LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY — After a summer trip to India to visit his grandfather and assist him in obtaining hearing aids, Mukund Venkatakrishnan came away feeling very negatively about the entire experience. He then took it upon himself over the next two years to see if he could do something about it.
After two years of work, 16 year-old Mukund has created a device that not only tests hearing, but then programs itself to function as a hearing aid based on the results. The device, which recently won first place at the Kentucky State Science and Engineering Fair, plays sounds at seven different frequencies for testing and then uses the results to produce amplification.
“It eliminates the need for a doctor altogether. It’s really, in essence, just amplifiers, just increase the volume based on how much hearing loss you have and it’s crazy that they cost $1,500 each, when you can do it for $60.”
Mukund, who taught himself how to code during the process of inventing the device, said the processor was the most expensive component–comprising about $45 of the total cost, with the remaining $15 on other parts.
Mukund wants to eventually be able to distribute the device in places where people cannot afford traditional hearing aids costing thousands of dollars. The experience with his grandfather, having a very difficult time locating an audiologist and then being “ripped off” once they were able to find care, has provided him with the motivation to continue his work.
Various foundations have already reached out to Mukund to help assist him in mass producing and distribute the hearing aid.
He will be returning to India this summer, when he plans to deliver the hearing aid to his grandfather.
Source: Wave3 News