Richard K. Gurgel, MD, assistant professor in the division of otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at the University of Utah Health Care in Salt Lake City, co-authored a recent study of the SoundBite (Laryngoscope. 2013;123:2807-2812). The study, which was funded by Sonitus Medical, followed 34 patients for six months and used validated self-assessment tests to measure patient satisfaction with the device. Results from the Abbreviated Profile of Hearing Aid Benefit patient questionnaire were particularly impressive, said Dr. Gurgel, who had no other funding or financial relationships with Sonitus Medical to disclose. “Each of the major subscores we looked at—ease of communication, background noise, reverberation, and global benefit—improved significantly when we compared them to baseline scores,” he said.
A related patient self-assessment test also yielded very favorable results. Longer-term follow-up data will be presented at the American Otological Society Annual Meeting this spring.
Dr. Gurgel did note some potential limitations, including the difficulty of eating with the device in place. But, he said most patients adapt either by getting used to the sensation or removing the device prior to eating, much like a dental retainer. Additionally, 12 patients reported acoustic feedback, “similar to when a hearing aid whistles,” he said. “But about half of those patients’ feedback resolved when we adjusted the device.”