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Ear-Cleaning Headphones Could Arrive At A Hospital Near You

by Natalie Daher

Photography by SafKan Health

Forget Q-tips. A Seattle-based startup is manufacturing headphones with hygiene in mind.

SafKan Health is targeting health care professionals with a set of oversized headphones, Otoset, designed to clean patients’ ears. The company was founded in 2016 and raised a $1 million seed round this month to integrate the product in American hospitals, significant contributions from angel investors and the VC fund of Dreamit.

Brothers Sahil Diwan, based in Seattle, and Aadil Diwan, a biomedical engineering student, co-founded SafKan and have since showcased their product at tech conferences. As they look to sell Safkan headphones, they’re focusing on mostly west coast hospitals. A big selling point, according to Safkan: the headphones help cut costs by reducing “labor costs” of cleaning patients’ ears.

“Ever since [Aadil] was a little kid he had to go to a primary care physician to get his ears cleaned out,” Sahil Diwan tells Quiddity. “Even to this day it's something he has to do pretty often.”

Ear care has been standardized since the nineteenth century to use a syringe for wax removal. But the traditional method of cleaning ears can be tedious and uncomfortable, Diwan says, and the equipment “kind of looks like a medieval torture device.” As an alternative, the Otoset uses “pulsed irrigation” and “continuous suction” to remove wax in 35 seconds.

“Ear wax is not a bad thing,” Sahil tells Quiddity. “It's only a bad thing when it becomes too much or becomes impacted. That's when it becomes a real problem - what we realized it's a bigger issue than we thought.”

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