Applecross resident recognised for role in creating Earbuddy treatement for ‘glue ear’

Applecross resident Matt Oldakowski has been recognised for his role in the Earbuddy project. Picture: Jon Hewson.
Applecross resident Matt Oldakowski has been recognised for his role in the Earbuddy project. Picture: Jon Hewson.

APPLECROSS resident Matt Oldakowski has been recognised for his role in developing a medical technology product that could change how a common ear disease is treated.

The Curtin University bioengineering researcher and Perth Biodesign course co-director co-invented Earbuddy, which received LUNAR Design’s Stanford Biodesign Robert Howard Next Step Award.

Dr Oldakowski travelled to Stanford University in the United States during January through to June and co-invented EarBuddy, which looked at a better way of treating Otitis Media with Effusion (OME), which is also known as “glue ear”.

“I had the opportunity to travel to Stanford University and study as part of Stanford Biodesign thanks to funding from Accelerating Australia and St John of God Hospital,” he said.

“We got to see problems first hand and work with clinicians on a whole bunch of problems and I had the chance to work with people from across the world who came to Stanford.”

Dr Oldakowski said as part of the project, they looked at the way children were currently treated for OME.

“It involves them blowing a balloon with their nose up to five times per day for six weeks,” he said.

“The disease commonly impacts children who are between one and three, so as they are non-verbal the current therapy isn’t really practical.

“I can’t say too much about the design of Earbuddy but it is intended to treat the disease without surgery or intensive parental involvement.”

“We have filed a provisional patent and I’ll be heading back to Stanford University in August because we have been given 200 hours of complimentary design and engineering consultation.”