CMU is home to Michigan’s only Otoscan 3D ear scanner

Advanced medical technology provides students hands-on experience

Central Michigan University audiology doctoral student Karli Didion gently places the Natus Otoscan sensor in a patient's ear canal as a 3D image begins to appear on the computer screen.

CMU's Otoscan, a 3D ear scanner, is the only one of its kind in Michigan.

"Many audiologists are still creating ear impressions with a silicone material, which can create an uncomfortable experience for the patient," Didion, a native of Greenville, Michigan, said. "Having an opportunity to learn and use this device as part of my studies puts me at the forefront of the latest technology and, at the same time, provides more comfortable care for patients."

The Otoscan is used to create custom in-ear pieces for patients, including hearing aids, earmolds, swim plugs and musicians monitors. CMU purchased the device and began using it during the spring semester of 2019.

The advanced technology of the Otoscan device sets the university's audiology program apart in the state.

Nicole Ferguson, interim director of the Carls Center for Clinical Care and Education and director of clinical education and services in audiology at The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow College of Health Professions, said the device allows CMU to train students on traditional ways of assisting patients, while also teaching them cutting-edge technology.

"Graduates of our program are well known for being quality clinicians," she said.

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