Light-Driven Contact Hearing Aid for Broad-Spectrum Amplification: Safety and Effectiveness Pivotal Study

Otol Neurotol. 2017 Mar;38(3):352-359. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0000000000001300.


Objective: Demonstrate safety and effectiveness of the light-driven contact hearing aid to support FDA clearance.

Study design: A single-arm, open-label investigational-device clinical trial.

Setting: Two private-practice and one hospital-based ENT clinics.

Patients: Forty-three subjects (86 ears) with mild-to-severe bilateral sensorineural hearing impairment.

Intervention: Bilateral amplification delivered via a light-driven contact hearing aid comprising a Tympanic Lens (Lens) with a customized platform to directly drive the umbo and a behind-the-ear sound processor (Processor) that encodes sound into light pulses to wirelessly deliver signal and power to the Lens.

Main outcome measures: The primary safety endpoint was a determination of "no change" (PTA4 < 10 dB) in residual unaided hearing at the 120-day measurement interval. The primary efficacy endpoint was improvement in word recognition using NU-6 at the 30-day measurement interval over the baseline unaided case. Secondary efficacy endpoints included functional gain from 2 to 10 kHz and speech-in-noise improvement over the baseline unaided case using both omnidirectional and directional microphones.

Results: The results for the 86 ears in the study determined a mean change of -0.40 dB in PTA4, indicating no change in residual hearing (p < 0.0001). There were no serious device- or procedure-related adverse events, or unanticipated adverse events. Word recognition aided with the Earlens improved significantly (p < 0.0001) over the unaided performance, by 35% rationalized arcsine units on average. Mean functional gain was 31 dB across 2 to 10 kHz. The average speech-recognition threshold improvement over the unaided case for the Hearing in Noise Test was 0.75 dB (p = 0.028) and 3.14 dB (p < 0.0001) for the omnidirectional and directional microphone modes, respectively.

Conclusion: The safety and effectiveness data supported a de novo 510(k) submission that received clearance from the FDA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Hearing / physiology*
  • Hearing Aids / adverse effects*
  • Hearing Loss, Bilateral / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Bilateral / rehabilitation*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / physiopathology
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / rehabilitation*
  • Hearing Tests
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise
  • Speech Perception
  • Treatment Outcome