Sore ears became a problem for many people including NHS staff early in the pandemic, as we started to wear round-the-ear surgical masks and face coverings for extended periods of time.

Southampton-based specialist engineering component manufacturer AMufacture recognised the problem and turned their design team and 3D printers to manufacturing The Ear Protector – a simple device to securely hold mask elastic loops away from the ears. As demand grew they transferred manufacture to their injection-moulding equipment, and so far have sold many thousands to each of a number of hospital Trusts.

Wessex AHSN supported the company to understand and navigate the NHS market (a whole new experience for them), and seek insights from Infection Prevention & Control specialists as to how best to approach hospitals who may benefit from them. Advice was given around early promotional literature (as the company were unfamiliar with the regulatory impact of medical claims being considered) and avoiding promotion for use with PPE – which instead secures behind the head.

The AHSN Network is now helping them to set up a simple evaluation of impact at a local hospital and sharing information more widely about the product.

You can find out more about the ear protector here

Companies interested in working with The AHSN Network or finding out more about the support we can offer can read more here