(Credit: Audio Cardio)

A person's ability to hear is a fragile thing. Too many concerts spent standing next to the speakers or days blaring music in your headphones can take a toll. Exposure to gunfire at close range or explosions can cause damage to those in the military.

Even if you take the best care of your hearing, it can also deteriorate with age.

To combat hearing loss, veteran tech entrepreneur Chris Ellis and musicologist Sam Kwak created the Audio Cardio app (iOS) that works like physical therapy for your ears.

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The clinically tested app uses Threshold Sound Conditioning (TSC), developed by Kwak.

"The technology resonated with me as my grandfather now has late-stage dementia, which can be correlated to hearing loss that he suffered while in the military," Ellis said in a press release. "I realized how revolutionary this technology could be and wanted to figure out a way to make it easily accessible to all people. Audio Cardio was born soon after."

In the app, users connect their headphones and open their desired music service. The user can calibrate both ears individually by changing the "left" and "right" toggle to the TSC technology.

After the app determines the user's current state of hearing, TSC generates custom sound signals at the barely-audible level, which stimulates the inner ear cells, causing them to "rapidly fire," according to the press release.

"TSC technology detects the key frequencies that have lost sensitivity (commonly due to noise exposure and aging) and exercises them with customized sound signals," the Audio Cardio website said.

The sound signals strengthen the cells and encourage the creation of neural pathways for better sound recognition. Users can play the sounds under music they regularly listen to by turning on Active EQ. The longer you use Audio Cardio, the louder the signal will get, indicating that your hearing is being restored.

After the signal gets loud, the user can recalibrate back to a barely audible level. The company said Audio Cardio can be used with your headphones almost anywhere--while you work, exercise, or relax.

The company suggests using the app for an hour a day over a two week period to see results. Your progress can be tracked in the app with charts.

During Audio Cardio's test phase, 75 percent of participants who used the app had an increase in auditory function by 10 decibels for the frequencies treated.

The app offers users a 30-day free trial and costs $10 per month afterward. While it's only available on iOS to start, Audio Cardio will be available in Google Play in the coming months.

(Credit: Audio Cardio)

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  1. The Audio Cardio app restores, enhances, and protects your hearing through auditory stimulation and training.
  2. The app uses Threshold Sound Conditioning to strengthen damaged ear cells by playing barely-audible sounds. Once the user can hear it, they can recalibrate the sounds back to quiet levels.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.