The story of Conversor: exclusive interview

Conversor is committed to supporting the hearing-impaired community, and for over 15 years, it has been designing and supplying ALDs to those suffering with hearing loss. Here, CEO Darryl Schofield talks us through the business’s strong history, its plans for the future and why its ethos is something very close to his heart…

Can you talk us through the story of Conversor?

The original Conversor was first invented when a young engineer’s parents couldn’t hear the speeches at his wedding. It then found fame on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World and the product we have today remains true to the original concept, albeit with modern circuitry and components. A few years later, I was introduced to Conversor when the team wanted the product to work in different countries, on different radio frequencies. I quickly made some brutal repairs to the design and was immediately hired to create a new version called Conversor Pro. Its foundations are similar to the original product, but it is much more advanced.

Why did you take over the business last year?

Throughout my engineering life, I’ve enjoyed improving things – I see a problem and provide the solution. And helping people is what’s important to me.

Since graduating with a degree in electrical and electrical engineering in the 1980s, I’ve been involved with many projects that help people, including a system for measuring the breathing in neo-natal babies. I guess the main success of what I do is understanding people’s situations. That’s my unique selling point – I like people, and I like helping.

That’s what bought me to Conversor – this is a product that helps people.

Have you experienced hearing loss in your life?

I have a small appreciation of hearing loss because many years ago, when working in an electronics laboratory, a circuit board exploded in my ear, and it took a month to heal. While my hearing loss is trivial by comparison, I do have a respect and understanding for lack of clarity and difficulty for sorting out the speech from the background noise.

My father in law also suffers from severe hearing loss, so I have personal experience of the stress and frustrations suffered not only by him, but my mother in law!

What is your favourite product?

HD. The core product. It’s very versatile and it’s been the most helpful to people. Plus, it’s universal because users can pair it with earphones or hearing aids from any manufacturer.

Do you have any new ideas up your sleeve?

Over the last decade, people have asked us to improve the ratio of wanted speech to unwanted background noise. Then, they asked to make it louder. And finally, they wanted to increase the battery life. So, we’ve recently introduced a new digital amplifier, which not only increases sound, but improves the battery life by 50%. And the HD pendant arriving in autumn will be louder and last for 12 hours instead of eight.

We’re also planning to introduce a digital microphone to the pendant, so people can use it without the HD. For example, in the classroom, the teacher can switch off the HD, allowing students to converse easily at a table with clear sounds and minimal interruption.

What do you love the most about Conversor?

I’m a people person, I love to be able to help while also applying technology to solve problems.

If you had to sum up Conversor in three words, what would it be?

Helping people hear.