The standard process for fitting and manufacturing hearing aids is a logistically complex, expensive, and time-consuming process, due to requirements to ship physical ear impressions.
Lantos Technologies worked with Smithwise to bring the process of creating hearing aids into the 21st century. Now, rather than having a tube of silicone squeezed into a patient’s ear, audiologists quickly scan the inner and outer geometry of the ear with an optical handheld digital scanner. This results in a detailed 3-D representation of the ear instantly sent to hearing aid manufacturers through the Internet. Furthermore, the technology captures a better scan of the ear canal resulting in a more comfortable and accurate fit for patients.
These configurations were tested with dozens of audiologists to understand preferences on usability and other influencing factors. After gathering responses from the first round of testing, the team refined a smaller set of models and returned to the field for additional feedback. This integrated user testing gave the team the insights and confidence needed to converge on the right product architecture and feature set for this audiology application.
A detailed 3-D engineering database was constructed along with the supporting documentation that was needed to procure parts and ensure quality control. The engineering team produced several hundred fluid-filled disposables and a dozen functional electro-optical hand pieces. These prototypes made their debut at the 2012 Audiology NOW! Convention in Boston, MA and have received mass acclaim by the audiology industry.
“Direct digital ear scanning, comfort dynamics, and ear canal compliance measurements represent the next frontier for the hearing aid industry.” – Jeffrey Leathe, chairman and CEO of Lantos Technologies