The State of Ear Health and Rise of Tympanocentesis (UC Berkeley)

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Otitis Media (OM), more commonly known as a severe ear infection, is a medical condition that is caused by a variety of pathogens and affects 70% of all children under the age of three. Currently, most ear infections are treated with multiple rounds of antibiotics. With the onset of antibiotic-resistant pathogens, this type of treatment may be inefficient, costly, and time consuming. A more effective treatment is known as Tympanocentesis, a medical procedure used for diagnosing and treating ear infections. The need for the procedure is rising along with emerging bacterial resistance, but no fully-integrated device for administering the treatment exists. Current methods involve using a spinal needle tap, fed through the viewing window of an otoscope, to puncture the ear drum, which is an extremely unstable process and is oftentimes avoided by pediatricians. This project will develop a novel, single-handed, integrated, and ergonomic device that can perform tympanocentesis with existing disposable materials commonly found at the doctor’s office.

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