The invention of OtoSet® is really the story of two brothers solving a very personal need.
OtoSet® co-founder and CEO Sahil Diwan grew up watching his brother, Aadil, reluctantly head to his primary care physician every two to three months to get his left ear syringed out.
The problem? Excessive ear wax buildup. Not only was the wax a nuisance to his brother, but it had the potential to become dangerous and damaging if the excessive earwax became impacted. There were mornings when Aadil would wake up unable to hear well because of the profuse amount of wax buildup in his left ear. But in this issue, Aadil was not alone…
According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology, one in 10 children, one in 20 adults, and one in three people over the age of 65 are affected by impacted earwax, and impacted earwax is the leading cause of conductive hearing loss and other symptoms like pain, infection, vertigo and tinnitus. Recent research has also indicated a correlation between ear wax buildup and cognitive decline. Problems stemming from ear wax buildup translates to roughly 35 million people in the United States and about 700 million people around the world. In other words, it is a substantial, global problem.
Fast forward several years when Aadil was entering his final year of university. He studied biomedical engineering and was still experiencing issues with ear wax build up. He dreamed up the idea of an easier solution to treating the buildup – imagining a pair of headphones that would use irrigation and suction to quickly, efficiently, and safely clean out people’s ears.
Years of experience and observation taught Aadil that there was not really anything readily available to quickly, cleanly, and safely clean out patients’ excessive ear wax build-up. Oftentimes, ear wax removal procedures are messy and distasteful, involving syringing, micro-suctioning, or even the use of a curette to dig out the wax buildup.
While most often performed in a primary care setting, ear wax impactions are also treated by audiologists, long-term care facility workers, urgent cares, retail clinics, and, of course, high-cost ENTs. Additionally, ear wax buildup may not always be considered a “top priority” by health care providers and can go mistreated or even untreated, depending on health care providers’ availabilities and schedules. Furthermore, over-the-counter earwax treatment options can include hard-to-administer sprays, syringes, and even gimmicky ear wax “vacuums.” Overall, the solutions to treating ear wax buildup lacked innovation, and Aadil was ready to innovate!
Aadil pitched his idea of the ear cleaning headphones to his brother, Sahil, who, at the time, was a software engineer in Los Angeles. Sahil would travel to Arizona, and sleep in a closet in Aadil’s college apartment as they, along with their early engineering team, would work on the concept and original 3D-printed prototypes of OtoSet®.
Soon, the two brothers began working alongside primary care physicians and ENTs on the development and functionality of OtoSet® – an automatic ear cleaning device that would remove even severe earwax impactions in less than five minutes.
In 2020, OtoSet® became the first automated and FDA-cleared ear cleaning device for clinical use. The apparatus is:
- quick – reducing procedure time from an average of 25 minutes to less than five minutes
- safe – ear tips safely direct liquid flow towards the walls of the ear canals
- effective – clinically proven to remove mild to severe earwax impactions
- mess free – suction collects all earwax and liquid into the waste containers
So, while the idea of OtoSet® is the story of two brothers and too much ear wax, the invention and subsequent implementation of OtoSet® in healthcare provider’s offices around the world will become the story of how millions of people can now access simple and quick relief to a vexatious problem whose solution was very much overdue.