Vibrosonic, a Mannheim start-up, has developed a new, innovative hearing aid to help people with hearing impairments. The device consists of an integrated loudspeaker, that is placed directly on the eardrum and is as small as a shirt button. This hearing contact lens delivers better sound quality and outperforms other hearing systems currently in the market.
The Working Principle
Vibrosonic alpha, the first CE-certified hearing solution by the startup, consists of three components. The components that remain secure inside the auditory canal are the hearing contact lens and auditory canal module. The behind-the-ear module can be removed. The loudspeaker is integrated within the hearing contact lens® that is positioned right onto the eardrum. It transmits vibrations to the ossicle directly, with no interference from airborne noise. Sound is transmitted through direct mechanical stimulation of the ear. This helps reproduce the natural hearing process very effectively.
According to Vibrosonic, the device is capable of amplifying sounds across the complete audible frequency spectrum, ranging from under 80 Hz to 12 kHz.
In this system, the Vibrosonic actuator which is a piezoelectric micro-loudspeaker is integrated into a silicon mould. “Because our hearing contact lens is worn directly on the eardrum — just like a contact lens on your eye — very low and particularly high tones can be amplified very effectively, while the lens’ principle prevents disruptive noises caused by feedback. For example, low tones are crucial when listening to music, because they make the sound richer. The ability to hear high tones properly is important for speech comprehension, as the coded overtones shape the character of the voice,” Vibrosonic CEO Dr Dominik Kaltenbacher explains.
With an actuator of a size smaller than human hair, it delivers low distortion and high performance. “Our hearing contact lens uses the world’s first hearing device loudspeaker to have been consistently developed and manufactured based on microsystems engineering methods – the Vibrosonic actuator,” said Kaltenbacher. “Despite its very small size, it delivers extraordinary hearing performance”
This device gives scope for advancement in hearing aids and the inclusion of these in our healthcare system can definitely improve the quality of life of people with hearing impairments.