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June 3, 2003

UK's Gyrus tunes into hearing aid market

From: Forbes - Jun 3, 2003

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - Britain's Gyrus Group Plc said on Tuesday it had bought the rights to a new hearing aid that amplifies high-frequency sounds commonly lost to patients, while not affecting their natural hearing of other sounds.

Gyrus, which specialises in making devices for minimally invasive surgery, said it was buying the RetroX sound delivery system from privately owned German firm auric Horysysteme GmbH for $1 million in cash plus an undisclosed royalty on sales.

RetroX is a titanium tube surgically implanted behind the ear, which is connected to a digital hearing aid that can be programmed to the individual hearing needs of the patient.

Unlike conventional hearing aids which go into the ear itself, RetroX leaves the ear canal open, allowing patients to continue experiencing natural sound quality for frequencies they can still hear.

Analysts estimate that around seven million people in the United States suffer from some kind of hearing loss. Gyrus said RetroX could help around 10 percent of that number.

Gyrus expects to launch RetroX in the UK within three months, priced at about 1,800 pounds ($2,940), a spokesman said. The aid is already on sale in Germany and the United States.

Copyright 2003, Reuters News Service