Events | October 2019 Hearing Review
About 25 industry journalists and bloggers who report on the hearing industry were provided with Sonova’s view of the future—as well as a sneak peek at the Marvel 2.0 hearing aid—during a special Global Media Day event held in late June at the company’s headquarters in Stäfa, Switzerland. The 1-day tour of the facility and presentations by Sonova executives showcased the company’s commitment to “creating hearing solutions that change people’s lives so they can thrive socially and emotionally.” It also offered insights into the world’s largest hearing device manufacturer—which includes the Phonak, Unitron, Advanced Bionics, and Hansaton brands.
Christine Jones, AuD, vice president of Audiology for Phonak US, set the stage by reminding visitors the reason for all of Sonova’s efforts: “Well hearing is well-being.” She reviewed numerous research studies that link better hearing with better social-emotional, physical, and cognitive health. Dr Jones also emphasized that adherance to professional recommendations, enhanced social engagement, and better outcomes can result from family-centered care (or FCC, see the Phonak series about FCC in Hearing Review) and individualized intervention strategies.
Phonak Education and Training Manager Tania Rodrigues demonstrated how all businesses are being transformed by the digital revolution, and showed why hearing healthcare will undergo a revolution due to eHealth. She says remote hearing care across the entire patient journey is now a reality with eAudiology (see the Hearing Review video and Phonak online series). For professionals, this means new opportunities for access and service delivery, practice differentiation, individualized patient care, up-to-date technology, and a better “work/life” balance, as well as greater customer satisfaction, loyalty, and work efficiencies. A consensus statement on recommendations for telehealth practices in hearing healthcare was published by Montano et al, who were part of a Phonak working group, in the September 2018 Hearing Review.
Hans Mulder, Sonova’s director of strategic marketing, showcased an innovation in Advanced Bionic (AB) cochlear implants that provides implant recipients with worry-free MRI scanning without removal of the implant. Additionally, he detailed new features in the Naída CI Connect which is designed to allow the device to “stream direct, hands free, to any device.” A long-time product developer in the area of assistive devices, Mulder also reviewed Phonak’s Roger systems. With Marvel 2.0, Phonak is making RogerDirect available to all Marvel hearing aids while expanding Marvel technology to more form factors.
Sonova Vice President of Marketing Martin Grieder presented his view of the dynamic hearing healthcare market, predicting that “moving forward, hearing aids will evolve into a multifunctional healthy hearing companion.” He believes that sensors for measuring health vitals, geofencing and geocuration (ie, the device understanding your history and needs in specific locations), and new features like those found in the new Marvel 2.0 will continue to enhance hearing aid performance, sound quality, first fittings, connectivity, rechargeability, and versatility.
Grieder introduced Julie Prutsman, AuD, a third-generation owner of several practices in the Denver area, who has been fitting Phonak Lyric extended-wear devices on people with tinnitus. Although she was careful to emphasize that research needs to be conducted on this topic, Dr Prutsman believes that the 24/7 sound stimulus from Lyric provides greater benefits in ease of amplification and relief for tinnitus patients.
Media members were also given a tour of the Phonak production and R&D facilities, and conducted interviews with select personnel, including Phonak’s retiring Vice President of Global Audiology Ora Buerkli-Halevi, MS, and other staff members (see next month’s HR).