The year 2006 brought with it many new products, events, and landmarks to the hearing industry. As the year comes to a close, The Hearing Review asked several companies to comment on what they viewed as their major achievements, milestones, and corporate highlights during 2006, and what products, services, and announcements might be expected from their companies during 2007. Here’s a look from their perspectives on the past year and the year to come. Additionally, the “HR Headlines” provide a sampling of just a few of the news items, announcements, and related articles that made it onto the pages of HR during 2006. For more information on these companies’ products and offerings, use the contact information at the end of each company entry, or use the circle numbers that correspond to the Reader Service Card found in this issue.

Looking Back at 2006…
American Hearing Aid Associates (AHAA) is the industry’s leading provider of business and marketing planning services. Founded in 1995, AHAA offers its nationwide network of more than 2,000 independent hearing health care professionals (Associates) a virtual franchise without loss of their autonomy.  

AHAA services include an expert field staff of 30 regional managers who help Associates customize business and marketing plans and who train owners and staff.  

Its Strategic Solutions services package provides Associates strategic and hands-on support in developing growth initiatives, expansion plans, and exit strategies.

In AHAA’s Performance Network, small, noncompeting groups of its Associates meet regularly in their local regions to discuss key issues common to their practices. Goals include improving the effectiveness and profitability of all members of the group.  

Preferred Associates offer AHAA’s exclusive Complete Hearing Health Care© Program to their patients. This unique hearing aid maintenance program improves productivity and profitability, while developing customers for life.

In 2006, AHAA launched its new, Web-based marketing services that allow Associates to order promotional material online, 24-7, from its Website During the year, AHAA also formalized its Managed Care Division and signed contracts with national organizations that will motivate millions of their members to use the AHAA network for hearing health care services.

Moving Forward to 2007…
AHAA will hold its 11th Annual Convention February 21-24 in Las Vegas. More than 400 will attend a program focused on all aspects of running a practice. AHAA will also significantly expand its Strategic Solutions package and offer new training courses for hearing practice staffs, including a complete program for managers.
Contact AHAA today to join its dynamic network of Associates.

American Hearing Aid Associates
West Chester Pa, ; 800-984-3272

HR Headlines
•   “The 10 Strategies of a Successful CEO: Change is an Important Factor in the Learning Curve of Success,” by Tina Soika (Oct 2006).
•   AHAA Holds 10th Annual Convention (May 2006,).
•   John H. Harrington named director of AHAA managed care division (June 2006).
•   AAA Preview (Feb 2006, p 60), IHS & ADA Preview.

Looking Back at 2006…
The 2006 free software update added the new Sensory Loss Simulator™— the first cochlear loss simulator in a digital instrument fitting system, DSL®5, and a provision for open fittings to the Verifit and RM500SL.  

We were officially awarded a US patent for our unique directional test which measures directional effects with all of the hearing aid features enabled! It is the only way to demonstrate and validate the real-world functioning of directional right in your office. We also conducted over 35 workshops across the country to rave reviews. Check for details on 2007 workshops in your area.

Moving Forward to 2007…
In 2007 we are focusing on getting the word out: Manufacturers’ “first fit” algorithms are a shot in the dark! Digital instruments need to be fitted and verified with a digital instrument fitting system.  

We also want to shine a bright light on the benefits of Audioscan. A concerned father who was moving called us to find out where the closest Verifit was to his new community; he wouldn’t have his daughter’s aids adjusted without one!

This is a great testament to the benefits of Audioscan equipment. The best fit, increased customer satisfaction/loyalty, competitive advantage, increased sales through demonstration of function, and decreased returns.

In 2007, we want people to take a fresh look at Audioscan digital instrument fitting systems because, just as digitals have revolutionized the hearing aid industry, we’ve revolutionized the testing, fitting, and counseling for digital aids.  Call your representative for a quick demonstration. You won’t be disappointed!

Dorchester, Ontario ; 800-265-2093

HR Headlines
•   Release of software v2.8 for both the Verifit and the RM500 SL (Nov 2006).
•   Real-time directional hearing instrument test on Verifit REM/HIT analyzer (July 2006).
•   Industry Insider: Audioscan President Bill Cole (May 2006).
•   Audioscan introduces the RM500 SL portable real-ear/hearing aid analyzer (Feb 2006).
•   AAA Preview (Feb 2006, p 60), and IHS & ADA Previews (Sept 2006).

Looking Back at 2006…
In 2006, Bernafon celebrated 60 years of serving people through innovation. The successful history of Bernafon hearing aids began in 1946 at Gfeller AG in Flamatt, which at that time produced mechanical and electromechanical products. The motivation for initiating the hearing aid activities came from the company owner, Hans Gfeller, who suffered from severe hearing impairment himself.

The hearing aid activities started with a homemade hearing amplifier for Hans Gfeller powered by large batteries. The first serial-production pocket hearing aid was then launched on the market in 1946 (see photo above). As a hearing aid pioneer, Bernafon has consistently succeeded in surprising the market with innovative technologies for the benefit of the hard of hearing since then. The world’s first adjustable hearing aid, the world’s first computer-programmable hearing aid, as well as the first hearing instrument with ChannelFree™ signal processing are important milestones in the successful product history.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Today 110 people are employed at the Bernafon head office in Bern, Switzerland, of whom over 80 are involved in product development, digital signal processing, electroacoustics, software, design and technical audiology.

The company’s jubilee year in 2006 heralded the arrival of the latest high-tech product: ICOS – a premier class instrument using Personalized Audio Navigation™ that identifies the type of environment in which the user finds him or herself, and automatically chooses the optimal response. The Lifestyle Profile in the fitting software allows the audiologist to precisely fit the instrument to the patient’s listening priorities in a multitude of environments.

Bernafon LLC
Somerset, NJ ; (800) 941-4203

HR Headlines
•   “Evidence of Enhanced Fine Tuning with a New Datalogging System,” by Neil S. Hockley, Reinhard Winter, and Lorrie Scheller (Oct 2006).
•   “Boundaries of Real Open Fittings,” by Monika Bertges Reber (Feb 2006).

E-A-R Auditory systems
Looking Back at 2006…
Previously Aearo Company, E-A-R Auditory Systems’ parent company became Aearo Technologies in 2006. Commenting on the change, CEO Mike McLain said, “The addition of the word ‘technologies’ to our name more accurately reflects the mission of our company. We’re in the business of developing and applying technologies to protect people, products and performance.”  

E-A-R Auditory Systems’ E-A-RTONE 5A Audiometric Insert Earphone has undergone several improvements since its introduction. The most recent change incorporated in the 5A design in early 2006 was a modified shape for the base of its pin connector receptacle. The change prevents the receptacle from rotating regardless of the pressure applied when the cable is disconnected from the transducer case. Earlier upgrades to the cable, switching from plastic to a stainless steel case nipple, in addition to this most recent modification significantly enhanced the E-A-RTONE 5A’s reliability. Auditory Systems also began an exciting project to take the E-A-RTONE Insert Earphone to its next technological step.

Moving Forward to 2007…
The year 2007 will usher in several new firsts for E-A-R Auditory Systems beginning with the introduction of a product catalog. That, in addition to the Auditory Systems Web site, will provide our customers with greater access to product descriptions and information. Our Quality Management System, already certified to ISO 9001:2000, will also be certified to ISO 13485/Medical Devices.

E-A-R Auditory Systems’ most exciting project to date, a technological leap in the evolution of the E-A-RTONE Insert Earphone, will be introduced early in the second quarter of 2007.

E-A-R Auditory Systems/Aearo Technologies
Indianapolis, Ind ; (800) 327-3431

HR Headlines
•   “Hearing Conservation in Schools of Music: The UNT Model,” by Kris Chesky, PhD (March 2006).
•   “Hearing Protection for Musicians,” by Patty Niquette, MA (March 2006).
•   AAA Preview (Feb 2006).

Frye Electronics
Looking Back at 2006…
Frye Electronics has made substantial additions to the FONIX 7000 Hearing Aid Test System. Prior to March of 2006, measurements of input-output and battery current were only available in automated test sequences, such as in ANSI. In March we introduced version 1.4. Now very complete separate measurements are available that include estimated battery life for the hearing aid under test, and battery current at different frequencies and amplitudes. When version 1.5 was released in September, the complete NAL NL1 formula was included in the instrument, as well as a Visible Speech program. All instruments were upgraded free of charge.

In 2006 we introduced a Spanish version of the FP35. Now all the messages and menus and measurement labels are in Spanish when the user asks for it. Our FONIX NOAH 3 module was certified by HIMSA this year. We also greatly improved the user interface. Our Press and Go program was also introduced this year. It is especially useful for schools.

Moving Forward to 2007…
We will provide the new IEC 05 test sequence for the FONIX 7000 Hearing Aid Test System early in the year. One of our programmers is working on a Technician’s Computer Module that will provide an automated program, that will make it easy to monitor repairs of hearing instruments.

It is quite likely that we will also make whatever changes are needed to put the NAL NL2 and the DSL 5 into the FONIX NOAH Module during 2007, as well.

Frye Electronics
Tigard, Ore ; (800) 547-8209

HR Headlines
•   “How to Perform Real-Ear Testing on an Open-Fit Hearing Aid” (July 2006).
•   “How to Verify Directional Hearing Aids in the Office,” by George Frye (Jan 2006).
•   Frye Electronics introduces a new Open Fit Coupler for testing open-ear fitted hearing instruments (Aug 2006).
•   “Measuring Performance: A Defining Professional Responsibility,” by Sridhar Krishnamurti (Jan 2006).
•   AAA Preview (Feb 2006, p 63) and IHS & ADA Preview (Sept 2006).

GN Otometrics
Looking Back at 2006…
GN Otometrics introduced three state-of-the-art products in 2006. Our customers responded with outstanding feedback and strong sales of the latest generation of GN Otometrics’ products: AURICAL Visible Speech, ICS Chartr 200, and MADSEN Xeta. We are just beginning to realize the marketplace impact of these strategically important solutions.

AURICAL Visible Speech is the wireless binaural solution for fitting, counseling, and verification. It takes Speech Mapping to the next level with its binaural simultaneous measurement, wireless connection, OnTop mode and enhanced patient experience.

The portable ICS Chartr 200 is an advanced vestibular test system that allows practitioners to diagnose and treat their patients with even more confidence. With a comprehensive test battery, a remote control, built-in Interpretation Assistant™, state-of-the-art goggle, and a lightweight flexible light bar, the system delivers faster, more accurate results and improves patient care.

MADSEN Xeta is the intuitive air, bone, and masking audiometer designed for fast, efficient testing and advanced patient handling. The Xeta launch was followed by an array of improvements within our hearing assessment portfolio.

Moving Forward to 2007…
GN Otometrics dynamic product portfolio is set for 2007 and beyond. With Intelligent Integration™ as the backbone to our new product strategy, we continue to develop our three expert brands: MADSEN, AURICAL and ICS. Our innovative products deliver fast, accurate results, improve office workflow, and enhance patient care for healthcare professionals and audiologists worldwide. Look to GN Otometrics for state-of-the-art solutions for hearing and balance instrumentation and software.

GN Otometrics
Schaumburg, Ill ; (800) 289-2150

HR Headlines
•   “Taking the Guesswork Out of Hearing Instrument Fittings,” by Megan Quilter (June 2006).
•   “Audiology Unplugged: Leading Hearing Care into the Bluetooth Age,” by Brad Ingrao (Jan 2006).
•   AURICAL™ Visible Speech system introduced (July 2006).

iCELLtech corp
Looking Back at 2006…
iCell has made significant growth in sales and technology during 2006. We are especially proud of our newly launched Model 10. It has the following features:
•  Strong stainless steel housing cuts bulging, yet provides better conduction by Nickel plating;
•  105 mAh capacity. Longest running time;
•  Rust-free in any weather condition;
•  Powerful performance in any latest digital hearing aid devices.
These newly innovated batteries have been fascinating the customers and users in the market.  

As for other models, they have also been improved significantly and have been very favorably received in each market. Due to the above, users can get 100% satisfaction from any iCellTech battery.

Thanks to high quality introductions in various markets in the world and promotion at international conventions, iCellTech is experiencing  more brand power and the number of customers is growing day by day.

Moving Forward to 2007…
We will continue to develop new technologies as one of leaders in the hearing aid battery industry. Strengthening quality control procedures, we are targeting zero defects. Customer’s satisfaction is always our joy.

iCellTech Corp
Seoul, Korea ; 82-2-3665-6962

HR Headlines
•   iCellTech Corp introduces its newly developed Size 10 Digital Sound zinc air batteries with 105 mAh capacity (May 2006).
•   Marketplace: Offers sizes 5, 10, 312, 13, and 675, and produces about 50 million cells annually (April 2006).
•   AAA Convention (Feb 2006).

Looking Back at 2006…
The 2006 launch of Interacoustics’ Eclipse gave the market a single platform that provides clinical OAE testing, ABR testing, or a combination of OAE and ABR testing all in one portable box.

For clinical OAE testing, choose to incorporate DPAOE, TEOAE or a combination of both. The ABR options include clinical two-channel ABR with a variety of stimuli, or the advanced ABR package which includes VEMP, ECochG, ML, LL, P300 and MNN—each with dedicated filters and marking software. Additionally, the easy-to-use Cochlear Implant stimulator control is available for electrically generated ABR tests. The ABR package can stand alone or be combined with any of the OAE options.  

The Eclipse hardware platform is a portable, compact package that can easily connect to a computer via one USB port. The entire system is compatible with Windows® and is easy to use with features like unlimited test protocols, customized latency norms, offline digital filtering, and unlimited report templates.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Interacoustics has always been dedicated to providing customers with value and state-of-the-art technology for all areas of audiological evaluations. As a result, Interacoustics is now the largest supplier of audiological equipment in the world and employs over 180 individuals in order to provide the world with quality instrumentation.

In the next year, Interacoustics will continue to focus on the Eclipse platform with the addition of VEMP testing as well as ASSR testing with a revolutionary new algorithm and more efficient stimulus (both patented).

Interacoustics USA
Eden Prairie, Minn ; (800) 947-6334

HR Headlines
•   “How to Test More Efficiently with Customized Audiometric Tests” (July 2006).
•   Interacoustics introduces its new version of the software for the VO25 and VN15 VNG systems (Sept 2006).
•   Marketplace: Product line features audiometers, middle-ear analyzers, ABR, OAE, VNG, RhinoMetrics, and hearing aid testing (April 2006).
•   AAA Preview (Feb 2006, p 64) and IHS & ADA Conventions (Sept).

Maico diagnostics
Looking Back at 2006…
Maico Diagnostics launched two new products in 2006. The first was its newest middle ear analyzer, the MI 44—the latest product to meet the needs of audiologists and hearing specialists who provide diagnostic testing. While Maico is known for its quality screening instruments, the MI 44 serves as a bridge between screening and diagnostic testing with features such as both manual and automatic pump control for the most testing flexibility, as well as standard accessories that include both a screening and a diagnostic probe.

In addition, Maico brought a new automatic screening audiometer to the pediatric market. The Detective Audiometer provides fast, easy tests that print in seconds and includes voice prompts (in English and Spanish) that give patients instructions at the beginning of the test as well as directions if they miscue during the test.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Maico Diagnostics is a leading manufacturer of quality medical testing equipment. The company will launch its first PC-based audiometer in 2007, which will have all the qualities Maico has been known for since 1937—accurate, efficient testing with intuitive controls and fast operation. The new instrument will include all-inclusive reporting, a combined audiometer keyboard/PC keyboard, and a few other unique features that will delight users.

Maico Diagnostics
Eden Prairie, Minn ; (888) 941-4201

HR Headlines
•   Industry Insider: Interview with Maico Vice President Ron Perlt (Jan 2006).
•   Oticon Foundation grants $1.3 million to Walter Reed Hospital (Jan 2006).
•   AAA Preview (February 2006) and IHS & ADA Preview (Sept 2006).
•   Literature Review: Product guide for the new MI44 middle ear analyzer (Nov 2006).

Looking Back at 2006…
In 2006, Oticon literally changed the shape of hearing care with Delta—the hearing device that people actually want to wear.

Delta has been a huge success for hearing care professionals across the USA who finally have both a product and an effective marketing support package to attract first time users into their practices.

In fact, some 72% of Delta’s have been fitted to first-time users and the user satisfaction ratings are well over 90%. Delta appeals to people of all ages who have a hearing loss, but who simply refuse to wear traditional hearing aids because of the negative stigma they attach to these devices.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Oticon will continue to support our hearing care professionals with attractive products and proven marketing support packages that really work. 2007 will see a range of new product introductions and innovative marketing support activities designed to support them.

If your practice has yet to try marketing Oticon products, then 2007 should be the year to get going. We have expanded our general sales force, our pediatric sales force, and our marketing support staff. So we have both superior products and the professional support you need to help your practice grow in 2007.

Oticon Inc
Somerset, NJ ; (800) 526-3921

HR Headlines
•   “Multimedia: Better Tools Facilitate Better Process,” by Douglas Beck and Roger McGuire (May 2006).
•   “New Design Focus Yields a Hearing Device that People Actually Want,” by Mark Flynn (Apr 2006).
•   Ninth Annual Oticon Audiology Summer Camp (Oct 2006).
•   Introduces FM solution, the Oticon Amigo (Sept 2006)
•   Huey Lewis and Oticon Delta Show Consumers It’s “Hip to Hear” (Sept 2006)
•   “How to Change the Perception of Wearing A Hearing Device” (July 2006)
•   Safran open-fit, a hearing aid bridging the gap between Syncro and Tego Pro (May 2006)

Phonak Hearing Systems
Looking Back at 2006…
The Phonak revolution continues in 2006 and 2007 with the introduction of Savia ART, the newest member of the Digital Bionics family. ART, the new masterpiece of hearing performance, applies cutting edge technology to maximize wearer satisfaction. It features:
•   Sound Relax: Suppresses annoying impulse sounds while maintaining sound authenticity;
•   Self Learning: Learns and applies loudness preferences automatically;
•   No-Whistle Technology: Features multi-level, multi-channel, and multi-program feedback management;
•   Canal Receiver Technology micro model: Offers the acoustic advantages of an external receiver.

Also new this year is microPower, the cosmetic solution for anyone with moderate to severe hearing loss. Chose from microPower V (with Eleva inside) or microPower IX (with Savia inside) and give your patients the smallest and most powerful microBTE on the market. Special features designed to help in difficult listening situations include EasyPhone Plus and FM access using the new MyLink receiver.

Moving Forward to 2007…
In 2007, Phonak is launching an exciting new initiative called “Hear the World” to raise awareness about the importance of hearing and the impact of hearing loss around the world. Music is a universal language that goes beyond geographic, social, and linguistic boundaries; therefore, it is the ideal medium to spread the message of Hear the World. Renowned musical artists Placido Domingo and the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra have agreed to join Phonak as ambassadors for this important and emotional topic. Another important element of the initiative is the non-profit Hear the World foundation which has been established to focus on increasing awareness, raising support, and helping to prevent hearing loss globally.

Phonak Hearing Systems
Warrenville, Ill; (800) 777-7333

HR Headlines
•   “Facts vs Myths: The Skinny on Slim-Tube Open Fittings,” by David A. Fabry (May 2006).
•   “In One Ear and Synchronized with the Other: Automatic Hearing Instruments Under Scrutiny,” by David A. Fabry (Nov 2006).
•   Phonak to Purchase GN ReSound (Oct 2006).
•   Phonak’s Landis Wins Tour, but Questions Emerge (Aug 2006).

Looking Back at 2006…
Rayovac celebrates 100 years of growth, quality, and innovation! In 2006, testing again confirmed Rayovac ProLine Advanced is the World’s Longest Lasting Hearing Aid Battery. Others have tried to make this claim, but time after time their performance has fallen short. 2006 research confirmed that consumers want long-lasting and reliable batteries.  

Besides being the World’s Longest Lasting Battery, Rayovac ProLine Advanced continues to offer a more consistent and reliable battery, time and again.  

Moving Forward to 2007…
After 14 years of partnership, Arnold Palmer has resigned with Rayovac to continue promoting better hearing.

The Rayovac technical and manufacturing teams are continuing to focus on new product developments to be launched in the next couple of years

Call your ProLine representative to learn more about the best battery in the world: 1-800-356-7422 or Canada: 1-800-387-3529

Rayovac Corp
Madison, Wis ; (800) 356-7422

HR Headlines
•   “Three Easy Options for Promoting Batteries For Increased Patient Loyalty and Business Growth” (July 2006).
•   ProLine battery package honored with award for design excellence in the 2006 American Graphic Design Competition (Nov 2006).
•   Rayovac Proline Advanced (Apr 2006).
•   Brochure highlights the important features that Rayovac ProLine offers (Nov 2006).

SEbotek Hearing Systems
Looking Back at 2006…
The first to introduce receiver-in-the-ear technology, SeboTek continues to grow by offering solutions across the entire fitting range. In 2006, SeboTek introduced its:
•   Proprietary Moisture Seal;
•   Series 200 Speaker Links with ClearSound™ Wax Guard;
•   Series 300 Ultra Soft Tips;
•   Speaker Link Warranties up to 3 years;
•   Customer-centric pricing and policies, and more robust marketing support.

SeboTek also launched the VQ-721, built on a platform capable of processing 42 million instructions per second (compared to 3 to 4 million in most other devices), and InFocus Lifestyles™ software to make fitting fast and efficient. The VQ-721 includes:
•   IntelliSound™ 128 Channel Adaptive Noise Reduction and AFXTM Adaptive Feedback Eliminator;
•   Multichannel Compression and 6 frequency shaping controls, including 8-band graphic equalizer;
•  Programmable power on delay;
•   Low equivalent input noise level of <20 dB;
•  Four customizable memories and large dynamic range;
•  Telecoil, Loop/FM compatibility.

Moving Forward to 2007…
SeboTek builds on its patented design and Infocus™ Technology, which combines an exclusive coupler effect and acoustic benefits with advanced, software-driven digital processing to: 1) Eliminate occlusion effect and other fitting challenges; 2) Provide more feedback attenuation than any open-fit device; 3) Offer more full-spectrum directionality than any other device. No other device:
•   Provides a minimum contact seal that allows the speaker to float comfortably inside the ear canal;
•   Is clinically proven to eliminate occlusion-effect;
•   Offers high fidelity, full spectrum sound with extended frequency from 100 Hz to 14,000 Hz;
•   Provides ultra-wideband dual directionality with up to 20 dB of usable attenuation in low frequencies where most noise is present;

SeboTek Hearing Systems LLC
Tulsa, Okla; (800) 388-9041

HR Headlines
•   “How to Provide a Cosmetic Hearing Solution for Severe Hearing Losses Without the Typical Side Effects” (July 2006).
•   SeboTek Hearing Systems offers the PAC (March 2006)
•   Industry Insider: Sebotek President Jim Feeley (Feb 2006).

Siemens Hearing instruments
Looking Back at 2006…
• Spring 2006, Siemens introduced the CENTRA™ family of hearing instruments. These instruments were designed using wearer-focused engineering. Breakthrough technologies available with all CENTRA instruments include SoundSmoothing™, DataLearning™, and e2e wireless™. CENTRA’s extensive flexibility provides unparalleled fitting ease and consumer usability.

CENTRA continues to elicit extremely positive reviews from both hearing care professionals and patients. “My patients like wearing hearing instruments now,” says an audiologist who feels “CENTRA is the best.” e2e wireless is one of the reasons this audiologist gives for CENTRA’s success with her patients. She also credits CENTRA Life, an open-ear BTE, with successfully introducing new patients to amplification.

Siemens continues its promise to address hearing care professionals’ needs with the introduction and enhancement of iScan™. iScan enables professionals to take a 3D image of an ear impression in their office and send it to Siemens via email. This new technology was introduced to reduce turnaround time, increase order accuracy, and eliminate the hassles of mail order.

Recent enhancements include an accuracy check reminder to help ensure that the iScan is in top working order. Also, the software now double-checks each scan’s quality and if data is insufficient in any area of the ear impression, the iScan turntable repositions itself to reimage that area. In addition, iScan features optional acoustical sounds to alert the professional when scanning is complete, thus allowing the professional to focus on the patient and not the scanning process.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Siemens will continue to lead the dynamic hearing industry with new technologies and service and support programs that address specific hearing care professional and consumer needs.

Siemens Hearing Instruments
Piscataway, NJ ; (800) 766-4500

HR Headlines
•   “Digital Noise Reduction: Yes, There is Research Supporting its Effectiveness” by Pamela Burton, Carolyn Smaka, and Thomas Powers, (March 2006).
•   “How to Reduce Annoying Transient Noises to Increase Patient Satisfaction,” (July 2006).
•   “Does In-Office Electronic Scanning of Impressions Really Change Everything?” by William Lesiecki (Jan 2006).
•   Siemens offers Centra hearing instrument (July 2006).

SoniC Innovations
Looking Back at 2006…
Looking back on 2006, SONIC innovations introduced three compelling product solutions and new fitting tools designed to assist hearing care professionals better satisfy the needs of their patients.

Ion is the smallest, most powerful open-ear hearing aid ever developed. With unbeatable cosmetics and comfort, Ion provides a high frequency fitting range up to 80 dB. To make a great product even better, this autumn, Ion+ was launched. Ion+ is a standard ear hook that can be retro fit to any Ion and used with a custom mold. Ion+ offers a flat fitting range up to 80 dB.

Balance offers a new approach to premium digital hearing aid design. Balance gives you the best of both worlds by combining cutting-edge adaptive systems with proven digital hearing aid technology. The result is reliable performance and natural sound quality in a variety of listening environments. Balance features a Universal Listening Program, Hybrid Noise Reduction, Enhanced Adaptive DIRECTIONALfocus™, Hybrid Directionality, and Fixed and Adaptive Feedback Cancellation in a complete line of product models, including a new microBTE.

Natura Pro, the newest addition to the value-priced Natura family of products, gives you all the features you expect with the advancements of our latest technology. Packed with S.M.A.R.T. Technology, Noise Reduction, Feedback Cancellation, and DIRECTIONALplus™, Natura Pro makes priceless conversations affordable for your patients.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Moving forward in 2007, hearing care professionals can continue to expect the best in products and service from SONIC innovations, as we continue to develop innovative solutions to help their business succeed.

Sonic Innovations
Salt Lake City ; (888) 423-7834

HR Headlines
•   “The Value Proposition of Open-Fit Hearing Aids,” by Christopher Schweitzer and Sally K. Jessee (Sept 2006)
•   Michael Halloran named CFO of Sonic Innovations (Sept 2006).
•   “The Return of the Earmold,” by Darrell E. Rose (Aug 2006)
•   “How to Fit the Sonic Innovations Ion Device” (July 2006)
•   AAA Preview (Feb 2006, p 66) and IHS & ADA Preview (Sept 2006).

Looking Back at 2006…
One of Sonion’s motivations is to make smaller components without degrading performance. With hearing instrument transducers, the overall size (volume) of a component has an inverse effect on the acoustical performance. Making components smaller usually means the performance also gets less, and finding a balance becomes a challenge. Making a component smaller in size without degrading the performance creates a much better balance, which eventually creates the ability to make smaller hearing instruments.

Through Sonion’s innovation, we have developed a smaller microphone without sacrificing the performance seen on larger models. Our new 6200 series microphone is 40% smaller, but has similar or even better performance than the 9000 microphone. This advantage allows manufacturers to build smaller hearing instruments without compromising performance.

Sonion is pleased to present the next generation of protection for your hearing instrument transducers. Sonion’s C-Barrier™ solution is a completely new design that will help increase hearing instrument longevity (reducing field returns).  

The C-Barrier™ is an acoustically transparent membrane that sits at the end of the canal tip on a hearing instrument and physically blocks out unwanted foreign material such as cerumen and moisture from entering the sound tube. The C-Barrier™ membrane can be easily cleaned by using a soft tissue. The replacement and insertion of C-Barrier™ can be performed by either the dispensing professional or end-user.

Moving Forward to 2007…
Sonion will continue developing new innovations and improve the performance and reliability for all of our components. And to better support our growth and market demands, Sonion will be finalizing the building of a new production facility in Vietnam, and the first production will be a complete new line of our popular 3000 series. Sonion already has manufacturing facilities in Poland, China, and soon to be Vietnam.  

Sonion US
Minnetonka, Minn ; (952) 543-8500

HR Headlines
•   “How Do Volume Controls Work, and Do Hearing-Impaired Consumers Really Need Them?” by Morten Wagner (Nov 2006).
•   Sonion launches its new Web site (Oct 2006).
•   BHI mini-documentary sponsored by Sonion (Sept 2006).
•   Industry Insider: Lars Ronn, President of Sonion (July 2006).

Looking Back at 2006…
The past year was a year that was both challenging and exciting for Westone. In June, we lost our CEO of the past 20 years, Randy Morgan, to an aggressive form of brain cancer. Randy was widely known and respected in the industry, and will be missed by all of us. Upon Randy’s passing, Westone’s Chief Operating Officer, Lynn Kehler, was named president.  

But it was also a very exciting year! We expanded our selection of clinical supplies and custom earpieces, including several great custom earpiece options for thin-tube, open-fitting hearing instruments. In October, Westone’s Colorado Springs headquarters achieved ISO 9001:2000 quality management certification. We will be working to certify our Renton, Washington and Kalamazoo, Michigan manufacturing facilities in 2007.

Moving Forward to 2007…
The future has never looked better for Westone and our customers! We are excited about introducing ongoing improvements in our product quality and customer service through our ISO quality management system. We are also focusing on a variety of different production technologies, including 3D stereo lithography (SLA) manufacturing of earpieces (Westone’s “FIT” technology).  

Westone’s music products division will be introducing some exciting new products, as we continue to gain market share in the professional musician market as well as the consumer/personal listening (iPod®) market.

As we go forward, our number-one priority is to meet or exceed our customers’ expectations. We will continue to follow “The Golden Rule” and treat our customers like we always have—as a valued part of the Westone family.

As always, “Thanks for thinking of Westone!”

Westone Laboratories Inc
Colorado Springs, Colo ; (800) 525-5071

HR Headlines
•   “How to Achieve Custom-Fit Comfort with an Open-Fit Hearing Instrument” (July 2006).
•   Obituary: Westone President and CEO Randy Morgan (July 2006)
•   Industry Insider: Westone Customer Service Manager Hank Netherton (June 2006).
•   Westone offers its latest supply catalog (May 2006).

Widex Hearing Aid Co
Looking Back at 2006…
In 2006, Widex celebrated its 50th anniversary as one of the world’s largest and most respected manufacturers of hearing instruments.  Hal-Hen also celebrated its 60th anniversary as the dominant supplier of hearing care accessories. 2006 saw Widex introduce the breakthrough of Integrated Signal Processing in INTEO CIC to Power BTE hearing instruments. INTEO, which the company asserts is “The World’s Smartest Hearing Aid”, was an important success for Widex. And INTEO was the focus of many of the company’s national seminars for professionals. 

In 2006, both Widex and Hal-Hen continue their worldwide charitable efforts on behalf of underprivileged hearing-impaired children in many countries, including Ghana-West Africa, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Russia. These charitable endeavors are still coordinated by Harold Spar & Henry Meltsner—the men who originally began Hal-Hen (1946) and Widex USA (1956) after their service in the US Navy.

In 2006, Widex also announced promotions for outstanding personnel such as Cheryl Anderson, Peaches Bush, Brent Crayton, Rena Heywood, Mary Johnson, Jamie Katz, Corrinne Masto, and Nilda Rosario, among others.

Moving Forward to 2007…
INTEO and the significant benefits of Integrated Signal Processing remain at the forefront of Widex’s plans for 2007.  

Leading the Widex Office of Clinical Research in Clinical Amplification (ORCA) is Director of Audiology Francis Kuk, PhD. ORCA is tasked with documenting the efficacy of the products, as well as generating educational materials used in professional training. ORCA will continue their efforts in 2007, creating professional seminars that focus on technology, fitting rationales, fitting experiences, and the hot topics of the day.

Widex Hearing Aid Co
Long Island City, NY ; (800) 221-0188

HR Headlines
•   “Hal-Hen & Widex USA Celebrate Landmarks” (Nov 2006).
•   “Linear Frequency Transposition: Extending the Audibility of High-Frequency Information,” by Francis Kuk (Oct 2006).
•   Widex Congress of Pediatric Audiology (July 2006).
•   “Where an Accurate Fitting Begins: Assessment of In-Situ Acoustics (AISA),” by Francis Kuk and Norton Nordahn (July 2006).