CORDIS - EU research results

Contact Lenses for the Ear - Invisibly providing natural hearing experience for Europe's 52 million hearing-impaired people

Project description

Hearing contacts improving the quality of life of the hearing-impaired

In Europe, millions of people with hearing loss remain untreated. The main reason behind this is the visibility of hearing aid devices and the perceived social stigma attached to it. On the other hand, many of those who wear the devices are unhappy with their inability to hear naturally. The EU-funded Hearing Contacts project has developed a novel solution – the world’s first contact lenses for the ear called the Vibrosonic Hearing Contacts. Small in size, they can be placed on the eardrum, and as they stimulate the eardrum directly, the wearer can hear naturally. Ultimately, the contact prototypes will be improved so that they are ready for the market.


Vibrosonic is a young high-tech company in medical industry, based in Mannheim (Germany), with currently 11 employees. Our vision is to improve the life quality of 52mn. Europeans who self-reported to experience hearing loss. More than 45 million of them refuse to make use of hearing aids and remain untreated despite the physical, mental and social consequences. Main reason for this is the visibility of hearing aid devices and the perceived social stigmatisation. And even the vast majority of those wearing hearing aids are unsatisfied with current state-of-the-art technology. They lament that they are not able to hear naturally. This means, that they have difficulties in locating the origin of noises (as they hear noises only through the integrated speakers of current hearing aids which is particularly dangerous in traffic), identifying voices in groups of people or hearing sound distortedly. In addition, wearing comfort is low: hearing aids have to be removed regularly for charging, cleaning or while showering or sleeping, and they often cause ear pressure, itching, pressure marks and sore points. Therefore, we invented and developed the world’s first contact lens for the ear based on microsystem technology and the piezoelectric principle – the Vibrosonic Hearing Contacts. In contrast to all other hearing aids, our system is so small that it can be directly placed on the eardrum instead of outside the ear. And in contrast to all other hearing aids, our system does not use speakers to transport sound via the air column in the ear canal: the Hearing Contacts stimulate the eardrum directly by bending and contracting under the influence of electric impulses. This enables the hearing-impaired person to hear naturally like not impaired persons.
The system targets at Europe’s huge EUR 104bn. market of people with minor and modest hearing loss who are either unsatisfied with current state of the art or make not use of current hearing aids due to the shortcomings described.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 1 881 273,98

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Baden-Württemberg Karlsruhe Mannheim, Stadtkreis
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 2 687 534,25