing hearing care at home, said Tom Bendetti, the firm’s managing partner.
“The team created a better delivery model that bridges the gap between need for care and access to better health care at home,” Bendetti said in a news release. “The benefits of moving professional healthcare services into the home setting are enormous, from providing higher quality, personalized and professional care to providing patients with an increased sense of independence, safety, comfort and convenience, higher levels of satisfaction and ultimately account for better results.”
Yes Hearing will use the funds to increase its direct-to-consumer offering as well as improve hearing loss education, Shear said.
“Our plans include the development of technologies such as a telehealth portal for patients, a portal for our care providers and patient-provider matching initiatives,” Shear said. “We will also drive brand expansion by focusing on improving education and awareness about hearing loss and the affordability of hearing aids.”
The hearing care startup sells directly to consumers. Those seeking his services can begin with a free phone consultation where they will receive recommendations based on their needs. They can also browse the Yes Hearing website for its hearing products. Once they have decided on a hearing aid, a specialist from the company will deliver the product. A hearing aid purchase includes an at-home hearing aid test and 60 days of follow-up care. After those 60 days, patients can subscribe to continuing care, which can cost between $299 and $659 per year.
Yes Hearing currently only sells prescription hearing aids, but in the future may sell over-the-counter hearing aids, which just became available on October 17th.
“We are currently only working with prescription devices, but we will continually evaluate the over-the-counter product line as more data becomes available,” Shear said. “As OTC devices and technology become more widely tested, reviewed and used by consumers, if there is a product that we believe can add benefit to our patients, we will strive to make it part of our comprehensive offering.”
Photo: PIKSEL, Getty Images