India has come up with the first set of headphones that work on bone conduction technology, enabling individuals to hear but without spending lakhs.
The perons behind this seminal product are Gujarat’s Kanishka Patel and Raj Shah, who, under their company ‘WeHear’ are producing Hear NU that costs Rs 80,000, which they say, is much affordable as compared to any surgical cost.
It’s a product that currently helps 5,000 people across the world – including those without an ear, and it is ‘Made in Ahmedabad, Made in India.’
“The US military and armed forces use this technology in the field, where they can hear sounds and communicate with their team internally and also listen to surrounding sounds because of open-ear experience.” shared Kanishka about the product launched in 2021-22.
The duo, who first met at Gujarat University Startup and Entrepreneurship Council (GUSEC), realised they both wanted to find affordable and effective solutions to help others and began product research in 2017. That’s when Kanishka read about bone conduction technology.
The duo appeared in Shark Tank, season 3, where they received a valuation of Rs 250 crore, with entrepreneur-angel investor Peyush Bansal investing Rs 2.5 crore.
Highlighting the USPs, Raj explained, “All the products are designed, engineered, developed and manufactured in-house. Our products don’t require surgical intervention. A hearing impaired person can use our products, without going under the knife.”
“Through the bone conduction technology – fully developed in Ahmedabad — the sound waves don’t hit the cochlear inside the ear directly. It makes a vibration or sends notes to the bone outside the ear, enabling hearing. To help them communicate, we have a smart watch paired with headphones which can translate up to 80 languages. It is communication at the touch of their fingertips,” explained Kanishka.
Both hearing aids and smart watches look like regular headphones and smart watches and are designed to help the wearer hear sounds from a distance of 10 to 30 feet away. In fact, WeHear headphones were used to translate PM Narendra Modi’s speech at the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2024.
“With the current investment we plan to expand our team and invest more into research and development. We have raised Rs 2.5 crore for this purpose. We have also raised another Rs 8 crore to be used in the next 12 months. Once we raise Rs 40 crore, our target is to manufacture one million devices a month in 2025-26,” concluded Raj.