Did you know that hearing aids were one of the first products to use 3D printing for mass production? 3D printing can really enable customers to get custom fitted hearing aids for themselves that are comfortable to wear. However, one prominent issue with hearing aids is that prolonged use can cause ear infections, which ultimately may lead to more serious conditions.
In order to alleviate ear infections from prolonged use of in ear hearing aids, researchers at the University College London have found a method to include antibiotics in the hearing aid itself that can be released into the ears over a two week period. The antibiotics are directly mixed in with the resins (the main material) that are then used to print the hearing aids. The release of antibiotics for two weeks stopped the formation of biofilm that causes bacterial growth in the ear. These hearing aids are also robust and non-toxic.
More details will be shared in the research paper “Anti-biofilm multi drug-loaded 3D printed hearing aids” that will be published in February 2021.