A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor hopes to improve the lives of millions of Americans with hearing loss through his development of low-cost hearing aids that don’t require a prescription.

Yi Hu‘s grandfather, who lived in a rural coal mining region in China, began complaining about hearing loss in 2005. The associate professor and chair of UW-Milwaukee’s Electrical Engineering department said that piqued his interest in finding a way to use his skills to help.

“He had no access to an audiologist, a very small town, and the hearing aides were just too expensive for him,” said Hu. “So, that’s about the time when I started my journey of developing the sound amplification devices.”

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