The market offers exciting opportunities for new customer groups and new solution formats. Our consistent platform approach to product development in hearing instruments and cochlear implants – along with our continued high investment in research and development – allows us to countinously expand our product offering to exploit these opportunities.
At Sonova, we consider interdisciplinary collaboration as the guarantor of progress. Especially when it comes to as complex a subject as hearing. One key area of our innovation strategy therefore lies in establishing and promoting international networks where the specific knowledge of leading research bodies, hospitals, companies and institutions is pooled together, enriched and comes to fruition in new hearing solutions.
Long-term partnership and open exchange are the hallmarks of our collaboration with around fifty top-class universities and centers of excellence and technology. The focus of this interdisciplinary work is to leverage all potential for innovation: Together, we are broadening our understanding of auditory perception and its cognitive processing, driving forward digital signal processing and the miniaturization of electronics, improving material and implantation technologies and researching the possibilities of bionics.
We work especially closely with the international groups of experts from the Pediatric Advisory Board to develop hearing solutions that counteract hearing loss in early childhood and at the same time include and support the entire family.
Two examples of collaborations on research with top-class universities are around the topics of family centered care and correlation of hearing loss with other health problems.
In the research collaboration with the University of Queensland (Australia), we have been developing an approach to involve family members in the entire process of seeking advice on hearing rehabilitation and trying and using hearing instruments. Hearing loss affects not only the hearing impaired persons themselves but also impacts the life of their families. Support by family members is a very important contribution to successful uptake and usage of hearing rehabilitation and hearing instruments. The outcome of the research collaboration is a practical guideline for clinicians on how to successfully implement a family centered approach to hearing health care in their private audiology clinic.
In recent years several large cohort longitudinal studies have shown that the occurrence of hearing loss is strongly correlated with other health considerations in elderly people. In this research theme we have been studying various comorbidities between hearing loss and health issues such as psycho-social-health, depression, arthritis, cognitive decline, risk of falls and diabetes in collaboration with the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam (Netherlands). This research will provide us with a new, more holistic perspective of hearing health care in the broader context of healthy aging.
The digital revolution and the Internet of Things are making their way into various aspects of our lives. New, web-based business models are questioning the status quo because they promise more convenience, simplicity and freedom with smart technologies and services. We welcome this development, since maximum comfort and autonomy for the user, as well as flawless service, are also our key areas of innovation.
Digital technology and connectivity make Sonova hearing solutions smart companions that have about as much in common with the conventional idea of a hearing aid as iPods do with gramophones. Their sophistication is not just in terms of sound resolution and quality, speech intelligibility, form factor, or design – but also functionality: the hearing aid connects wirelessly to media players of all kinds. Music, TV sound, or phone calls can be enjoyed in excellent quality directly within the ear.
Thanks to a discreet Bluetooth microphone, hearing aid wearers can follow conversations even in noisy environments – in some cases better than a person without hearing loss. And a smartphone app lets the wearer control parameters and functions intuitively and individually.
Improving audiological quality and ease of operation is one thing; multiplying opportunities through networking is another: Our solutions go far beyond the individual hearing instrument, creating a digital experience that brings together, empowers, and supports the healthcare provider and the user, seamlessly and in real time, through all stages of the hearing journey.
From online-based histories and customer support to remote adjustment and optimization under real-life conditions, digitally networked solutions offer users a previously undreamed-of degree of control and freedom. Wherever users might be, their audiologist can be by their side online, directly capturing data on the specific audiological situation and providing immediate assistance.
Continuous data monitoring and statistical analysis of listening situations allow ever more user-specific fine tuning, as well as more targeted advice. Follow-up appointments are a thing of the past, spatial distance is no longer an issue: professional and personal assistance, as well as effortless instrument adjustment by the user, are only a screen tap away.
People with hearing loss can enjoy complete autonomy in a fully networked world of hearing. Our promise is to use and further expand these digital channels to establish one-to-one, real-time relationships with our customers.