The Antimicrobial Effect

What is antimicrobial?

An antimicrobial is an agent that kills microorganisms or stops their growth.[1] The main classes of antimicrobial agents are disinfectants (“nonselective antimicrobials” such as bleach), which kill a wide range of microbes on non-living surfaces to prevent the spread of illness, antiseptics (which are applied to living tissue and help reduce infection during surgery), and antibiotics (which destroy microorganisms within the body). [Resource: Wikipedia]

Whilst antibacterial media exclusively work against bacteria, antimicrobial materials work against a range of different microorganisms:

  • Bacteria (e.g. pneumo-coccobacilli and multi-resistant micro-organisms such as MRSA)
  • Viruses (e.g. HIV, influenza etc.)
  • Fungi (e.g. Aspergillums Niger)
  • Algae

With antimicrobial material microorganisms are practically permanently eliminated from any object. Examples for applications of antimicrobial materials are:

  • Bio implants or endoscopes in the medical environment
  • Ventilating shafts (reduction of fungi, viruses and bacteria)
  • Water pipes (avoiding the development of legionella)
  • Filter systems (for air and water purification)
  • Cooling systems in food industry (avoiding fungi and bacteria)
  • Sanitary installations
  • Hygienic articles, etc.

Why has Philips decided to implement this for their dictation products?

Philips dictation microphones and recorders are often used in Healthcare and legal environments where they are used for hours on a daily basis to support fast document creation. Devices are sometimes also shared by users. In such heavy use cases an antimicrobial surface provides great advantages and more cleanliness.

The specialties of the Philips SpeechMike housing

The antimicrobial effect of the SpeechMike Premium housing is based on an addition agent (sterions) that is put into the plastic before molding the housing parts. This means that the antimicrobial effect of the SpeechMike Premium housing is homogeneous in the plastic material. Therefore the antimicrobial effect is also given in the holes of the microphone and the speaker!

As the antimicobial effect is not based on a coating, it also cannot be wiped off by any cleaning detergents.

According to the supplier information the antimicobial effect lasts for a minimum of 5 years. From our experience we know that SpeechMikes in hospital environments are often sterilized daily, but this would not be reliable enough for the speaker grille and microphone holes. Due to the fact that the antimicrobial agent in the SpeechMike is poured in the housing and not superficially applied to the surface, this will ensure germs are destroyed in the tiniest spots.

Effectiveness proven in test results

Test results have shown that with an average reduction factor of 2 the additive/plastic compound in the SpeechMike Premium housing clearly eliminates E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus bacteria over the test period.

For detailed test results and what has been tested in the laboratory, please download the complete document: Philips SpeechMike Premium test results antimicrobial housing

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