Updated on March 8, 2022
An article in MedWatch notes the disruptions in trading created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Demant and GN have chosen to suspend all trade with Russia, while WS Audiology says trading with Russia is impossible due to its invasion of Ukraine and airspace restrictions.
A number of global hearing aid manufacturers and their chief executives have commented via social media posts on the situation:
GN, on its LinkedIn page, wrote: “When Russia invaded Ukraine last week, GN discontinued all shipping of products to Russia. Further to this, GN has suspended all trading with Russia until further notice. Last but not least, GN will donate USD 1 million to UNICEF to be used to alleviate the situation for the children of Ukraine.“
The WS Audiology LinkedIn page stated: “Like many of our employees, customers, and friends, we are devastated about the invasion and everyday worsening situation in Ukraine. Since the start of the invasion, we have been in daily contact with our Ukrainian employees and their families, and we are doing everything we can to help them get to a safer place. It is very difficult, but we do not give up. Many WSA employees and customers in other parts of the world feel closely connected to the situation, because they were born in Ukraine, lived there, or have family and friends in the country. For them, the unfolding situation is hard to handle, looking at what they hear in the news and read in the papers. It is tough to watch and not being able to do anything. WSA will be making a donation to the Red Cross this week to support their work in providing urgently needed protection and medical care for civilians fleeing the attacks.”
Demant CEO Søren Nielsen wrote on his personal LinkedIn page, “During the past week, we have all sadly been witnessing the tragic events that have taken place in and outside Ukraine. My thoughts and concerns go to all the people affected, not the least our employees from Ukraine, Russia and Poland, who are directly and indirectly affected and are going through very tough times. Our focus is on people and to help ease the situation for the many innocent civils, our majority owner William Demant Foundation has donated DKK 8 million [about $1 million] to humanitarian aid in and outside Ukraine to meet the growing needs of children and families, including those on the move.”
One of the first to comment on the crisis was Sonova CEO Arnd Kaldowsi who wrote on February 25, as Russia invaded Ukraine: “Like many of you, I was shocked to wake up to the news of the invasion of Ukraine, a sovereign nation in Europe. While the situation had already kept us alerted over the past weeks and months, still seeing this happen in this day and age and after the progress we made over decades in Europe, is hard to believe. My immediate thoughts are with the people of Ukraine, those affected most urgently by this attack. And I share the heartfelt worries of all of you that have family or friends in the region. I also acknowledge the fear of many people that this conflict will spread. It is a scary thought. As a global company with employees in the wider Eastern European region, naturally their safety is of utmost concern to us. And so is the protection and safety of our customers and partners. I want to emphasize here that I personally do not condone or support violent conflict. And I know that the entire Sonova team, located all around the world, joins me in this sentiment. Please, everyone, stay safe in these times. And united as human beings.”
A subsequent article in Medwatch reported that Sonova “announced that it had no intentions to cease trading with Russia following the invasion of neighboring country Ukraine.” On Thursday, March 3, Sonova stated “Following Switzerland’s adoption of the EU’s economic sanctions on Russia, Sonova has suspended supply of all non-medical devices to the country, such as the Sennheiser consumer hearing devices. As a hearing care provider, however, we believe we have an ongoing responsibility towards people with hearing loss. Therefore, we decided to continue providing medical devices such as hearing aids, cochlear implants and required accessories to people with hearing loss in Russia.”