SBIR Phase I: One Size Fits All, Affordable, Comfortable, Sound Activated, Self-R

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43DC012464-01
Agency Tracking Number: R43DC012464
Amount: $292,110.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2012
Solicitation Year: 2012
Solicitation Topic Code: NIDCD
Solicitation Number: PA11-096
Small Business Information
1257 WHITEHALL DR, LONGMONT, CO, 80504-2668
DUNS: 962443748
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (435) 574-0061
Business Contact
Phone: (435) 574-0061
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This study focuses on the production and testing of prototypes of a new inflatable technology for coupling sound into the human ear, for hearing aids. The technology has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost, and increase the safety and convenience of fitting a pair of hearing aids to a patient by eliminating the step of taking ea canal impressions and fabricating custom earmolds. Six prototype devices will be constructed by Asius Technologies; these devices usethe sound energy produced by the hearing aid speakers to run a tiny pump (diaphonic pump), which inflates a bubble in the ear to produce a seal. Preliminary studies on this type of device indicate that it may also reduce audio fatigue, reduce the occlusioneffect, and improve the quality of sound. There is a great need to further investigate the performance and potential benefits of this device with a study involving a statistically significant sampling of objective listeners. The primary goal of this studyis to usethe prototype devices for a preliminary study on twenty volunteers at Vanderbilt University's Department of Hearing and Speech Science. This study will evaluate the prototype devices for such properties as ease of use, occlusion effect, frequencyresponse, ear seal integrity, and so forth. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: A new type of one-size-fits-all, inflatable ear seal for hearing aids has been invented. It is potentially more affordable, safe, and comfortable than conventional custom moldedhearing aid fittings, and the audio quality is better. In this project, prototype devices will be built and tested on human subjects to quantify performance and comfort.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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