Irish medical device company, Neuromod Devices Ltd, has launched Ótologie, a specialist healthcare service for people living with tinnitus. This new service will enable tinnitus patients, in Ireland and throughout Europe, to avoid waiting lists and give them immediate access to treatment for tinnitus.

The establishment of Ótologie follows a successful pilot of a telehealth service for tinnitus patients by Neuromod and the publication of analysis by the Irish Hospital Consultants Association which found that approximately 77,000 patients were on waiting lists for public ENT services. Through engagement with consultant ENTs, Neuromod estimates up to 15,000 of these are tinnitus patients.

In 2021, Neuromod piloted a telehealth service to treat tinnitus patients in Ireland and throughout Europe. This pilot complemented Neuromod’s in-person treatment services at its clinic in Dublin, allowing patients to attend appointments and proceed with treatment at the clinic or via video call according to their preference.

Due to the success of the pilot, which allowed patients to progress to treatment within days of contacting the service and avoid waiting lists for public ENT appointments, Neuromod established Ótologie to provide quick access to tinnitus care from qualified healthcare professionals who can prescribe a range of proven treatments including Lenire, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), and hearing aids.

The service streamlines the typical healthcare journey for tinnitus patients, offering them next day appointments which they can attend online or in-clinic. Neuromod’s clinic, located at the Hermitage clinic in Dublin, has been renamed from Neuromod Medical to Ótologie in preparation for the launch of the service.

Tinnitus, a condition commonly known as ‘ringing in the ears’, affects between 10 and 15% of the global population and could affect up to 500,000 people in Ireland.

However, in a recent study more than 60% of GPs reported that they do not follow routine criteria for onward referral of tinnitus patients[ii] and expressed a need for more access to specialist resources for these patients, demonstrating the need for specialist care services for tinnitus, such as Ótologie, which people seeking treatment can contact directly or be referred to by their current physician.

Speaking on the launch of Ótologie, Dr Ross O’Neill, CEO of Neuromod Devices said: “Waiting lists for tinnitus patients are not only stressful for the patients themselves but they are also a burden on the health system. From publicly available figures and our engagement with the healthcare system we estimate that today, there are 15,000 people suffering from tinnitus on a waiting list to access specialist public ENT care.”

“Furthermore, recent research has shown that waiting times for an ENT referral can be up to four years in some parts of Ireland. This study also highlighted the distress these lengthy waiting lists put on people living with tinnitus. It also showed that GPs and ENTs alike acknowledged the need for better access to ENT or audiology services for tinnitus. With Ótologie, our vision is to tackle this significant healthcare challenge by enabling patients to get started with treatment as soon as possible from anywhere in the country or indeed Europe. Our long-term aim is to create the first globally recognised approach to tinnitus care and management.” 

Ótologie’s team of audiologists and therapists, specifically trained in treating tinnitus, have extensive experience treating patients with evidence-based treatments. Following clinical best practices, they assess each patient and recommend a personalised treatment plan from options which include the Lenire tinnitus treatment device; Tinnitus Therapy (a form of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT); or hearing aids suitable for people with tinnitus.

Ótologie’s Head of Tinnitus Care, audiologist Anita Sayers said: “Our experience, since we opened the Neuromod Medical clinic in 2019, from talking to our patients is that there is a lot of frustration in the lack of a clearly defined tinnitus patient pathway in Ireland, as well as the lack of clinically effective treatment options for people living with this condition.”

She continued: “People who live with tinnitus are looking for credible, expert advice and treatment plans to help them manage the impact that bothersome tinnitus has on their day-to-day life. With Ótologie, our goal is to build a patient centered service to provide groundbreaking and evidence-based tinnitus treatments, coupled with the empathy that patients need to feel supported at every stage of their tinnitus journey. We are really excited to be able to expand our services and tinnitus care offerings, all under the new Ótologie name.”

The launch of Ótologie follows Neuromod’s establishment of its US subsidiary, Neuromod USA Inc. To date Neuromod has raised significant venture equity and debt financing to fund ongoing expansion of the availability of Lenire in Europe and the organisation’s FDA submission process in the US.

This funding has been led by Fountain Healthcare Partners, an international life science focussed venture capital fund which invests in entrepreneurs and companies with disruptive technologies or products that have a clear pharmacoeconomic benefit.

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