Tech company born at CHEO gives back: donates $150,000 to CHEO

SHOEBOX Ltd.’s donation to support hearing research and medical outreach

OTTAWA — August 21, 2019 — Today, Dr. Matthew Bromwich presented CHEO President and CEO Alex Munter with a donation of $150,000 from SHOEBOX Ltd., the company he founded to bring his tablet-based audiometer to market. The donation will support more ear-health research and will enable medical outreach to make hearing health more accessible in remote and underserved areas.

Called SHOEBOX because the hearing-test system was designed to be small enough to fit in a shoebox, Dr. Bromwich’s invention is the result of a need he saw at CHEO, a pediatric health and research centre in Ottawa where he is based.

“SHOEBOX was as a solution to a problem that my patients, their families and I faced in hearing care. Because it’s portable and easy to use, it enables more testing, by more people, in many more locations,” says Dr. Bromwich, a CHEO otolaryngologist and founder of SHOEBOX.”

For example, families from Nunavut often needed to make an expensive and disruptive trip south to Ottawa to have their hearing properly tested. Dr. Bromwich came up with SHOEBOX so they could stay home and have someone in the community easily trained to administer reliable diagnostic hearing tests.

“Dr. Bromwich is dedicated and passionate about providing excellent and accessible care. And at CHEO we encourage everyone to make improvements, whether that’s better safety, better systems or better care,” says Alex Munter, CHEO’s President and CEO. “SHOEBOX is a great result of this mix. It’s inspiring that Dr. Bromwich is taking the success of SHOEBOX and giving back so generously to make care better for kids and families at CHEO and around the world.”

“I’m lucky to work at CHEO,” Bromwich says, “which supports and values innovation and challenging the status quo. I hope this gift from SHOEBOX will lead to even more improvements in hearing care through research at CHEO.”

At the event, Munter and other guests had the opportunity to test their hearing using SHOEBOX Audiometry, the first automated iPad audiometer. Comprising software, an iPad, calibrated transducers, and secure, cloud-based data management, SHOEBOX is clinically validated to produce accurate results while being optimized for use outside of a traditional sound booth. The automated nature of the test means that almost anyone can administer a diagnostic hearing test and, with a little guidance, most patients can self-administer the test themselves.

“CHEO provided me with a platform to test and refine SHOEBOX Audiometry and make sure that it was as accurate as what you find in the office of an Ear, Nose and Throat specialist. My goal was making it easy enough to use almost anywhere, without extensive training,” says Bromwich. “Our mission is to make hearing tests simple and available, so everyone can have access to a diagnostic threshold hearing test. SHOEBOX is making this a reality.”

SHOEBOX was recently acquired by Sivantos, a global leader in hearing technology. “We started working with them last year on testing solutions to fine-tune devices for their users. The synergies between our two organizations were clear and, together, we see a path to extending our mission to connect patients with the right treatments and resources when they need them,” continues Bromwich.

Dr. Bromwich’s development and testing of SHOEBOX is illustrative of CHEO physicians and staff making improvements in health care through research. CHEO has a robust research culture that makes more than 500 discoveries every year through its Research Institute and, last year, involved more than 45,000 children youth and families in research projects covering a wide range of subjects, including otolaryngology, audiology and neurology.

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Media contact

Paddy Moore, CHEO
o. 613-737-7600, ext. 3536 | c. 613-769-5553 | pmoore@cheo.on.ca

About CHEO

Dedicated to the best life for every child and youth, CHEO is a global leader in pediatric health care and research. Based in Ottawa, CHEO includes a hospital, children’s treatment centre, school and research institute, with satellite services located throughout Eastern Ontario. CHEO provides excellence in complex pediatric care, research and education. We are committed to partnering with families and the community to provide exceptional care — where, when and how it’s needed. CHEO is a founding member of Kids Health Alliance, a network of partners working to create a high quality, standardized and coordinated approach to pediatric health care that is centred around children, youth and their families. Every year, CHEO helps more than 500,000 children and youth from Eastern Ontario, western Quebec, Nunavut and Northern Ontario.

About Shoebox
Co-founded in 2005 by Dr. Matthew Bromwich, an ENT specialist, and led by CEO Michael Weider, Ottawa-based SHOEBOX Ltd. is combining audiological and technical expertise to design and manufacture innovative medical-grade devices. The SHOEBOX platform leverages the power of mobile technology to enable effective, alternative approaches to traditional hearing testing equipment.