Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), Sydney, Australia—reportedly the world leader in implantable hearing solutions—announced it has entered into an exclusive licensing and development agreement with Otoconsult NV, Antwerp, Belgium, for its artificial intelligence fitting assistant Fitting to Outcomes eXpert (FOX). This technology is expected to enable a faster and more consistent fitting of cochlear implants to deliver the best possible patient outcomes. This investment will strengthen Cochlear’s portfolio of tools and services to be offered to clinical partners to improve patient care.
Unlike other fitting methods, FOX uses speech perception and other patient outcome tests as an input to its fitting optimization algorithm, in order to maximize outcomes for patients, said Cochlear. Outcomes testing is conducted using the Auditory Speech Sounds Evaluation (ASSE) test suite, also developed by Otoconsult, which can be directly linked from the clinician’s computer to the Cochlear speech processors using a proprietary link.
FOX then provides the additional opportunity to analyze the patient’s test results and previous MAPs against other anonymized MAPs to provide its recommendation of the best possible MAP for that patient. Working in this way expedites the cochlear implant fitting process to take the measured results even closer to an ideal hearing target, according to Cochlear.
FOX is reportedly the only artificial intelligence fitting assistant using anonymized outcomes data and the results of other MAPs stored in its proprietary database. FOX will continually improve its predictive ability as each new MAP is created and performance data is added to its database.
“FOX’s artificial intelligence assistant will provide clinicians—no matter where they are in the world—a platform to speed up the cochlear implant fitting process while also helping them achieve the best possible patient outcome,” said Cochlear CEO and President, Chris Smith. “Partnering with Otoconsult, we hope to strengthen our technology offering to clinical care professionals, giving them greater consistency of outcomes with this cutting-edge solution.”
“The FOX technology will change how we program cochlear implants,” said William H. Shapiro, AuD, CCC-A, clinical associate professor in otolaryngology and supervising audiologist, NYU Cochlear Implant Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York, NY. “The audiologist can perform a set of simple, yet critical tasks, where the patient is an active participant, to provide the evidence for target-based fitting much like hearing aid verifications today. Additionally, it allows the clinician to take the patient out of the audiometric booth providing a better patient experience.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Cochlear will license FOX and a proprietary link to the ASSE performance testing suite exclusively over a five-year period. During that time the services of Otoconsult and its founder, Paul Govaerts, will be retained to further develop and enhance the application with Cochlear technologies.