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036 – Giles Tongue – ChatableApps (feat. Geoff Cooling)

The next episode of the Future Ear Radio podcast features Giles Tongue, CEO of ChatableApps. Along with Giles I brought on hearing care professional and co-founder of Hearing Aid Know, Geoff Cooling, to contribute to the conversation as well. Our focus for this conversation pertains to everything ChatableApps – how it works, what devices it works with, the science that goes into it, and ultimately how it fits into the audiologist’s suite of services.

ChatableApps boosts the volume of voice and removes background noise, enhancing your ability to hear speech amongst everyday background noise. By utilizing the processing power of the super computer we all carry around in our pockets, ChatabbleApps effectively converts one’s smartphone into a computerized directional microphone. It’s an app-based solution available for both iOS and Android, and it’s designed to be used with just about any type of ear-worn device, from AirPods to hearing aids.

Essentially, the idea is to use the app in situations where you need that added boost of speech clarity – such as in the classroom, a noisy pub, or in a conference room during a meeting (to name a few). You simply turn the app on, and use the toggles to increase the volume of the speaker you’re trying to amplify, while adjusting the second toggle to remove the desired amount of background noise. Pair your phone to your headphones or hearing aids, download and open the app, and boom, you’re in business. It’s that simple.

As we discuss throughout the conversation, Chatable represents a part of the future suite of solutions becoming available to the hearing loss community. The hearing professional has the opportunity to embrace these app-based solutions as new tools to add to their toolbox to increase their overall value proposition. This has become a theme in the last few Future Ear Radio episodes, as a wave of new solutions are being ushered in by the tech giants and the ecosystem of smartphone apps that companies like Apple are enabling.

As Geoff points out, Chatable presents an opportunity to penetrate new market segments that might have previously been disregarded. For example, for students in a classroom who struggle concentrating due to ADHD, one way to combat their distractions might be to have the student wear a type of headset (bone conduction?) that’s appropriate for the classroom, but allows them to zero in on the teacher and turn down the noise around them.

The cool thing too about Chatable is that Giles and the team are looking to the hearing professionals to be ambassadors of their technology. Giles has created a partnership program for hearing professionals to join, which would allow the professionals to generate revenue for every person they help sign up and subscribe to Chatable. New revenue models for professionals will undoubtedly surface as companies will look to professionals to be brand ambassadors and advocates that can be leveraged to disseminate new technology, albeit in new forms, like subscriptions-as-a-service.

The mass proliferation of smartphones, coupled with their increasing levels of computing power is transforming the way people can augment and treat their hearing loss. As audiologist Kat Penno pointed out in episode 35, the future of the hearing professional might be to advise, coach and consult the patient through their journey by serving as a match-maker for patients to the growing suite of tech solutions becoming available.

-Thanks for Reading-

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