Sonitus Medical out of San Mateo, California is a company that’s betting on bone conducting dental hearing implant technology. The SoundBite Hearing System that the firm is developing consists of a unit that has a microphone and wireless transmitter, and a tiny speaker that attaches to rear teeth to resonate and transmit the audio mechanically to the cochleae. The idea for this technology is not new and maybe risky, but Sonitus Medical seems confident it can earn regulatory approval and introduce an all new hearing aid technology to market.
The SoundBite hearing system consists of both a BTE (behind the ear) microphone unit, housing the receiver, wireless transmitter, and attached microphone, and a discreet, removable ITM (in the mouth) hearing device. An inductive charger unit is provided to charge the BTE microphone unit and ITM hearing device.
SoundBite is designed to detect sound using a tiny microphone placed in an open-fit dome within the ear canal of the impaired ear. This nearly invisible microphone is attached by a thin tube to a transmitter unit called a BTE worn behind the ear. Placing the microphone in the ear canal is intended to allow the SoundBite hearing system to capitalize on the natural acoustic benefit provided by the patient’s own pinna or outer ear to capture and direct sound.
Once sound is captured by the microphone, it is processed by the BTE digital audio device. The BTE wirelessly transmits sound to the removable ITM (in the mouth) hearing device, which is custom made for your own teeth for optimal comfort and function. The ITM hearing device in turn uses advanced technology to produce imperceptible sound vibrations that are conducted via the teeth, through bone, to the both cochleae. In this way, the SoundBite hearing system is intended to provide clear, high fidelity sound and thus restore normal hearing to patients who are essentially deaf in one ear with no surgery or modifications to the teeth required.
SoundBite hearing system is intended for patients who suffer from single sided deafness, conductive hearing loss, or mixed hearing loss and seek a non-surgical, non-invasive, hearing device that delivers high fidelity sound.