T1 - The importance of auricular prostheses for speech recognition

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Modern Computer Aided Design (CAD), patient scanning and 3D printing technology are poised to transform the way in which prosthesis devices are developed and realised, replacing more traditional, manual approaches [4–6]. Medical imaging data can now feasibly be used to construct patient representative models and could potentially supersede impression/cast based approaches when attempting to reconstruct a defective or uncompromised area of anatomy. The use of medical imaging data offers several advantages both in terms of resolution of topography reproduction, in addition to being minimally invasive to the patient, part of routine clinical practise, while also capturing useful information of the wider patient anatomy for model construction and virtual placement analysis [7,8]. Modern digital CAD software offers multiple advantages to the traditional design process as no model fabricating is required and designs are digitally evaluated and stored, reducing costs and readily allowing for future reproduction. Additionally, digital reproduction of surrounding anatomy can allow for virtual placement and aesthetic evaluation without the necessity for the patient to be present. Finally, 3D printing is the ideal technology for translation of digital models to working devices, owing to the high precision of modern devices and the diverse possibility of materials combination that could be employed during fabrication. Indeed, polyjet multi-material printing technology allows for not only near perfect digital reproduction, but can realise complex colour combinations, mimicking skin pigmentation, in addition to adjustable mechanical properties, to realise the tactile feel of human tissue.

A summary of the process chain for the production of the ear prosthesis.

AB - Objectives: To examine the effects of an auricular prosthesis on sound levels at the entrance of the ear canal by measuring the auricular prosthesis transfer function (APTF) and to determine the effect of the prosthesis on speech recognition in noisy hearing conditions. Methods: Eight prostheses were used to measure the APTF. A microphone at the entrance of the ear canal measured sound pressure levels with the prosthesis present or absent while the head was rotated 360° at 30° increments. The Hearing in Noise Test was modified by the APTF to simulate the absence of an auricular prosthesis. Speech recognition was measured by testing 11 subjects with the unmodified Hearing in Noise Test and the modified Hearing in Noise Test. Results: The APTF changed with the head's position relative to the speaker. The mean (SD) maximal gain provided by an auricular prosthesis was 8.1 (2.7) dB at 4.6 (1.0) kHz and 9.7 (1.7) dB at 11.5 (0.9) kHz at 0° rotation. During speech testing, the auricular prosthesis improved the mean (SD) signal to noise ratio by 1.7 (1.7) dB at 0° (P

Prosthetic Ear | Auricular (Ear) Prosthesis

Eggbeer , Bibb , Evans , Year: 2006, Assessment of digital technologies in the design of a magnetic retained auricular prosthesis,

Jani , Schaaf , Year: 1978, An evaluation of facial prostheses, The Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, Volume: 39, Page: 546-550. DOI: 1978/05/01

This study has demonstrated the potential of the 3D design and multi segment/material printing, alongside the use of medical imaging data, to produce realistic prosthetic models of the ear. The fabricated prosthesis were realised to a high degree of accuracy and surface finish, and could easily be applied to realise alternative prosthetic parts, such as the nose or orbital prosthesis. Using the multi-material printing approach we could tailor the skin pigmentation of the prosthesis to a variety of skin tones, whilst also mimicking the mechanical properties of the original anatomy. Beyond the use of a material combination, we discovered that additional colour complexity can be created by segmentation of a digital model and the assigning of unique material combination to each segment. By creating darker variations of a base colour for the prosthesis, realism such as the depth of colour perceived in shaded regions can be realised, further increasing the realism of the designed models. Currently there are limitations in the complexity of the skin tones that can be mimicked without compromising the mechanical properties, due to the percentage material combinations, but we believe as the technology matures over the coming years, these limitations will be resolved. It was found that direct prosthesis production overcomes limitations relating to the subjective nature of current prosthesis fabrication, and allows for production within a single day, which compares favourably against traditional techniques where prosthesis turnaround time takes several weeks/months. Ultimately, this technique holds considerable potential for implementation within a clinical setting, streamlining to overall process for prosthesis production and could see usefulness in other niche areas such as anatomical modelling and soft robotics.

An auricular prosthesis is a relatively simpler option

The staff at the International Prosthetic Eye Center has a combined clinical experience of over 10 years.

Implant Retention
Surgically placed bone anchored implants create a permanent means to attach an individual prosthesis. An appropriate implant retention system is chosen and designed. Options include a bar-clip attachment or magnetic attachment of ear prostheses. Many factors are important to consider: bone and soft tissue quality, age and lifestyle. With you as a part of our team, we work with highly skilled surgical and prosthodontic specialists to develop a custom prosthetic restoration that is uniquely suited to you.

N2 - Objectives: To examine the effects of an auricular prosthesis on sound levels at the entrance of the ear canal by measuring the auricular prosthesis transfer function (APTF) and to determine the effect of the prosthesis on speech recognition in noisy hearing conditions. Methods: Eight prostheses were used to measure the APTF. A microphone at the entrance of the ear canal measured sound pressure levels with the prosthesis present or absent while the head was rotated 360° at 30° increments. The Hearing in Noise Test was modified by the APTF to simulate the absence of an auricular prosthesis. Speech recognition was measured by testing 11 subjects with the unmodified Hearing in Noise Test and the modified Hearing in Noise Test. Results: The APTF changed with the head's position relative to the speaker. The mean (SD) maximal gain provided by an auricular prosthesis was 8.1 (2.7) dB at 4.6 (1.0) kHz and 9.7 (1.7) dB at 11.5 (0.9) kHz at 0° rotation. During speech testing, the auricular prosthesis improved the mean (SD) signal to noise ratio by 1.7 (1.7) dB at 0° (P

The importance of auricular prostheses for speech recognition
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    After fabrication of the implant-retained auricular prosthesis, the patient was monitored for 12 months.

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    Auricular (Ear) Prosthetics

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Craniofacial Implant-Retained Auricular Prosthesis: A …

Ozturk , Usumez , Tosun , Year: 2010, Implant-Retained Auricular Prosthesis: A Case Report, European Journal of Dentistry, Volume: 4, Page: 71-74.

Prosthetic Ear General Information | Ear Community

Subburaj , Nair , Rajesh , Meshram , Ravi , Year: 10//2007, Rapid development of auricular prosthesis using CAD and rapid prototyping technologies, International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Volume: 36, Page: 938-943. DOI:

Prosthetic Ear General Information

Following the creation of the final digital prosthesis, the model was segmented into subsections based on the height of the ear, resulting in the ear being partitioned into six primary segments, over four layers of the model (Figure 3a). Each of these layers were allocated with individual material assignment, with varying percentage content of VeroMagenta and Tango Plus, leading to a deepening of the colour during the transition from layer 1 to 3. Additionally, a fourth layer was implemented to balance the colour tones in layers 2 and 3. A complete breakdown of the spatial orientation of the segments can be seen in Figure 3a). Preliminary findings reveal the potential of this approach to increase the colour complexity of the prosthesis, thereby increasing the potential mimicry of human skin pigmentation. We hope to develop on these findings in future work.

Implant-retained auricular prosthesis

a) i) Front and side profiles of the segmented ear model, highlighting the orientation of the sub section in the overall model and ii) an exploded view of the separate section of the prosthesis and how they are orientated over four sublayers of the model. b) A 3D print of the final prosthesis.

Enhance Your Appearance with a Silicone Prosthetic Ear

The tango plus material used in this study was a translucent variant, which on its own provided the softest tactile feel but was not a suitable colour for a prosthesis. It was found that a minimum of 10% Vero material was required to provide any visually noticeable pigmentation into a given prosthesis. Ultimately it was found there was significant scope to adjust the pigmentation of the models to encompass, lighter and darker skin tones and we hope to investigate further material combinations in future work. In addition to pigmentation mimicry, the tactile feel of a typical prosthesis was also reproduced, whereby the printed prosthesis could be elastically deformed. Figure 2c) shows a demonstration of the elastic deformation of an ear model, whereby upon relation of the compressive force, the ear would spring back to its original shape. It is noted that as the percentage blend of the VeroMagenta with the Tango plus increased beyond the threshold of 50-60% Vero material, this significantly flexibility of the printed prosthesis. We hope to more closely examine and quantify the mechanical properties in future studies.

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