Songbird Hearing Sings $25 Million Tune

Songbird Hearing Inc. was founded in 1997 to revolutionize audiology by creating the world’s first disposable hearing aid. The only problem, it turns out, is that the company opted for a conventional marketing strategy.

Songbird, which has received over $120 million in venture funding, including $25 million last week, initially tried marketing its disposable devices through traditional channels. What this means in the auditory world is that hearing specialists were the pitchmen, even though they had little experience with low-cost, high volume products like what Songbird was offering. Moreover, the Cranbury, N.J.-based company was hoping to attract the millions of mild to moderate hearing loss sufferers who had resisted traditional hearing aids because of affordability and/or aesthetic concerns — people who were relatively unlikely to be spending much time in a hearing specialist’s office.

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