Sohum in a novel, safe and non- invasive device which uses brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER or ABR) technology which is the gold standard in auditory testing and is recommended as the test of choice by the American Association of Pediatrics (US) and the National Health Services (NHS-UK). It involves measuring brain signals in response to a series of stimuli sounds over a period of time. The sensitivity and specificity is improved through our novel algorithm.
In most advanced healthcare systems, universal screening is mandatory at birth. In resource-constrained settings, such as India, hearing impairment goes undiagnosed till the child is about 4 years. By then, it is too late for the care cycle to be effective. This leads to speech loss, impaired communication skills, possible mental illness and unemployment. Sohum provides early screening, that leads to timely treatment and rehabilitation, as well as savings in healthcare expenses to the system. Presently hearing screening is done with subjective tests (questionnaire, observations) or OAE otoacoustic emission (prone to noise, high false-positive rate). Sohum uses brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER or ABR) technology innovatively with an easy-to-use interface to meet needs of the system. As of now, this is inaccessible to the underserved populations. The primary target customers in phase I are maternity homes, pediatric clinics, privately owned local and chain hospitals. In phase II, we will expand to government run programs, local entrepreneurs and vaccination camps to target non-institutional births. The Sohum network provides a closed loop of service to the screened babies and refers them to the local after-care provider (rehabilitation specialist, speech pathologist, audiologist). In addition to providing after-care, they have an incentive to deploy the device to screen as many babies as possible, so they may identify HI children. Our device is enabled to send data to a centralized server for re-confirmation. In this way, we can track impact and ensure that babies that are screened positive are ensured follow-ups and get appropriate aftercare.
Presently hearing screening is done with subjective tests (questionnaire, observations) or Oto-Acoustic-emission (prone to noise, high false-positive rate). Sohum is a non-invasive safe technology to screen neonates for hearing impairment with high sensitivity and specificity. Sohum uses brainstem auditory evoked response (BAER) technology in an innovative way with an easy-to-use interface. Innovative features of Sohum include:
1. Selective artifact rejection: Eliminates use of sedatives; enables use in noisy environments
2. Optimized design: Reduces test duration by reducing preparation & analysis time (ideal for mass screening)
3. Reusable, easy to clean electrode-system: Reduces procedural cost
4. Innovative business model: a unique service-based revenue sharing model
800,000 hearing impaired babies are born every year all over the world, of which 100,000 are in India and 90% in developing countries. Besides India, 40 low income and 53 low middle income countries, do not have an affordable solution for early screening of hearing impairment.
26 million babies are born in India every year and only 47% of these births are in institutions. Sohum reaches out to both institutional and non-institutional births, by involving the right stakeholders. The product will serve the market of 20000 pediatricians, 17000 ENT and 40000 maternity and child care institutes (private/government).