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Earlens - Provider - August 2022

Earlens, Who is a Candidate and What are the Benefits?

Suzy Levy, PhD

July 25, 2022

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Question

Who is a candidate for Earlens?

Answer

Any adult patient (>18 years of age) with a mild to severe SNHL who has > 50% speech understanding would be a good candidate. We estimate that about 90% of hearing aid users fit into this range. Additionally, anyone who has aidable high frequency hearing at 4000Hz and above is likely to hear and benefit from the extended audible speech information provided by Earlens. In terms of medical candidacy criteria, a normal tympanic membrane and middle ear are needed to effectively transmit that information from the lens through the middle ear system to be received by the cochlea. Earlens also has a demo device for patients who are interested in hearing the difference in sound quality and clarity. 

So Why Earlens when hearing aid technology has improved so much in recent years?

Despite all the improvements we have seen with conventional acoustic devices, and there have been many, we are still not able to delight patients with traditional devices. Looking at the most recent market research we see that hearing aid wearers top two complaints, when asked about satisfaction, are sound quality and understanding speech in background noise. Earlens is the only non-surgical hearing solution that effectively addresses both of these complaints. In fact, we now have significant data (16+ publications) demonstrating the positive impact of extended audible bandwidth on: Sound quality, speech understanding, and speech understanding in noise. A game changer!

Because of Earlen’s unique mechanism of action, directly vibrating the eardrum at the umbo of the malleus, we get a huge efficiency advantage over acoustic devices. You get low frequency output with wide venting and are able to meet prescriptive targets from 100 Hz to 10 kHz without feedback. You also get a balanced frequency response that prevents tinniness, sharpness and harshness while retaining broadband audibility. It’s this balance of the lows and the highs that provides the improved naturalness of sound and clarity our patients enjoy.

When you get back to the basics, the sole purpose of any hearing aid is to restore the audibility of sound via amplification in the specific impaired sound regions. Afterall, if the patient can’t hear it, it’s not reaching the brain, and they can’t benefit from it. Despite all the improvements we have seen with conventional acoustic devices the audible bandwidth they provide continues to be restricted. This is due, quite simply, to the physics of the receiver and the transmission of sound in air. Indeed, the audible bandwidth of acoustic devices is limited even with less severe hearing loss. Consider that low frequency gain is restricted due to the need to vent for occlusion and feedback limits gain in the high frequencies. We can see this when we verify acoustic hearing aid fittings using Real Ear measurements. Because Earlens directly vibrates the tympanic membrane at the umbo of the malleus instead of using a receiver to acoustically transmit the signal we are able to deliver audibility from 100Hz to10kHz for those who fall within our fitting range. That is 2.5X the range of acoustic hearing aids.

 

The latest courses, as well as videos and other resources, can be found on Earlens Partner Page on AudiologyOnline. Professionals can also visit the Earlens website, www.earlens.com or to learn about becoming an Earlens provider, please visit https://earlens.com/providers/become-a-provider/


suzy levy

Suzy Levy, PhD

Suzy Levy, Ph.D. is the Sr. Director of Professional Education and Clinical Research at Earlens Corporation where she works to coordinate professional education and clinical research efforts across the clinical, professional education and Audiology teams. Dr. Levy obtained her BS in bioengineering at the University of California, San Diego and went on to study binaural hearing at Boston University, where she graduated with a Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Suzy started working at Earlens in 2010, first conducting the feasibility trial and moving up to manage the clinical trials on subsequent generations of the Earlens device, including the one used to gain FDA clearance for marketing.


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