Karl Strom

Although most hearing industry conventions are usually dominated by news of a new hearing aid, the big talk of the American Academy of Audiology’s AudiologyNOW! in Boston was the introduction of 3D digital ear scanners. The idea that one day a dispensing professional will be able to place a wand or device in a patient’s ear, press a button, and get a 3D virtual impression of the ear canal has been a dispenser’s sci-fi dream for decades. But in Boston, three companies—Lantos Technologies, 3DM Systems Inc, and 3Shape—were demonstrating variations of the long-awaited solution to what may be our field’s most-derided task: impression-taking.

All three companies appear to offer promising technologies and different approaches. This edition of HRP offers the first look at the Lantos system (page 8) from the company’s senior vice president Shahid Azim. In the April digital edition of HR, we included an article about the Starkey Innovations Expo that contained a brief video of Dennis Van Vliet, PhD, and Lantos co-founder Federico Frigerio demonstrating this system (youtu.be/l7Mc5E7AoOc). Assuming it performs as advertised, this should be a very useful technology—saving time, money, and patient comfort, and reducing hassles for dispensers. But make no mistake: this is not a one-company technology race. The system demonstrated by long-time industry expert Michael Andreozzi and 3DM Systems—as well as their unique software and business plan— holds great promise as well. Although a little further down the road relative to becoming commercially available, 3Shape President and CEO Flemming Thorup showed AAA attendees how his system quickly scans 3D images with its “wand.” Stay tuned to HR and HRP as we bring you more about these exciting new technologies.