Hemideina, an Australian start-up company is set to develop a first prototype, HERA, a wireless hearing implant designed to provide an alternative to traditional cochlear hearing aid implants. The technology is inspired by the New Zealand’s native Wellington tree weta, an insect species with a similar hearing range as humans. Founders Dr Kate Lomas and Dr Elizabeth Williams, developed the concept of this tiny device following PhD studies at work at CSIRO. Their concept became a reality after securing significant private and Government grants
The news comes as the co-founders of the company have secured a $4million funding to achieve it’s significant milestone of developing wireless capabilities. Co-Founder Williams says, “Not only do we capture sound differently and have the lifestyle aspects and potential to improve speech outcomes, we’re also going to be developing that power piece which will really significantly add value.” The device is now a short step away from achieving a breakthrough, and this funding will take it there.
How Hemideina Makes A Difference in Hearing Industry
Only three percent of patients who could benefit from a cochlear implant have received treatment worldwide. There is a significant unmet clinical need, both from the lifestyle and aesthetics issues of the current treatment (large, delicate external components), but also the patient outcomes—improving these will increase access to treatment through improved reimbursement and increased consumer demand.
Williams & Kate aim for the Hera Wireless Implant to be the standard of care for the treatment of moderate-to-profound deafness. Hemideina’s device uses a different signal processing method. This method enables us to divide a sound wave into its constituent frequency bands, and convert these into discreet electrical pulses using only the energy of the sound wave, and in a small footprint, enabling us to provide a sound processor that sits within the ear canal.
When Can We Expect to Use HERA?
It is still sometime until the prototype is developed. Once this landmark is successfully achieved, Hemideina will seek to list this for production and commercialisation into the Australian and International market. In Australia, Hearing Devices are currently classified as a medical device regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA). The product will go through TGA safety measures before commercialisation which can delay its market appearance.
Nonetheless, this is a significant breakthrough for the industry and a great innovative footprint for Australian researchers. Many congrats to Kate and Elizabeth for defying the odds and believing in their capability and idea to turn into reality.
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