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Phonak International

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Updated May 08, 2011

What is Phonak:

Phonak International is a large international company, a hearing aid manufacturer that is part of the Sonova Group, and is headquartered in Switzerland. The company has a presence in more than 100 countries in the Americas, Asia, and Europe.

Phonak History and Highlights:

Phonak began in 1947 in Zurich, Switzerland when the company was set up by a group of investors. A marketing company was formed in the United States in 1989. Phonak product highlights include the introduction of MicroLink, a small FM receiver in 1996, and in 2003, Bluetooth-capable hearing aids. The company also opened production facilities in first China, and then Vietnam.

Phonak Hearing Products:

Phonak's hearing aid product lines run the usual gamut, from traditional behind-the-ear (BTE) to tiny in the canal hearing aids, and include water-resistant hearing aids. There is a special line of wireless cross-directional hearing aids for people with one-sided hearing loss. In one-sided hearing loss, one ear can not be helped with a hearing aid. The cross-directional hearing aids wirelessly transmit sound from the worse unaidable ear to a receiver in the normal or better hearing ear.

Other Phonak Hearing Products:

Phonak also makes a long-wearing hearing aid (Lyric) that is placed deep into the ear canal and left there for up to four months, 24 hours a day. The hearing aid is sold on a subscription model, and is meant for people with mild to moderately severe hearing loss.

Phonak is also known for its FM transmitters and receivers. FM systems work by transmitting sound from speakers, who wear small transmitter microphones. The speakers talk, and the sound is transmitted directly to the hearing aid (receiver) of the listener.

More About Phonak Products:

Phonak's hearing aids have won design awards like the red dot design award, and the Good Design award. Some hearing aids can be connected to a television set by means of Bluetooth. Phonak has a line of its own hearing aid batteries, and also makes earphones to protect against hearing loss. One interesting feature in Phonak hearing aids is called "DuoPhone." With DuoPhone, users can use the telephone in one ear, and the hearing aid transmits the sound to the other ear.

Other Phonak Initiatives:

Phonak has a separate website for Hear the World, a public relations initiative to increase awareness of hearing loss. In 2007, Phonak created a subsidiary, Phonak Acoustic Implants, to work on developing a middle ear implant.

Readers Respond: Managing Hearing Aid Costs

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