Summary: WS Audiology is opening ORCA Asia, an audiological research laboratory in Singapore, supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board, to enhance hearing aid technology for the Asian population.


  1. ORCA Asia will conduct clinical research to improve hearing aids and hearing care quality, focusing on the needs of the Asian population.
  2. With hearing loss affecting 1.6 billion people worldwide, the lab aims to address the growing need for hearing rehabilitation, particularly in aging populations in Southeast Asia.
  3. The facility will bolster WSA’s R&D capabilities, creating high-skilled jobs and developing novel solutions tailored to Asian languages and demographics.

WS Audiology (WSA), a global leader in the hearing aid industry, is opening an audiological research laboratory in Singapore. Supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), WSA’s Office of Research in Clinical Amplification (ORCA) Asia will be a research laboratory dedicated to conducting audiological research for the Asian population.

Globally, the World Health Organization estimates there are 1.6 billion people who suffer from some kind of hearing loss.* By 2050, that number will increase to 2.5 billion, with at least 700 million requiring hearing rehabilitation, the company says. ORCA Asia will focus on carrying out clinical research to assess and improve the performance of hearing aids and the overall quality of hearing care.

About the WSA ORCA 

Located in WSA’s regional headquarters in Tai Seng, Singapore, ORCA Asia exemplifies WSA’s long-standing commitment to innovation in the hearing aid industry and to delivering optimal experiences for those with hearing loss. Singapore is a key research and development (R&D) hub for WSA, with a strong R&D setup boasting more than 200 members. This helps drive global product innovation and serves as the gateway to the Asia Pacific, one of the primary drivers of the company’s growth.

Establishing a specialized facility for auditory research will enhance WSA’s R&D capabilities, fostering critical expertise in this niche field to better serve the Asian population. ORCA Asia will create high-skilled jobs including roles such as research scientists, audiologists, acoustic engineers, and systems engineers that will push the boundaries in hearing aid technology.

Formed in 2019, through the merger of Sivantos and Widex, WSA combines over 140 years’ experience in pioneering the use of technology to help people with hearing loss hear the sounds that make life wonderful. Over the years, WSA’s Singapore site has been instrumental in product development for hearing aids and hearing aid chargers, rechargeability technology, and battery development.

Notably, key products designed in Singapore include the Styletto, a slim hearing aid with a portable charger, and the Signia Pure Charge&Go IX Hearing Aids, a hearing aid that identifies and locks on to the voice of every person in a conversation, enhancing their speech and reducing background noise.

A Milestone in Asia

400 million people live with hearing loss in Southeast Asia alone.** By 2050, one in four people will be over the age of 60, indicative of an aging population likely to increase the need for hearing care. ORCA Asia will play a pivotal role in providing innovative solutions to address this crucial area of concern, according to WSA.

“ORCA Asia will be the first auditory research center in Asia,” says Joerg Brandscheid, chief technology officer at WSA. “We will be tackling important regional issues such as improving hearing aid technology for Asian languages. We recognize the varying linguistic and demographic profiles across the region, and ORCA Asia will allow us to uncover information crucial for improving the experience of those impacted by hearing loss.”

Given the diversity of this region, ORCA Asia will look into research that will better understand the needs of the Asian population to deliver specific, novel solutions to ensure that individuals with hearing loss can enjoy the same opportunities and quality of life as those without, according to WSA.

“We welcome WSA’s decision to set up ORCA Asia, which builds upon its long-standing presence in Singapore as a hub for R&D, operations, manufacturing, and commercial activities,” says Goh Wan Yee, senior vice president and head for Healthcare at EDB. “This investment affirms Singapore’s position as a trusted location with multidisciplinary talent for global MedTech companies to innovate and serve the growing healthcare needs in Asia, and will bring new capabilities and job opportunities to Singapore.”

Continuing a Legacy 

ORCA Asia will be WSA’s third audiological research laboratory. Previously, ORCA US was established in Chicago, USA in 2001. In 2007, ORCA Europe was subsequently established in Stockholm, Sweden. Since then, both facilities have carried out valuable research providing greater insight into several crucial areas of understanding including hearing aid fitting and background noise reduction that can be utilized by R&D teams to increase the performance of WSA’s hearing solutions, the company says. Similar ambitions are in sight for ORCA Asia which is slated to open by 2026.

*WHO, World Report on Hearing, 2021

**WHO, World Hearing Day statement by Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, SEA Regional Director, 2021

Photo: WSA