Somerset, NJ — The Oticon Foundation is helping to fund the development of “Visible Ear Simulator 1.1,” a 3D virtual tactile surgical simulator that will enable surgeons to train in soft tissue and drilling procedures in the temporal bone.

Now at the research level, the software (version 2.0) is designed to provide virtual learning scenarios that facilitate hands-on training in temporal bone surgical procedures, such as bone anchored hearing systems and cochlear implants.

The initiator of the project, Dr Mads Sølvsten Sørensen, and his team partnered with Peter Trier, a computer scientist with the Alexandra Institute, to create the software’s dataset of more than 500 high-resolution images by cryo-sectioning a fresh frozen cadaver specimen.

Prior to the development of the virtual simulation technology, surgical training in temporal bone surgery was conducted on human skull cadavers, a limited resource that also limits training opportunities.

“The Oticon Foundation recognized that development of a tactile simulator would increase opportunities for postgraduate surgeons and resident trainees to gain dexterity, experience, and knowledge of delicate soft tissue and drilling procedures, a benefit for both the physician and the patient,” said Jes Olsen, Oticon Medical general manager, in the press statement.

Future applications of the software may include customized training modules that allow surgeons to train in specialized procedures for specific products.

To facilitate training with the prototype software, Xiaowen Huang, MD, ENT-HNS, Department of ENTHNS, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, has translated a Chinese-language version of the software prototype for use by surgeons in China.

Utilizing the new translated Chinese version, the Oticon Foundation has donated funds to the Tongji Hospital for the prototype software and a tactical simulator.

For more information and to obtain a free download of the simulator software, ENTs can visit the Visible Ear Simulator Homepage at

O. (l-r), Dr Xiaowen Huang, Dr. Mads Sølvsten Sørensen, and Jes Olsen.

SOURCE: Oticon Medical