Cochlear implants have revolutionized the treatment of hearing loss, but more than 50 percent of implant recipients experience additional hearing deterioration after initial hearing preservation surgery.

Implants cannot be repositioned  to account  for the additional hearing loss, which negatively impacts patients’ quality of life by limiting the quality and range of sounds they can hear, whether it’s music or the sound of a child’s voice.

An accessory created by iotaMotion, a company co-founded by University of Iowa otolaryngologist Marlan Hansen and otolaryngology resident Chris Kaufmann with the help of UI Ventures, seeks to solve this problem by remotely moving the cochlear implant where it needs to be when it needs to be there in order to improve hearing quality.   

The technology is in the early stage of development, but the company has conducted initial proof-of-concept testing and has patents pending.

iotaMotion recently won first place at the Iowa Connect Medical Technology Symposium’s pitch competition for a $2,000 prize. The competition featured six regional teams giving 5 minute company pitches and was judged by Manny Villafana, founder of St. Jude’s Medical, Christine Horton, former CEO of CoreSpine Technologies, and Mark Weisheipl of River Glen Capital.

In addition, iotaMotion won the Rising Star award at the Early Stage Symposium in Madison, Wis., coming in second place among 17 entries in the elevator pitch competition.  The elevator pitches were evaluated by investors and business professionals from across the country.

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States with severe hearing loss are candidates for cochlear implant. A major concern of patients is the loss of good, residual hearing.

“Our mission is to improve the quality of life for those suffering from disabling hearing loss and personalize the cochlear implant treatment process to allow more people the option of receiving a cochlear implant,” Kaufmann said.

More about iotaMotion at http://www.iotamotion.com/home.html.

UI Ventures is a part of the Office of Research and Economic Development. The UI Ventures program assists university inventors in creating new ventures based on their research. UI Ventures provides education and mentoring to advance entrepreneurs and emerging growth companies by linking them with the capital, talent and other critical resources they need for success. More at http://uiventures.uiowa.edu/.

The Office of Research and Economic Development provides resources and support to researchers and scholars at the University of Iowa and to businesses across Iowa with the goal of forging new frontiers of discovery and innovation and promoting a culture of creativity that benefits the campus, the state, and the world. More at http://research.uiowa.edu, and on Twitter: @DaretoDiscover.