LSTN (pronounced LISTEN) is a new headphone company based in Los Angeles. We love these headphones for three reasons: they sound amazing, they look cool, and for every pair sold, the company gives a child in a deaf school the gift of hearing!
LA Music Blog recently sat down with founder Bridget Hilton to find out more about LSTN.
LSTN isn’t your first one-for-one company. What attracts you to this business model? What made you want to get into this world?
TOMS and Warby Parker have been a big inspiration for me. I feel there are a lot of young people out there who want to give back, but don’t really know how or where to go. One-for-one companies are attractive because it allows those people to get a great product while contributing to amazing causes.
What spawned the idea for LSTN?
I looked at what I was passionate about — music, nature, and charity — and knew I wanted to combine those three things but wasn’t sure exactly how. One day I came across a video on YouTube of a deaf woman hearing for the first time in her life. It was incredibly moving, and it clicked that I could give people that same joy. From there, I figured out the best product to make that happen.
How does LSTN help to give hearing to a person for each pair of headphones sold?
We partnered with a charity called Sound Seekers who are already on the ground in various places within Africa, South America, and India. They take mobile clinics to deaf schools in developing communities and give kids who have never heard anything before the gift of hearing almost instantly. It’s quite inspiring. LSTN covers the medical exam, a custom-fit hearing aid, batteries, antibiotics, and mosquito nets. All of the children and their families are educated on caring for their hearing aids, but if a child loses or breaks theirs, we replace it free of charge.
Now on to the product! So tell us a little about why you decided to make the headphones out of wood.
I found it interesting that guitars, violins, piano keys, etc were all made out of wood and produced this amazing sound, but I had never seen wooden headphones. I’m a huge music geek, so I decided to try to create a unique music product that sounds great, looks cool, and gives back. We made a couple of headphone prototypes and talked to different manufacturers, but I ended up loving the sound that came from the wooden chambers the most!
You sell earbuds as well, correct?
Yes! We have the same three types of wood on earbuds: beech, cherry, and ebony.
On a personal note, do you prefer earbuds or on-ear headphones?
I prefer on-ear headphones, but I think both have a purpose for different situations. Both sound great; it just depends when and where you’re using them.
Now being that your headphones are made of wood, is there any ecological impact there?
Our wood is actually given to us by furniture makers. They’re pieces that are too small to make a table or a cabinet out of, but they’re perfect for making headphones. Instead of discarding these exotic pieces of wood, we use them!
Being that we are an LA-based music blog and LSTN is an LA-based company, let’s ask a few quick fire questions about Los Angeles.
Favorite Large Venue:
Fonda in Hollywood, but I recently went to the Shrine downtown, and it was really cool and had a great, historic vibe.
Favorite Small Venue:
Troubadour in West Hollywood. It’s by far my favorite venue in any city I’ve been to.
Favorite Local Bands:
honeyhoney, Delta Spirit, Mayer Hawthorne, The Airborne Toxic Event…we have some incredible musicians here!
Katsuya and Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City, Cleo in Hollywood, Sugarfish in Santa Monica, Casa Bianca in Eagle Rock…so many.
Favorite Place to Meet People:
Golden Road Brewery is a really fun new spot!
Lastly, is there anything else you would like to tell people about the one-for-one world and how they can get involved?
For more info: