Boise entrepreneur’s Matt and Mali Murphy save the day with their revolutionary Ear Hero earphones
By Becky Davis
Photography by Copper Chadwick
Boise’s husband-and-wife team Matt and Mali Murphy are more than just audiologists. They are the creators of Ear Hero; a Boise-based company that sells specially designed earphones that allow you to listen to music while remaining aware of your surroundings.
These are not your grandparent’s headphones. Instead, Ear Hero’s minute design comes up and over your ear and has a small hearing aid that fits in the ear canal, making it unnoticeable to the naked eye.
“It’s small enough that it will fit in your ear canal and also small enough that it lets ambient sound come and go,” Murphy said. “The whole idea is that you can still listen to your music while out for a bike ride or a run, and still you could hear a car coming.”
With the Murphy’s active lifestyle, the idea for Ear Hero came to them on the slopes of Sun Valley in 2004 when they realized they had a hard time communicating with friends while listening to music. From there, the couple worked on Ear Hero while running Boise’s House of Hearing Audiology Clinic and officially launched Ear Hero in January of 2012.
Using the earphones for sports isn’t Ear Hero’s only market, however. One of their biggest clients is The US Secret Service, where Ear Hero allows agents to keep a low profile while still being connected without a bulky, coiled earpiece.
With two completely different cliental, Ear Hero utilizes it’s many purposes in that it’s the “world’s safest earphone.” But Ear Hero is not only limited to athletes and the Secret Service. People sitting in an office all day can also benefit by listening to music while still being able to interact with colleagues.
With the earphones running for $149 on their website and Amazon, the Murphy’s work on Ear Hero production after they finish their day job at the audiology clinic.
“I think ideally we would like to see it get to the point where it becomes a full business, it’s not quite there yet,” Murphy said. “We do a lot of our own packaging and mailing.”
In October of 2012, Ear Hero won the “Commercialized Innovation of the Year” at the Idaho Innovation Awards, an award program rewarding unprecedented companies in the state.
Although Ear Hero is a local business, they have sales all around the world. With manufacturing in China and a distributor in Australia, Ear Hero’s safe earphones have impacted more than just the Boise community.
“It’s such a unique product that it’s difficult to show people because it’s there for a purpose, it’s there for safety,” Murphy said. “It’s different than any other earphone.”
With the rising popularity of the Ear Hero, what’s next for the Boise company? Getting their product into more public places like bike shops and sporting goods stores – basically working on distribution. Murphy has also been looking into designs for eventually adding a Bluetooth component to the earphones so the product can go wireless.
To learn more about Ear Hero, visit their website at http://www.earhero.com.