Canadian university teams up with manufacturer on an implantable system

HALIFAX, NOVA SCOTIA–Dalhousie University in Halifax has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with Ototronix, an American manufacturer of advanced hearing implant technologies, for a new hearing aid implant developed by three Dalhousie faculty members.

For several years, Manohar Bance, professor and acting head of otolaryngology, and two assistant professors in the School of Biomedical Engineering, Jeremy Brown and Rob Adamson, have been developing a new hearing aid implant that will be invisible to the naked eye.

Their device is designed for patients with ear damage and unilateral hearing loss. Unlike cochlear implants, which are implanted in the middle ear, this new device is implanted directly on the skull. Once it’s been implanted and the skin heals over it, it becomes basically invisible.

Adamson noted, “Instead of sticking something in your ear that you’re constantly wearing, an implanted hearing aid feels like part of your body… From a patient’s point of view, this is a great thing because it just becomes a part of them and they don’t have to think about it anymore.”

According to Bance, the licensing agreement with Ototronix is “the starting point.” He added, “We have a lot of work ahead of us. It takes about two years just to get basic trials done.”

Ototronix, which is based in Houston, developed and manufactures the Maxum implantable system.