Roger Juneau
President
General Hearing Instruments Inc.

HR spoke with Roger Juneau, president of General Hearing Instruments Inc, New Orleans, about current products and future developments at GHI.

What’s new at GHI?
There are a number of exciting things happening at GHI. This has been an extremely successful year on the lecture circuit—our Open Ear Fitting and Broad-Band Digital technology presentations have been well attended. In addition, we are in the planning stages for expanding our manufacturing facility, which will double our production capability within the next year. This expansion, in large part, is due to the rapid growth of our ReadyWear™ products and our custom broad-band digital products.

How does your company set itself apart from the competition?
GHI is primarily an engineering-based company rather than a marketing-oriented one. Because of that, we remain one of the hearing industry’s best kept secrets. We’ve maintained a market niche by offering unique, innovative products not offered by larger, more conservative manufacturers, such as our tinnitus management devices and the Canal Open Ear™.

Additionally, we have dramatically improved the durablility of the custom SoSoft™ and Simply ReadyWear line of hearing instruments by utilizing a patented stainless steel wire technology.

Due to our emphasis in engineering, GHI is proud to announce that it was one of 12 finalists awarded Innovator of the Year 2003 by the New Orleans City Business. We were recognized for the development of the patented SoftEar™ technology.

What can we expect from GHI in the future?
General Hearing will continue to focus on research and development. GHI currently holds 19 US and foreign patents directly related to hearing device technology. We currently are involved with two research grants, which will have a profound impact on the SoftEar technology, and on a deeper understanding of tinnitus and true “net zero” hearing protection, enhancement, and communication.


 Tricia Mikolai
Marketing Manager
Maico Diagnostics

Tricia Mikolai, marketing manager of Maico Diagnostics, Eden Prarie, Minn, spoke with HR about how Maico utilizes technology in product development.

What is Maico’s most popular product?
The EroScan™ is Maico’s most popular product. It’s an otoacoustic emissions (OAE) test system that measures OAEs that are present in nearly all normal hearing ears. The test takes 10 to 30 seconds per ear and does not require a response from the patient. The OAEs travel back to a microphone in the probe where the data is calculated for the results—either “pass” or “refer.” “Pass” indicates normal OAEs which correlate to normal hearing and normal cochlear function; “refer” means the OAEs are not present and suggests a possible hearing loss greater that 30 dB HL, or an outer or middle ear disorder like otitis media.

How do you utilize new technology in product development?
New technology allows much faster testing so that health care professionals can perform tests on restless children or children with special needs more easily. Later this fall, for example, Maico will release the Maico MB 11, a handheld ABR screener for newborns that uses a new patented concept for testing: three stainless steal electrodes that don’t need to be attached to the infant. Advantages include significantly lower cost of disposables or none at all, and gentler administration of the test for the infant. The MB 11 also features new software that will reduce testing time.

What makes Maico unique?
Maico Diagnostics has been a leader in hearing testing equipment since 1937. We often hear from people who tell us they’ve been using the same Maico audiometer since the 80s. Maico’s specialty is in hearing screening products such as those used for screening newborns, small children, and school-aged children. Our screening niche gives us a perspective that our competitors may not have: that there is a need to educate people about the importance of hearing screening at even the infant stage.