Initiative confirms Oticon Medical commitment to benefits of direct bone conduction solutions.
COPENHAGEN, DK March 25 - Oticon Medical today announced that the company has entered into a partnership with Bo Håkansson, PhD, Professor at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, for the future commercialization of the active transcutaneous Bone Conduction Implant (BCI). Prof. Håkansson is the inventor of the first bone anchored hearing aid and is one of the pioneers in direct bone conduction hearing systems with more than 30 years of experience. In recent years, Prof. Håkansson has focused his work in the area of active transcutaneous solutions. The Oticon Medical team will collaborate with Prof. Håkansson to combine his groundbreaking research and optimization of an active transcutaneous solution with the innovative audiology, signal processing and wireless capabilities of the Oticon Medical Ponto System.
The new project is a natural extension of the Oticon Medical commitment to direct bone conduction systems that improve patient outcomes. The BCI concept transfers sound signals to the implanted transducer through a wireless link. The concept provides bone conduction via direct drive, similar to the way the Ponto System does today. The placement of the BCI vibrator in direct contact with the mastoid bone ensures that patients no longer have to accept the inherent disadvantages of current passive transcutaneous solutions that function via skin drive, including degradation of sound quality, limited output power, potential skin issues, and a cosmetically unfavorable and bulky external part when wearing the sound processor.
“Oticon Medical is committed to remaining at the forefront of advances in patient-centered solutions that provide quality of life benefits and extend the potential for treatment and successful outcomes,” says Oticon Medical President Jes Olsen. “We will build on Prof. Håkansson’s leading-edge work with the proven strengths of our Ponto System including the powerful and efficient Inium signal processing platform and wireless capabilities. We believe that only direct bone conduction drive, such as that provided by the BCI and our Ponto System, can deliver the desired performance in sound that patients and professionals demand.”
The new project will use the proprietary BEST transducer (Balanced Electromagnetic Separation Transducer) that is less than half the size of transducers found in comparable products. The BEST transducer provides the highest efficiency and smallest volume, making surgery straightforward and the anatomical coverage high.
“I look very much forward to the cooperation with Oticon Medical and the teams in Gothenburg, Copenhagen and Nice that were instrumental in bringing the Ponto System to market. Their commitment to develop solutions for better patient outcomes and Oticon Medical’s global distribution structure and financial strength will certainly fuel the future industrialization and commercialization of this BCI project,” observes Prof. Håkansson.
In the future, there will be a need for both the current percutaneous Ponto System and the active transcutaneous BCI project to ensure high fidelity sound quality to all types of patients with conductive and mixed hearing losses as well as single-sided deafness. “The two complementary solutions in the future Oticon Medical portfolio will give professionals and patients an option to choose the most optimal solution for the individual patient - based on type of hearing loss, age, reversibility wishes and cosmetics” says Olsen.
The commercialization of the BCI project with new technologies is long term. The Ponto System is currently the most powerful solution on the market that through direct bone conduction drive and advanced signal processing and wireless technologies provides the best patient outcomes. “We are proud to see that clinical data shows that 2 out of 3 patients prefer Ponto sound processors* when given the choice,” adds Olsen. “We believe that through our collaboration with Prof. Håkansson, we can continue to expand our ability to deliver benefits that optimize lifelong patient outcomes – both now and in the future.”
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