The idea for this blog came from one of our contacts, who was a product manager for one of the world’s few premier hearing aid manufacturers.
After learning all about Rize’s unique 3D printing technology, he made a pretty bold statement. He told us that Rize could very well revolutionize the customized hearing aid market.
You see, while today’s customized hearing aids are 3D printed, existing 3D printers can only produce thoroughly rigid hearing aid shells. This is a big problem for hearing aid customers. When they talk or chew, their jaw moves and so too do the internal structures of their ears. A completely rigid hearing aid can’t move with and adjust to its wearer’s movements. As a result, the hearing aid is not only uncomfortable, it emits noise, which can be highly disturbing and can even result in people choosing to do without their hearing aids altogether.
With Rize’s patented APD (Augmented Polymer Deposition) technology, we can achieve variable hardness by simultaneously extruding safe, medical-grade thermoplastic and jetting special inks that change the material properties at the voxel (3D pixel) level, producing customized hearing aid shells that are soft and hard in the precise and necessary locations that enable their wearers to talk, eat, laugh and more without discomfort or disturbing noise.
“Poor fit and discomfort of customized hearing aids are the major pain points for hearing aid wearers today,” said Sergei Azernikov, Former Research Scientist, Technical Lead, SIEMENS Corporate Research, Inc. “Rize’s ability to 3D print hearing aid shells with variable hardness would drastically improve the customer experience and revolutionize the hearing aid industry. It’s an enormous opportunity for Rize representing hundreds of millions of dollars because no other 3D printer today can do this.”