A device for screening the hearing of newborns was developed by students and graduate students of the Faculty of Electronics of KPI named after Igor Sikorsky. Designed ear-mounted echoscope based on the Medical Acoustic mug. Young scientists worked under the supervision of the head of the Department of Acoustic and Multimedia Electronic Systems, Sergiy Nayda.
“This is an urgent problem, because for every thousand newborns there is one child with hearing impairments. If you do not use a special children’s hearing aid before 6 months of age, the child will be with malformations. If you diagnose the problem and the place of damage in time – the middle or inner ear, then you can ensure the normal development of the child”, – says Sergiy Naida.
The department together with the A.I. Kolomiychenko Institute of Otolaryngology of the Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine has been dealing with the problem of early diagnosis of hearing defects for 25 years. During this time, general patents and journals have been developed.
The first prototypes of the echoscope were difficult to manufacture and use, because they required not only the development of the analog part, but also the creation of a computer with special software. But the new model of KPI echoscope can work using a standard PC, which is in every clinic. In addition, it is easy to use the device because it looks like a phonendoscope.
The ear echoscope created at the Faculty of Electronics is absolutely safe, does not require highly qualified doctors and is cheaper than imported analogues (approximately after putting into production – 10,000 hryvnias, while the apparatus from abroad will cost ten times more). In addition, it has significantly better indicators, since it gives a quantitative diagnosis: the quality of hearing is calculated in percent and shows immediately after the procedure.
“The developed model uses a computer – already available – and an external sound card. Only the acoustic part of this device, based on a phonendoscope, is produced. The device is based on the fact that a short pulse, comfortable in volume, is supplied to the newborn’s ear. Then we fix the echo signal that passed through the entire auditory system, and then it is processed further”, – explains Sergiy Naida, the principle of operation of the echoscope.
Now the device exists in the form of an existing laboratory model. The developers plan to complete the work with the creation of an autonomous portable fully digital device that gives the doctor a clear answer whether the child has a hearing impairment or not. And to create a device in the form in which it can be offered to maternity hospitals, Medical Acoustic needs funding.
Articles about the exoscope are published in international and Ukrainian scientific journals, medical journals. In November 2019, the device was presented at an international exhibition in China. However, the ear echoscope is not the only medical development of electronics that deserves attention.
At Medical Acoustic, an acoustic thermometer for determining the deep temperature of a person’s body (used to diagnose tumors and monitor a device for warming up tissues to prevent overheating) is an ultrasonic broadband therapeutic device for physiotherapy (used to warm up tissues, thanks to the broadband mode it is safe) the method of music therapy on based on the action of complex audio signals (using specially selected music, the device controls the mental state of a person, for example, it calms).
Unfortunately, to produce completed experimental samples that may be of interest to medical institutions, often there are not enough funds.
But even despite the lack of investors, developers are working on new projects that will surely bring great benefits to both doctors and patients.