Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, introduces Safari, the first comprehensive family of hearing instruments designed exclusively for children with hearing loss from infancy through the teen years, according to a statement released by the company.

The Safari family offers extensive bandwidth to support language development, wireless binaural processing to improve spatial awareness and localization capabilities, and wireless connectivity for easy access to phones, TVs, and other communication and entertainment devices, says the statement. The line also features a built-in, intelligent LED indicator that lets parents, teachers, and other caregivers know with certainty that the hearing instrument is functioning properly.

Oticon Pediatrics previewed the new child-friendly hearing instruments to more than 250 US hearing care professionals at the recent 2009 Oticon Pediatrics Conference held in San Diego.

Also unveiled at the preview: a new pediatric fitting mode to complement the new child friendly solutions. The pediatric-specific capabilities of the expanded Genie software remain familiar and user-friendly, while incorporating new features, a new child friendly flow, and enhanced flexibility, says the statement.

“At Oticon, our People First philosophy has always included a strong focus on developing high-quality hearing solutions to the youngest and most vulnerable members of the hearing-impaired population,” said Oticon President Peer Lauritsen, in the statement. “With Safari, we significantly strengthen our commitment and are the first to offer a complete, dedicated family of hearing instruments exclusively for children.

"We know that for hearing care professionals and their patients, a successful experience with first hearing instruments has the potential to lead to a lifetime of loyalty," he added. "We aim to earn that loyalty by offering innovative, child friendly hearing instruments that can progress with children through important developmental milestones, providing the functionality that they need to achieve their goals.”

With Oticon Pediatrics, the company established a distinct brand supporting the needs of pediatric audiologists, parents, and other caregivers. The new exclusive family of pediatric hearing solutions is a continued expansion into the pediatric market for Oticon and further strengthens the company’s commitment to child-friendly hearing care.

Unlike traditional hearing solutions that limit a child’s access to the full range of speech cues, Safari’s extended bandwidth delivers critical high-frequency speech sounds with consistent audibility and greater accuracy, says the statement. 

“Studies indicate that giving children greater access to all parts of the speech spectrum supports the development of the hearing and speech centers of the brain. This enhanced access increases the potential for children to identify different patterns and inflections and to understand and accurately reproduce them as language,” said George Lindley, PhD, AuD, Oticon’s Manager, pediatric training and education. “We believe that children should have the opportunity to make the best use of the hearing they have by providing hearing instruments with broad frequency response and a natural sound reproduction as the first treatment option.”

Safari, which is the Swahili word for “exploration and journey,” offers a range of advanced sound processing functionalities that hearing care professionals can activate as children travel through important developmental milestones, according to the statement.

When children reach school age, easy interface with landline and cell phones, television, MP3 players, PCs, laptops, video games, and other important social and entertainment sources takes on greater importance. Safari’s wireless connectivity offers fast and easy access to modern communication devices with the addition of the sleek, Bluetooth-enabled Streamer accessory, says the company. Worn around the neck, the Streamer resembles an MP3 player and, with the touch of a button, streams sound directly from external audio sources directly through the Safari hearing instruments.

As children make the transition from home to school, Safari is best paired with the Amigo FM system’s extended bandwidth for an additional boost in classrooms where noise, echo, and distance impede audibility and speech understanding, says the statement. The LED status light indicators on the Safari hearing instruments and the Amigo FM system enable parents, teachers, and other caregivers to be certain that the hearing instruments are functioning properly.

Safari is available in three models, Safari 900, Safari 600, and Safari 300, in mini BTEs with size 312 and 13 battery options in a range of color choices. Stickers and designs such as animal prints, flower power, and abstract patterns let youngsters change their look.

Small, ergonomic Safari complements Oticon’s established range of state-of-the-art advanced technology hearing solutions and pediatric service and support programs, says the company. The new Safari family will be available mid-November.

For more information, contact Oticon Pediatrics at (888) 684-7331, or visit [email protected].