Dr. Jackie Phillips joins us to talk about the leading cause of conductive hearing loss - impacted earwax! Dr. Phillip has over 20 years of clinical and leadership experience in the field of audiology. In 2021, she joined SafKan Health as their Vice President of Sales.
From a young age, OtoSet's co-founder and chief technology officer has regularly had to visit his physician for ear syringing to fight excessive earwax buildup. After becoming a biomedical engineer, he invented OtoSet® to solve his own problem. As OtoSet's team of otolaryngologists and engineers began researching and developing OtoSet®, they learned the true scale of this problem and how frustrating today’s earwax removal procedure is for both patients and healthcare professionals.
More than 35 million Americans are affected by impacted earwax, which is the leading cause of conductive hearing loss. Other symptoms can include pain, vertigo, tinnitus, itching, and coughing. Additionally, approximately 60-70% of all damaged hearing aids sent in for repair are simply clogged with earwax or degraded by organic materials. The earwax removal procedure is very common but has seen little innovation over the last 200 years. This has left healthcare professionals with time-consuming, messy, and antiquated options to provide relief to their patients — until now. OtoSet® is the first automated and FDA-cleared ear cleaning device for clinical use, which is available to healthcare professionals now.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (00:06):
You're tuned in to the Hearing Matters Podcast, the show that discusses hearing technology, best practices, and a growing national epidemic: Hearing Loss. Before we kick this episode off, a special thank you to our partners: Weave - the All-in-One patient communication and engagement platform. Redux - Faster. Drier. Smarter. Verified. Fader Plugs - the world's first custom adjustable earplug. Welcome back to another Hearing Matters Podcast. This episode we are going to talk all about cerumen management, cerumen removal, more commonly known as removing earwax! All that gunky stuff in your ear. And who better to talk about this topic than Doctor Jackie Phillips from SafKan Health. Dr. Phillips, thank you so much for joining us on the Hearing Matters podcast today.
Dr. Jackie Phillips (01:06):
No, thank you. It's a pleasure and I'm very excited to be here and so thanks for having me.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (01:10):
Absolutely. You know, I remember the first time that we actually met virtually was I think during the pandemic or a little bit after the, uh, pandemic to talk about SafKan Health and really, uh, about OtoSet in and of itself. But before we get into the really fun stuff of removing earwax in the office in like five minutes, can you share with us your journey, why you wanted to become an audiologist, and how you were even introduced to audiology in and of itself?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (01:44):
Yeah, it's actually, I don't, unfortunately I don't have a great story in regards to having a, a, a relative that maybe had hearing loss. So, I didn't have that. But what I did have is where I went to undergraduate, I was actually majoring in speech pathology, which is a typical path for an audiologist. So, I was in a speech path. I, fortunately, well, the school I went to that only had a master's for speech path, not for audiology, but they did have one lone audiologist on staff who had a private practice in our, the town I was in. And he also had a contract with the forestry service. And so he asked the, uh, students for any volunteers to help test, help him test the, uh, employees from the Forestry service. And so I thought, man, that sounds interesting. I liked his class. I thought it was, I really enjoyed the Audi, I enjoyed my Audi intro to audiology.
And I thought, you know, I'm gonna dive a little bit deeper and I'll go and sit in and do that. So, some of us started doing the volunteer work and I started really enjoying it so much more than my speech path when I would go out and do, um, you know, working with kids on learning how to say "R," I was like, oh, I really enjoy actually doing the hearing test and working in counseling with the forestry workers. And so I graduated and then you had to go, you know, one direction or you had to go either, uh, master's in speech path or audiology at the time, cause we didn't have AuD then. And so I really fell in love with audiology and went the, the path of audiology and went to grad school, and then later went back and got my AuD when the AuD came out in 2000, early two thousands. So, you know, I don't have that great story, but I have the, I have the traditional story of the speech path enrolled into audiology and I have never looked back since. It's been a phenomenal experience helping people here. And I was in clinic for almost seven years. And just the relationships I've built, built with my patients, I worked for all with all ages pediatric to geriatric, and I just, I just fell in love with the, the profession. So it's, it's really been my passion the past 24 years.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (03:45):
And there's always that defining moment, right? When you're in grad school. It's like, do I go for speech path? Do I go for audiology? For everyone, it's like that defining moment. And thank you so much for all that you've done and continue to do for the field of audiology. Of course, you are a veteran in the industry. You continue to really push the boundaries of hearing healthcare. We follow you on LinkedIn and all the amazing stuff that you and OtoSet have been doing. And you are currently the Vice President of Sales at SafKan Health. And your team has a very interesting, very cool, groundbreaking technology to help clinicians in the office. Tell us more about OtoSet.
Dr. Jackie Phillips (04:33):
Yeah, absolutely. I actually, um, was contacted through LinkedIn about the job. So, I didn't know about the company. I hadn't heard of it before, but I had this really amazing recruiter reach out through LinkedIn and tell me, I got this really cool job, I think you'd be perfect for it. And I said, well, tell me more. What do you, what is it? And she says, well, it's a, a headset that cleans earwax out of ears. And as an audiologist, I was like, okay. I mean, you know, earwax, I mean, it's not that the most exciting thing to talk about. And so I said, I don't know. And she goes, no, no, you've got to talk to the co-owners. You've gotta hear their story. So, I did and I started doing research. I mean, cuz I, I was in clinic, but it's been a few years.
And so I kind of forgot how much wa ear wax was such a cumbersome problem for patients. And so I started doing the research, looking at the numbers, but then I also listened to the co-owners about the story. And, you know, all great inventions I think really come out from the inventor's frustrations where there's maybe something that's not out there yet and he, they wants, wants something to fix their problem. So, my co-founder, our CTO around age 11, woke up one day, couldn't hear out of his left ear. So, he and his mother kind of panicked like, what's going on with my left ear? She takes him to the primary care, they say, you know what, it's just ear wax. Let's clean it out, let's flush it out. And so they were relieved, but every few months, he was going to either primary care or ENT to have the procedure either suction or, or irrigated.
So, it was never a pleasant experience. So, fast forward, he goes to college becomes a biomedical engineer, and the very first thing, and even his senior year in college is when he actually drew out his plans for the OtoSet. And his thought process was, I remember as a patient being intimidated with a big syringe coming to my head and having to hold a water basin. And he says, as a child, that's very scary. So, he wanted something that was not gonna be intimidating. And he said, everybody's used to a headset that's not intimidating to a patient, especially a child or a clinician. So, he actually designed a headset that it fits comfortably on the patient, but also a thing he didn't like is the mess that he would get from irrigation. And so he said, why don't we have something that's all self-contained? Uh, the mess, the water and the debris goes into a waste container on a headset.
And he said it something that's automated. I want something that's gonna be a press of a button and it does all the work for the clinician mm-hmm. <affirmative>. And so therefore out of his senior year of college, he draws and designs the OtoSet. And that's kind of how the story began with the OtoSet. And I was so inspired by their passion to really be help, helping more people. Because right now the procedure is mostly in the ENT or primary care. We do have Audi or health healthcare professionals using, or doing cerumen management. But, but he felt like, you know, we could do more. I want to get more patients in because, you know, 35 million people in the US suffer from impaction and, and 20 million uh, procedures are performed by a professional every year.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (07:44):
So, well, you know, this, this really reminds me. So, this year World Hearing Day was Friday, March 3rd. And we talk about, well really the WHO's message was that 60% of all ear and hearing care problems can be addressed at that primary level of care. And oftentimes it is cerumen, and I don't wanna say it's "just cerumen," but because impacted cerumen can cause a decrease in hearing and a lot of individuals, it's a very scary moment. If you have that impacted cerumen, you wake up, you can't hear that is very, very scary, for lack of a better term. So, the OtoSet absolutely plays such an essential role, not only in the hearing healthcare model, but also that primary level of care, especially in countries that may not be as developed in terms of a healthcare system as the United States. Being a former private practice owner and practicing clinicians, we've experienced - you do video otoscopy, which I loved always doing video otoscopy for our patients.
But, oftentimes there would be that patient who presents with a lot of ear wax and without an OtoSet, you're either removing that manually, or if it is impacted, you're sending the patient to the ENT and then they have to go to the ENT, drive there, and then come back. But with OtoSet, if you as a hearing healthcare provider have this in your office, you're saving yourself time, you're saving the patient time, it's oftentimes safer than using the curet. So, for all of us in the hearing space, you know, we really do understand how important cerumen management is, and a hearing exam is only accurate if the ears are not occluded with wax. So, what has been your experience, Dr. Phillips, in terms of communicating with providers and their experience with OtoSet, what has the feedback been not only from the providers but from the patients? Cause it absolutely has to help overall patient care.
Dr. Jackie Phillips (09:46):
Yeah, absolutely. And I didn't even mention too, something that really stands out that, talk about safety, is we are the only FDA cleared wax removal device on the market. So, we went through the extra mile to actually get that clearance, that 510K clearance to say that this is a safe product. With the OtoSet, you're able to actually put this on the patient and it's consistently going into the ear at the same direction to the ear canal walls never directly into the ear canal. Hmm. And the pressure is always consistent in a thirty-second cycle. So, I think that's very important. And I think that's why patients, we have patients contacting our company to ask where they can get this procedure performed because they've had a bad experience somewhere else. Mm-hmm. And they want something that's FDA cleared, that's really important to them.
That means it's safe to them, and that it's consistent because they haven't had that throughout their experience. And, like my co-founder, he had many different experiences that sometimes he would have bleeding in his ear if they did micro section. So, patient satisfactory in our clinical trials, because to get FDA cleared, we went through many clinical trials to prove that it is safe. We had overall 92%, uh, patient satisfactory versus what they've used in the past. Wow. And there's so many methods, not just irrigation and micro suction, but if a patient is at home alone, they can Google and there's things on Amazon, there's things at the, the pharmacy that they can use on their own that is, is not really considered a safe alternative, uh, versus professional treatment with irrigation and micro section,
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (11:17):
When we talk about safety, it's, it's a safer procedure, but also the patients, they have to enjoy that a lot more than, than that invasive procedure of maybe micro section or using a curet. Yeah.
Dr. Jackie Phillips (11:29):
We get two comments and it's very consistent. It's either they come out saying it's a spa-like treatment Mm. Or it's a car wash. <laugh>, I love it. I personally, I am not a person that loves water in my ears. So, to me it's a car wash. But my mother who's in her seventies says to me, when I have performed it on her, is it crazy that I actually like how this feels? And so we have several people come back and say, I really actually, actually enjoy the way it feels. So, it's either or, but it is a medical procedure and it only lasts for 30 seconds. So, you know, you're not doing it for 30 minutes constantly.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (12:03):
Well, I am a huge fan of this product. Again, when I was practicing full-time, there would be those patients who would come in with impacted cerumen and you'll either refer them out if you can't take that wax out in the office. And really excited to get our hands on a pair of the OtoSet. And, what is so awesome, Jackie, is that we saw a few of our colleagues recently on Facebook posting that they just were trained on using the OtoSet. So, bring us through that process. When you talk about the experience and the feedback from the hearing care providers, what has that been like? And then what is the onboarding like with this product? Because it doesn't look like you're just sending this to the office and saying, good luck, have fun with your OtoSet. That's definitely not - you're implementing best practice.
Dr. Jackie Phillips (12:53):
Absolutely. And that's very important. So, we, at our company, what I love about our company is we don't just train on the product, but we train on the procedure as well. Because guess what, a lot of people may have not had any training or any intro- really much, uh, intro into, cerumen management through uni, their university training, maybe some or some not. And then also once they get out, they may not have the proper tools to actually have the, to perform the procedure and they refer out typically. So, we see an opportunity to come into our providers and help them get to a level where they feel very confident and comfortable performing cerumen management for their patient because they're patient, like you said earlier, they come in, if it's impacted, they typically have to be referred out to an ENT. And guess what? That's about,
what I'm hearing, is six to eight week wait to get in to get their ears cleaned by an ENT. Hmm. And maybe their, their, their child or adult child had to take off from work. So, we're saving them time and convenience by being able to get the clinician to perform in their office. But clinicians also appreciate the onboarding process that we put 'em through. It's not a plug and play, it is a medical procedure, but it's something that is easy if you take the, the onboarding, you know, go through the onboarding process as we have laid it out and we recommend, um, basically they get it. And then we have a full team of trainers that will actually walk them through the whole process. So, we, we have actually made a learning module software that they go through, management software that they train on, and then we also have the capability of doing, you know, a virtual training and walking them through any questions they may have.
So, it's a very extensive, uh, education on the product, but also the procedure because not just the headset is important, but softening the earwax is very important. So, pre-treatment, uh, then the procedure, and then post-treatment. Something that's important that some people don't th uh, you know, have not thought of is after you run irrigation on a patient, you need to make sure that ear is completely dry. Okay. Cuz you're gonna take 'em to the, the, the booth for a hearing test. We don't want that, any water. You take, put something in, you wanna make sure you take it back out. So, we also talk about post-treatment and drying the ears. So, we kind of say it's a three-step process: pre, the OtoSet, and then post-treatment,
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (15:14):
The OtoSet is going to continue to revolutionize the hearing healthcare industry in so many ways because you are saving time, not only saving the patient time if you needed to refer them out, but also the hearing care provider time as well. And curious to know, because some hearing care providers tuned in right now might be wondering, you know, okay, so if I'm trained on the OtoSet, well can I bill for this? How can I as a hearing care provider bill for the OtoSet? Is this billable or have you had some providers who create some sort of subscription model? Or, are they just implementing this tool as a value add in their office? I'm, I'm so curious to know.
Dr. Jackie Phillips (15:58):
It. It's all the above. There - It's a, it's definitely a value add for the patient and the, and the clinician. It's funny you mentioned the subscription or the membership model. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So, I listened last week to your Redux, uh, talk and Mark talked about a subscription model for their product. It's the same as ours. It fits very well into the model of having a subscription slash membership for your patients. We have several customers right now that I'm working with that are telling me, they're giving me feedback in numbers. And patients are not blinking an eye when they have presented a care package or a care subscription and it's $20 a month or whatever they, they, the clinician decides, but they, they pack in a lot of value. And we're one of those value add services in the membership. And that, that means that more and more people are gonna be able to get their ears cleaned and have this problem corrected than before because it gives 'em an easy way.
You know, having a subscription and being an unlimited cl - ear cleaning every month or however often you need to go is very appealing to people versus, oh, it's this, you know, I can only go once a year or I can only afford once a year. So, there's a subscription model. But also, if they don't wanna do subscription model, then they can do the self-pay. And it ranges, there's a wide range depending on the, on the clinician's market, but it is self-pay. And they do add this on to the patient's, you know, if they get hearing aids then it's a, it's a separated fee because it's a, it is their time. You know, the clinicians say it's, it's my time and you know, you know, they need to factor all that in. So, I would say self-pay is very, patients don't blink because earlier we mentioned convenience, they wanna come in, a patient wants to come in and get everything performed there at the one location instead of going from one healthcare provider to another healthcare provider. And that's the convenience of this device and the self, uh, value add.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (17:50):
I am a huge fan of the subscription membership model and really to dovetail off everything you just said there is really that peace of mind, because then patients can say, well I'm already paying a monthly fee for this so I can go every quarter for my ear cleaning. And I think too, getting a baseline of, well how often does my ear really accumulate a lot of wax? And then as the hearing healthcare provider, this also then continues to position them, the audiologist and hearing instrument specialist as a thought leader in their field, and an early adopter of groundbreaking technology like the OtoSet in and of itself. So, with the procedure as well, we're on video right now. Jackie, can you show us what the OtoSet looks like? What are some of the components and in terms Yeah,
Dr. Jackie Phillips (18:44):
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (18:44):
In terms of like the, um, so you're putting water in there there, and is that distilled water? What is that process like?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (18:53):
Absolutely. So, yes, that's a good question. So, uh, so actually yes, I do have the device here. So, it is a, um, looks just like a headset. And we did, when we, when the FDA - distilled water is recommended. So basically, you are going to, you have two pieces that are disposable. So, you've got an ear tip that are ear specific right now. So, you basically will, uh, you know, count, talk to the patient, let 'em know that, you know, we actually put the tip in by itself to kind of give 'em that sensation of how it's gonna fill in the ear. And we, we kind of talk about that. Then we put the tip on and then we also give a water warmer, like a kettle somewhat. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, cuz body temperature water is very important obviously. So, we have a beaker that you would fill up and you fill the beaker up and pour the body temperature water into this hole here, fill, there's a fill line here, close that, then you would put it on the patient's head, stretch it out to kind of get it measured.
You put it on the patient's head and when you put on the patient's head, you get it measured just right. And then what you're gonna do is the clinician will actually, uh, instruct a patient, they're gonna hear three beeps and then fill of water rushing in. They're gonna press the button either left or right or both ears at the same time. Again, another time saver. Press the button, the patient is gonna feel the water go in, and at the same time there's micro section and it's a thirty-second, uh, procedure. And again, we strongly recommend always to do pre-treatment. So, pre-treatment, five to ten minutes in the clinic, uh, or if you know that they have wax, you can also recommend that they do it at home. Debrox or whatever brand that you have for softener that you recommend. We don't, there's no preference at home.
What you just recommend wherever you feel is proper. And then they come in and then you run, you flush their ears out with this. And again, it's 30 seconds and it's a, it's real lightweight. It's not even about two, two pounds. Wow. And then when the patient leaves, you throw the disposable pieces away, which is the tip. And then this is the waste container that would have the wax of the dirty water. You throw those two things away, you wipe down the, the headset with an alcohol swab and then it's ready for the next patient. It's rechargeable as well. So, there's a charging, uh, place here. Charges. And one charge, which takes about two hours for a full charge, it's about 50 patients. Wow. So five zero. So, it's a good charge. And then, you know, you put it back on the stand ready for the next patient. So, it's very easy. Doesn't take a lot of room. And it's very mobile as well.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (21:24):
I love it. Thank you so much for that presentation because for our listeners tuned in, definitely go to our YouTube channel to watch, um, this interview so you can actually see what the OtoSet looks like. Again, this is a tool in which every hearing care provider should have in their office because it's really a no-brainer. It's gonna save you time, it's safe for the patient. And Jackie, do you mind, so body temperature water. Understanding your career, and I think, correct me if I'm wrong, you, you have worked with patients who do present with vertigo?
So, why is body temperature water so important to use with OtoSet instead of cold water, for instance?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (22:11):
Yeah, absolutely. So, obviously if you are gonna put cold water, um, you're gonna cause a sensation of vertigo and the patient's gonna, it's gonna react. Their semicircular canals are gonna react and they're gonna have spinning or vertigo. So, obviously we cannot have cooler water than body temperature water. And obviously you don't want hotter water because that could burn the patient's canal. So, we have it set, we have a kettle that is sent to the customer and they set the temperature exactly what they want. So it's, we recommend 90, you know, the body temperature 98.6. Um, some people do a hundred because they put it in the beaker and it cools off just a, you know, the two seconds that you're put, you're putting the beaker and you're putting in here and then you're pressing the button. Uh, so they may do maybe a hundred, but that's all we recommend.
So, we have that in our training, our onboarding, we go over every detail about the water and how you actually make sure it's the body, the right temperature because we don't want the patient to get sick. Now, what we do when we finish, we do take it off the patient and we, we ask the patient how do you feel? And they typically say they're fine, but if someone said that, I don't know, I don't, I kind of feel a little dizzy, we would say, you know, then sit and wait for maybe a couple minutes. And literally, they're fine. But we don't see that very often because we do use body temperature water. So, if there someone accidentally did not do body temperature water, then you may have a patient who may not feel a hundred percent for a couple of minutes, but then that sensation's gone.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (23:37):
Thank you so much for bringing us through that because for our listeners tuned in, if you are a consumer or you're thinking about getting hearing aids, and you visit an office that does have an OtoSet, fear not because the water is not going to set you into a dizzy spell. And if it does, it's not going to last for a long time. So, and, and that is per doctor and audiologist, Jackie Phillips. So, you touched a little bit upon the impact that impacted cerumen has on patients. What have the struggles been for providers treating patients with impacted ear wax? And are there any statistics for how many patients need this service? You had mentioned 35 million a couple of minutes ago, but what are you seeing having feet on the street and going into these hearing care practices?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (24:27):
So, actually there's research on that. There is basically one in 20 adults have impaction; one in 10 children. But what the biggest number that's in is really eye-opening is one in three over the age of 65 have impaction. Hmm. So anybody over 65 is one in three. And that's where we're seeing the biggest, uh, amount of patients is that, that, you know, 65 and older. And so, um, that's a huge number. And then also something else is, you know, not only is it you can't do a hearing test, but guess what? Hearing aids are coming in for repair and the number, the two things that it's typically is wax or moisture. And you had Mark last week to help with the moisture. Yes. This week we kind of go hand in hand because the wax is actually the big manufacturer's, uh, research shows, HIA says that 60 to 70% of hearing aids that come in for repair are due to wax in the receiver.
That's a, that's the biggest issue really. So, if you have a patient who wants to re, once you identify a patient as having chronic wax impaction, that mo -membership or subscription model will be great for them and reduce, it'll help reduce them coming in for repairs because guess what? They're coming in, uh, frequently for repairs and they're frustrated cuz they think it's their hearing aids a problem, but really it's their body producing too much wax and plugging up their receiver. You're gonna have a happier patient if you get that under control and they're not having wax in their receiver, and then you're gonna make the hearing aid companies happier, and you're gonna be happier cuz everybody around you is gonna be happier. So it's, it's a full circle. So, not only is it causing hearing loss, but it causes repairs to go high or re for hearing aids.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (26:06):
It's such a win-win-win for everyone. And, you know, Jackie, I'm sure you remember patients coming in, my hearing aid doesn't work. It's oftentimes changing the wax guard. And even though you show the patients how to change the wax guard, some patients have decreased dexterity. So, it is difficult for them to change that wax guard. But if we can stay ahead of the curve, this preventative health of, well let's get them on our subscription model. So, they're coming in, they're getting their hearing aids Reduxed, and then during that they're getting the OtoSet spa treatment, if you will. So, so
Dr. Jackie Phillips (26:42):
Well what, what most clinicians actually talk about the Redux and drying is that they say that they will actually take the hearing aids, put 'em in Redux for 15 minutes, and come, and during that 15 minutes they're back at the patient cleaning their ears. So, they clean their ears out, finish there. Fifteen minutes later, they go and grab the hearing aids out of the dryer and put 'em back on and it's all just perfect. Their hearing aids are much more crisp, their ears are perfectly clean, and they go about their business. So, it's a great combination. Um, I love it. Redux should be happy. I'm like plugging in them as well. So.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (27:13):
Dr. Jackie Phillips (27:13):
It's a good combination actually.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (27:15):
There's so much synergy because it really is a spa treatment, and you've been in the field much longer than I have. You are a veteran in the field. You are a thought leader in the field. And you've seen the changes that we've experienced in hearing healthcare in and of itself, the model in and of itself. And private practices in today's day and age need to continue to stay ahead of the curve and implement these different services to differentiate themselves. And what better way than to do that with the OtoSet, of course the only FDA cleared earwax removal system. It's quick, it's safe, it's effective, and it really is mess free. Jackie, I'm just curious to know, if I was still in private practice, I would have so much fun with this tool because when we talk about like healthcare festivals and, and things of that nature, you could literally bring the OtoSet and offer complimentary ear cleanings. Of course, it needs to be in a, in a sanitary space for the patients. But, what a great tool to have to attract customers to your presentation table talking about something that we've all experienced is that impaction of wax. So, are some of your customers doing that today?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (28:33):
Yeah, absolutely. Health fairs or also, I have customers calling me that they're getting, they're working with assisted living homes. And assisted living homes are saying, I really wanna partner with you, but I desperately need wax cleaning. And so we need you to have that part of your scope of practice or your value add to us. And so we have several seeking out for that particular scenario. But yeah, we actually, um, I would say a fun thing that people do is called "Waxy Wednesday." So maybe the clinic, they may have a half a day where they call in patients who are known to be waxy and they spend all day doing wax cleaning, but also it's paired with ear cleaning. So, I mean, I mean, not ear cleaning, but uh, hearing tests and hearing aid cleaning. So, they do several, uh, services in the, in that appointment. But really if they don't have hearing aids, they come in and like, I just think it's my hearing, my, uh, wax in my ears and they look in the ears and say, well, you have a little bit, let's clean that out, but let's also do a hearing screening or hearing test.
And guess what? Pretty much majority of the time customers tell me, it's not really the wax, it was really their hearing loss and they needed to come in and get that tested. So, they come in and get tested and um, and they need hearing aids. So it's, it's "Waxy Wednesdays" are fun to do. It's almost, um, it's it's a fun environment. It, they make it, customers make it a lot, uh, fun for the patients to come in and have that done. It's not intimidating.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (29:57):
And the patients absolutely appreciate that because it comes down to culture. Being in private practice, uh, but even being a hearing healthcare provider, creating that atmosphere of welcoming the patient and having fun with the different tools like an OtoSet is just so incredible. Dr. Phillips, what does SafKan Health have on the horizon for product updates? Are there any major goals or exciting initiatives in place for your team in 2023? Because I'm excited to continue to follow and support OtoSet. So, we just gotta know what are some of the goals, what's going on at SafKan Health for 2023 and beyond?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (30:39):
Yeah, absolutely. That's, it is a great question. So, I would say, um, you know, we, we had a soft launch, um, like a year, a little over a year ago and it's gone very well. So, the main thing with the soft launch was actually listening and learning from our, our customers. And so what we've done, you know, being a smaller company, we're quick and we're very nimble and we're agile. So we're able to take that feedback. We take a, we do a surveys with our customers and we take that feedback and we implement it into the product. If it's feasible, we, we incorporate it. So, through the soft launch we've listened and we've heard our customers. So we are coming out with a new two point, it's uh, just set 2.0 this year. So, that's coming up soon. And it's based all the enhancements that we're doing, every one of 'em has been from a customer.
So, they come in, they tell us, wow, I really need to have this in change. Can you do this? And we really have listened. And so the 2.0 is coming out, but we don't just stop there. I mean 2.0 is, is is you know, it's pretty much set what we're gonna do with it. We also look at the next generation, so the 3.0. So we're already kinda looking the future. We have to look in the future that far and we already know things we're gonna add and there's some very exciting things coming down the pipeline. Also, you know, just maybe there could be something, you know, at home, who knows. So, right now we're clinical, but who knows. We also have had requests for pediatric, cuz we're 18 years and older for FDA clearance, but we have a huge market, obviously one in 10 kids.
We do want to help the pediatric market and we also have a collaboration with FDA and some children's hospitals, uh, in California that we're working with. So, that could be down the line. And then in Dec-, this past December we just closed a round of fundraising. So, with that fund, that money, we are putting it more in R&D, and also our, our support. So, we are hiring, currently hiring, uh, clinical trainers, specialists, some more people on the sales team and marketing. So, all the commercial side we're building out more because obviously we're growing really quickly. And to, when you're growing this quickly, you need more support for your customers. Cuz one thing we want, we're big about education, so we already talked about onboarding. So, that is, we want people to be very satisfied and want to use the device.
The last thing I wanna see is it's in the corner collecting dust. So, if people want to have an OtoSet, we are very generous. We send out a, we give it to, we sh uh, ship it to 'em. They have 30 days to try it out. If they don't like it, they can return it. Uh, and we, we actually pay for the return label and everything. So, we are very generous on that because we really believe that the, the customer's gonna believe in the product and they're gonna want to use it and help the patients. And so that's kind of where we are. We're really big on education, so we're hiring a lot of educational specialists to come on the team. So, I think we're growing the team, but also more importantly, we're growing our R&D, cause we want to make sure we get the best product for the patient. And of course, the customers,
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (33:35):
Dr. Phillips, I am all about supporting companies that support R&D because taking what the customers are saying and implementing those enhancements into the product is so important. Having the discussions with your current customers, that's really how you grow. That's how you become a better, leaner, uh, company. I'm super excited for the future of SafKan Health, and we're so grateful for you donating your time today. Joining us on the Hearing Matters podcast. Before we sign off, where can our current listeners tune in, whether they be providers and or hearing aid users, how can they learn more about the OtoSet and SafKan Health?
Dr. Jackie Phillips (34:19):
The best place we have a really, uh, robust website and I would recommend going there. We have extensive amount of video collection from our customers. We've sent those in. Also, we have an internal clinic that we kind of practice and test on, uh, with, you know, with patients in our inside clinic. So, we've videotaped a lot of different procedures. Highly recommend going and watched those videos, recent testimonials, pricing and everything's there. The website is very easy. It's just OtoSet.com. So, OtoSet.com, go straight there and everything will be listed there on the website for their uh, review.
Blaise M. Delfino, M.S. - HIS (34:51):
Wonderful. And for those tuned in right now, if you go into our show notes, the link to OtoSet.com will be right there. You're tuned in to the Hearing Matters Podcast. Today, we had Dr. Jackie Phillips joining us. She is the Vice President of Sales at SafKan Health, and we talked all things earwax removal, cerumen management, but most importantly, the OtoSet ear cleaning system. This tool is revolutionizing the hearing healthcare industry. Join us next week and until next time, Hear Life's Story.