Inventing “Help” For People Struggling To Hear

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The Means Report: Inventing "Help" For People Struggling To Hear
The Means Report: Inventing “Help” For People Struggling To Hear

Louisville, KY — A Kentucky teen has developed something that could help a lot of people. He made a hearing aid that not only amplifies volume, but also tests hearing. And best of all, he says the device costs only 60 dollars.

For two years, Mukund Venkatakrishnan spent hours fiddling with frequencies, tinkering with tones. And two years is a long time, especially…

“Because I’m only 16. Two years is a long time for me to spend on something,” Mukund explains.

This 16 year old created this device — a hearing test and aid.

“It eliminates the need for a doctor all together.”

For the tests, different sounds at different frequencies.

“You plug in the headphones on the normal headphone jack right there. You hear the sound, you clic the green button. If you don’t hear the sound, you click the yellow button, and after the hearing test is completed, the device programs itself to be a hearing aid.”

A double-duty device, something he wasn’t sure he could create.

“I’m just srprised it turned out okay, because it’s hard to see something like this working. Like, I wanted to quit a lot of times in the middle.”

But besides his incredible persistence, there’s a big reason why he didn’t quit.

“Summer after my freshman year, I went to India and stayed with my grandparents, and my grandfather has had hearing loss for a little while.”

And it became Mukund’s job to help get him to a doctor for a hearing aid. And the experience was less than ideal.

“The process took forever, to find an audiologist, then once we got there, they ripped us off. So I kind of looked into the problem more, and that’s when I got into the idea.”

So when he got home from India, he went to work.

“I started online. I looked up how to program online, and I taught myself to program.”

And how to build the device at a price that more people can afford.

“Yeah, 60 bucks is what it is right now. And it’s crazy that they cost 15 hundred dollars each when you can do it for 60 bucks.”

Two years working on the project, and he still plans on making improvements.

“But when you finally actually get that solution, it’s like the best feeling in the world to finally break through and get that moment of ‘Aha! Eureeka!’ I love that feeling, and that’s kind of what kept me going. That and my grandfather, keeping him in my head, there are other people like him that wouldn’t be able to afford this device. That’s why I am working on this project.”

Mukund is expected to return to India this summer to give the device to his grandfather.

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Brad Means

The Means Report first aired in January of 2009 offering coverage that you cannot get from a daily newscast. Forget about quick soundbytes -- we deliver an in-depth perspective on the biggest stories. If they are making news on the local or national level, you will find them on the set of The Means Report. Hosted by WJBF NewsChannel 6 anchor, Brad Means, The Means Report covers the topics impacting your life, your town, your state, and your future.