earHero Sports: An Origin Story, Part One
The Origins of earHero...
Every hero has an origin story. Superman has Smallville. Spiderman has Uncle Ben. earHero Sports has a ski trip to Sun Valley Idaho.
We’ve told you why earHero Sports are the best choice for cyclists. We’ve showed you the proper way to wear them. We’ve shared reviews of the product. Today, we’re going to let you in on the history of earHero Sports.
We recently sat down with the founder and inventor of earHero earphones, Matt Murphy and he filled us in on earHero’s origin story. Over the next three weeks we’ll be taking you through Matt’s journey as he took his idea (Part One) through research and development (Part Two) to a fully realized, innovative product (Part Three).
So, without further ado, we give you the story of earHero Sports.
“There Has To Be A Better Way”
Matt Muprhy didn’t set out to become a clinical audiologist, it just worked out that way.
Our story really gets started when Matt attended college at Boise State University on a javelin scholarship (yes, this is the first time we’ve heard of that particular scholarship too). While there, Matt met a young lady named Mali who would eventually become his wife. After four years of hard study, Matt graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication. He set out into the cutthroat world of sales to make his mark.
Alas, sales was not where Mr. Murphy was destined to have an impact. Over the next few years, Matt bounced around from job to job. He sold mortgages. He sold insurance. He sold semi trucks.
Around the turn of the new millennium, fate stepped in and provided Matt with the opportunity he needed. You see, Matt’s father in law, was an audiologist and he was starting to think about retirement. He didn’t want his practice going to just anyone. So, he convinced Matt and Mali to go back to school in preparation for a career change.
So, Matt and Mali went back to school. This time they attended Idaho State University. After completing their studies they graduated with Masters Degrees in Audiology.
In 2003, Matt and Mali took over the practice from his father in law. Matt quickly found he had a passion for the field. He soon found himself working on projects that involved small sound delivery techniques, projects that would serve him well in the coming years.
The following year, fate stepped in again. In 2004, Matt was skiing in Sun Valley, Idaho. This was around the same time as the release of the iPod shuffle and everyone on the ski slopes seemed to have one.
Matt noticed something odd about the iPod users though. Everyone seemed to be using only one earbud, leaving the other dangling around their neck. He quickly realized that plugging both ears with earbuds sealed the ear canals, leaving skiers unaware of their surroundings. Hurtling down a mountain while unable to hear what was going on around them was not the safest of situations. So the skiers improvised by only wearing one earbud.
Matt was struck by a thought. There had to be a better way to listen to music without eliminating sounds from one’s surroundings. As an audiologist he knew the industry was moving towards smaller technology that could conceivably produce sound without blocking the ear canals. One such technology was balanced armature speakers. These tiny speakers could could produce incredible sound quality from a miniature package. Surely he could leverage this knowledge to come up with a product that didn’t eliminate ambient noise.
Matt had identified a niche. A necessity that would eventually be mother to invention.
Matt returned home determined to find a better way, to design a set of earphones that would allow the wearer to maintain awareness of surroundings while still enjoying their music. Matt couldn’t stop thinking about balanced armature speakers. He knew these speakers would produce the sound he wanted. He also knew the unique encasement produced a rectangular shape for the speaker. Matt figured he could make use of this shape to fit the speaker inside the ear canal while allowing outside noise to pass by the speaker, reaching the inner ear.
Matt had the beginnings of an idea. The first steps of earHero’s journey had been taken. Many more steps, far more than Matt ever realized, lay ahead.
Check back next week as we explore the process Matt endured as he tried to take his mountaintop idea from inspiration to fully realized product.