SpeechVive Raises $1.5M to Speed Company’s Growth

SpeechVive Raises $1.5M to Speed Company’s Growth
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SpeechVive recently raised more than $1.5 million to support efforts to increase accessibility for the wearable medical device that improves the speech clarity of Parkinson’s disease patients.

Capital from the syndicated funding round was provided by Elevate Ventures, Foundry Investment Fund, Southwest Angel Network, Racine Medical Angels, SideCar Angels, and the SpeechVive management team.

“This funding will provide the resources we need to scale our business within the Veterans Affairs hospitals by allowing us to add several salespeople to our team,” said Steve Mogensen, SpeechVive president and CEO, in a press release.

“We also plan to continue to pursue reimbursement from Medicare and commercial insurance companies, which will allow access to SpeechVive for roughly one million people who are retired or on a fixed income and could greatly benefit from SpeechVive but cannot afford it,” he said.

The smart device was created by Jessica Huber, a professor in Purdue University’s department of speech, language, and hearing sciences, and co-founder of the Indiana-based startup company.

“The SpeechVive device, which fits behind the patient’s ear, detects when a patient is speaking and elicits louder and clearer speech through an involuntary reflex known as the Lombard Effect,” said Huber. “Approximately 89% of people with Parkinson’s disease will have speech issues. Access to SpeechVive for those patients will make a significant improvement in their quality of life.”

A Parkinson’s symptom called hypophonia, brought on by disease progression, is the proclivity to speak softly due to impaired coordination of speech-forming muscles. The condition makes it difficult to engage in effective communication with those around them.

By contrast, the Lombard Effect is the tendency of people to speak more loudly in noisy environments. SpeechVive essentially works by simulating a noisy environment; it plays “background noise” into the patient’s ear. Consequently, the person wearing the device speaks louder and enunciates more clearly.

Developed in 2019, the device was tested in a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Communication Disorders. Of 33 people with Pakinson’s-related hypophonia — all at different stages of the disease — 26 study participants experienced significant increases in vocal intensity while using the device.

Most participants also were able to improve the way their laryngeal and respiratory physiologic support worked. By changing the resistance to airflow through the glottis (the vocal cords and openings between them), the larynx can help increase vocal intensity.

The company said clinical data over four years showed SpeechVive to be effective in improving volume, articulation, and speech rate in 90% of those participating in two clinical trials.

Huber has said the device works without the need for conventional speech therapy, which can be protracted and ongoing.

Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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Ana holds a PhD in Immunology from the University of Lisbon and worked as a postdoctoral researcher at Instituto de Medicina Molecular (iMM) in Lisbon, Portugal. She graduated with a BSc in Genetics from the University of Newcastle and received a Masters in Biomolecular Archaeology from the University of Manchester, England. After leaving the lab to pursue a career in Science Communication, she served as the Director of Science Communication at iMM.
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Mary M. Chapman began her professional career at United Press International, running both print and broadcast desks. She then became a Michigan correspondent for what is now Bloomberg BNA, where she mainly covered the automotive industry plus legal, tax and regulatory issues. A member of the Automotive Press Association and one of a relatively small number of women on the car beat, Chapman has discussed the automotive industry multiple times of National Public Radio, and in 2014 was selected as an honorary judge at the prestigious Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. She has written for numerous national outlets including Time, People, Al-Jazeera America, Fortune, Daily Beast, MSN.com, Newsweek, The Detroit News and Detroit Free Press. The winner of the Society of Professional Journalists award for outstanding reporting, Chapman has had dozens of articles in The New York Times, including two on the coveted front page. She has completed a manuscript about centenarian car enthusiast Margaret Dunning, titled “Belle of the Concours.”
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