Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc.

Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc.

October 24, 2012 12:40 ET

VitaSound Audio's Revolutionary Technology Earns Hamilton Firm the Prestigious Mind to Market award from Ontario Centres of Excellence

Partnership with McMaster University brings new hope to hearing loss patients while reducing cost and stigma of traditional hearing aids

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Oct. 24, 2012) -

Editors note: There is a photo associated with this press release.

VitaSound Audio President and CEO Gora Ganguli can sum up his company's innovative hearing loss solution in one word.

"Revolutionary," he enthuses. "That's not just us saying it, that's from consumers using the technology. We truly think we have the next big thing to bring better hearing to more people."

VitaSound's revolution in treating hearing loss through stimulation of damaged nerves in the ear drum rather than sound amplification earned the Hamilton-based company the prestigious 2012 Mind to Market Award during Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) AGM on Oct. 23.

"OCE is proud to have supported VitaSound's development through many of our programs since 2007 and we are excited about the direction their research and development team is moving in," said OCE President and CEO Dr. Tom Corr. "I'm pleased we were able to bring McMaster University and VitaSound together and watch this partnership blossom quickly into a successful and collaborative business venture. I know there are even greater things ahead."

Sponsored by the Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System (OMERS), the Mind to Market Award honours and celebrates the best OCE-supported research collaboration between the business and research communities resulting in the commercialization of leading-edge ideas and solutions. Award recipients exemplify the innovation that is possible when the brightest minds in industry and academia collaborate to address today's most critical issues.

"VitaSound's unique technology is not only a testament to the incredible research and development being undertaken in Ontario, it is also improving the lives of Ontarians," says Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Innovation. "This award recognizes the time and effort involved in developing this cutting-edge advancement in the treatment of hearing loss."

VitaSound's hardware and software technologies improve the performance of hearing aids and other hearing devices. Their Neuro-Compensator technology, developed at Hamilton's McMaster University, results in a more natural hearing experience. This new technology combined with alternative distribution channels has been helping VitaSound change the industry since 2009 when their product became commercially available. The technology is being adapted to work in consumer electronics like MP3 players, mobile phones and televisions.

Prof. Sue Becker of the McMaster University team that originally developed the technology says continued work on the Neuro-Compensator will make hearing aids much more accessible and affordable. It is estimated that less than one quarter of those suffering from hearing loss use hearing aids.

"VitaSound is geared toward people who are at an earlier stage in the hearing loss curve and aren't quite ready for hearing aids yet. We are also trying to remove some of the stigma of hearing aids by looking at alternative hearing devices," Prof. Becker says.

VitaSound is already a success. The company currently employs more than 60 people in Canada with its products sold through traditional retail outlets like Walmart and Walgreens Pharmacy across North America as well as specialized hearing centres with more sales locations on the way.

To see a video about VitaSound's award-winning innovation and the other five award finalists, visit http://youtu.be/wBUPAJx1Q8A.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (www.oce-ontario.org)

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario's global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario's industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and governments. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, Ontario Centres of Excellence invests in sectors such as advanced health, digital media and information communications, advanced manufacturing and materials, and cleantech including energy, environment and water. OCE through its Centre for Commercialization of Research (CCR), an initiative supported by the federal government, also acts as a catalyst which allows innovative businesses to grow and achieve sustainable commercial success and global competitiveness. Ontario Centres of Excellence is a key partner in delivering Ontario's Innovation Agenda as a member of the province's Ontario Network of Excellence (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is Ontario's innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit www.oneinnovation.ca.

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