Teen Invents Hearing Device

A teen in our neighboring state of Kentucky 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.

Kasey Cunningham has the story.


  --REPORTER PKG-AS FOLLOWS--
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FOR TWO YEARS, MUKUND VENKATAKRISHNAN SPENT HOURS FIDDLING WITH FREQUENCIES, TINKERING WITH TONES.
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AND TWO YEARS IS A LONG TIME, ESPECIALLY...
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "Because I'm only 16. Two years is a long time for me to spend on something."
THIS 16-YEAR-OLD CREATED THIS DEVICE-- A HEARING TEST AND AID.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "It eliminates the need for a doctor all together."
FIRST THE TESTS, DIFFERENT SOUNDS AT DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "You plug in headphones on the normal headphone jack right there. You hear the sound, you click 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 EVEN HE WASN'T SURE THAT HE COULD CREATE.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "I'm just surprised 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 PERSISTANCE, THERE'S A BIG REASON WHY HE DIDN'T QUIT.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "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.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "And 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.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "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.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "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.
(Mukund Venkatakrishnan, Inventor): "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."

Instructional Links

Website Article: Wonderopolis, How Do Hearing Aids Work

http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/how-do-hearing-aids-work

Website Article: KidsHealth, Hearing Impairment Advice from Kristin

http://kidshealth.org/en/kids/hearing-impairment-kristin.html

Website Article: Hearing Aids how they work

https://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing-aids

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