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doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000370865.52645.39
Manufacturers News

Each month, Manufacturers News brings readers the latest information on new products and programs, plus other news from the companies that supply products and services to hearing healthcare professionals. Please submit information to David Kirkwood, Editor, The Hearing Journal, 108 E 96th St., Suite 16C, New York, NY 10128, fax 212/784-1149; e-mail

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Oticon's Agil designed to reduce the strain of listening>

SOMERSET, NJ—Oticon Inc. ( introduced its most advanced signal processing concept yet with the launch last month of Oticon Agil, a second-generation wireless hearing instrument family. The company says that Agil takes speech understanding in noise to a new level while demanding significantly less cognitive effort from the wearer.

New audiological concepts in Agil are designed to preserve the natural characteristics of speech, while enriching the sound quality so the brain can use fewer of its resources for listening. As a result, the user should have more residual energy for other important tasks such as full social interaction.

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“Researchers have long been aware that preserving as much of the original signal as possible is key to reducing the listening effort and revolutionizing speech intelligibility,” said Peer Lauritsen, Oticon's president. “This is what Agil brings within reach.”

In addition to reducing cognitive demands on the wearer, Agil offers many other premium features and user benefits, said Oticon, including excellent speech understanding in noise; improved audio through wireless technology for open fittings and enhanced 3D listening; new audiological concepts Speech Guard, Spatial Sound 2.0, and Connect(+); RISE II, a processing platform with twice the calculation power of RISE; attractive miniRITE styles, 30% smaller than Epoq; a flexible RITE speaker solution in three speaker power levels, covering mild to severe losses with the same instrument; a power CIC for severe hearing losses; a choice of performance levels and price points: Agil and Agil Pro; and full ConnectLine compatibility.

Spatial Sound 2.0 is a binaural processing system that preserves naturally occurring spatial cues and emphasizes the ear with better SNR ratio for improved understanding when necessary. Speech Guard is a dual-analysis signal processing technology designed to improve speech by preserving the fine modulation and details of the sound signal even in difficult listening environments. Connect(+) improves the sound quality of streamed music by restoring the bass frequencies typically lost through open fittings and by introducing a new sense of space and realism.

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Jerry Yanz joins Hansaton

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MINNEAPOLIS—Jerry Yanz, PhD, has been named director of audiology for Hansaton USA. Yanz is a senior audiologist and hearing scientist with more than 25 years experience in academia, clinical audiology, and hearing aid industry education and research.

In his new position, Yanz will be responsible for the training and education of the hearing aid manufacturers' partners and in-house staff and will be involved in ongoing product development.

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After running an audiology practice in St. Paul for a decade, Yanz became a prominent fixture in the hearing aid industry while working for several major firms. He was on the team that created the first hearing aid to use Bluetooth technology and has created and delivered educational and training programs for hearing professionals across the country and around the world.

He holds a PhD in audiology from the University of Iowa and was an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Communication Disorders.

“Jerry is truly an icon of our industry, and a critical success factor in building our business in the United States,” said Robert Eastman, president and CEO of Hansaton USA.

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ITC comes with a remote mic

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MINNEAPOLIS— Since pioneering remote microphones in 2008, ReSound ( has expanded this technology so more patients can benefit from it. Most recently, the company introduced ReSound Live ITC remote microphone custom hearing instruments.

Brian Tsuchiya, VP of custom business, said, “With these new models, hearing professionals can offer patients with a wider range of hearing losses, more lifestyle options, longer battery life, and proven performance benefits available only with remote microphone technology.”

According to ReSound, Live ITC gives patients more power in an instrument that is up to 40% smaller than other custom hearing aids. Its expanded fitting range accommodates 90% of hearing losses. It offers PhoneNow™ for automatic phone usage and it has extended battery life with a sixe 312 up to 165 hours.

The company says that its ITC model offers the “superior sound quality” available with all ReSound Live instruments, as well as remote microphone design engineered to use the natural shape of the ear to improve directivity, wind noise protection, and sound localization.

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30 million copies mailed

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WHITE PLAINS, NY—Hearing HealthCare News® (, a customized patient newsletter, started in 1986, recently reached the 30-million copy mark.

After seeing how patients responded to a newsletter in his own audiology practice, Dennis Hampton, PhD, began publishing customized versions for audiologists and hearing aid dispensers to send to their own patients. Since then, more than 500,000 hearing aid users throughout North America have received the newsletter.

Hearing HealthCare News also publishes Audiology HealthCare News®, a customized newsletter to send to physicians and other healthcare providers.

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Avada honors star performers

LOUISVILLE—Avada Audiology and Hearing Care Centers (, the operating subsidiary of Hearing Healthcare Management, Inc, (HHM), recently honored its top “all stars” of 2009 for going above and beyond expectations in patient care. The Avada All Stars include Tim Cross, Donald Szmanda, Amanda Richardson, Becky Israel, and Todd Williams. These five clinicians were selected from more than 280 Avada offices.

Steve Barlow, CEO of Avada, said that the honorees “deserve special recognition based on their significant number of satisfied patients and continual commitment to the Avada mission to serve the hearing impaired with the highest degree of professionalism, technology, and service available.”

The top five offices of 2009 cited for exceptional patient care were those in Portland, OR; Dayton, OH; Middletown, KY; Springfield, OH; and Menomonee Falls, WI.

Also, Avada recently concluded its Basic Technical and Sales Training School and its fourth School of Excellence for its clinicians. These programs are part of Avada University, the educational division of the company. Both were led by Antonio Calderon, MD, personnel development director.

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Starkey researchers touring

MINNEAPOLIS—Staff members from the Starkey Hearing Research Center, a division of Starkey Laboratories, Inc. ( have been invited to speak at a number of conferences around the world this year.

Karrie Recker, PhD, was a speaker at the National Convention of Audiology & Expo 2010 in Bogota, Colombia in February 17-20. Her topics were all hearing aid-related: acceptable noise level, hearing aids and cell phones, and high-frequency real-ear measurements.

Sridhar Kalluri, PhD, talked about “Binaural function and its benefits for wearers of hearing aids” to the Association of Independent Hearing Healthcare Professionals in Edinburgh, Scotland on February 26.

Brent Edwards, PhD, gave the opening keynote address, entitled “Binaural Psychoacoustic Considerations for Hearing Aid Processing,” before the Swedish Association for Technical Audiology in Stockholm on March 17.

The Starkey Hearing Research Center is located in Berkeley, CA, and is staffed by an interdisciplinary group of engineers and scientists who pursue research primarily in auditory perceptual science and signal processing technology.

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Bellman & Symfon exhibits

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SAN DIEGO—Bellman & Symfon AB (, a Swedish-based provider of user-friendly solutions for hearing loss, will be exhibiting its popular wireless alerting system April 15-17 at Booth 1044 at AudiologyNOW! 2010. Also on display will be new fully digital listening products, which the manufacturer says offer “easy handling and crystal-clear sound.”

Founded in 1989, Bellman & Symfon has some 40 staff members and engages about 120 people in its international operations. The company reaches more than 45 international markets. In the U.S., Bellman & Symfon's products are available from Harris Communications, Sound Clarity, and other partners.

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Unitron's U-Hear passes milestone

PLYMOUTH, MN—Unitron's uHear™ application recently surpassed the 300,000 download mark, making it the most widely distributed hearing screening test ever. uHear, a self-administered hearing screening test for the iPhone™ and iPod touch®, has been one of iTunes' top 10 medical downloads since its release. This reflects growing consumer interest in using discreet, free testing options.

Though a few applications (e.g., Facebook, Myspace) have drawn millions of downloads, the average is only about 3000, about 1% of uHear's number.

“It's great to see the response to uHear,” said Cameron Hay, president and CEO of Unitron worldwide. “It emphasizes the concern people may have about hearing loss, their own or family members.” He added, “With uHear's worldwide success, we are giving more people across the world an easy way to screen their own hearing performance.”

The application, which is available in English and French, can be downloaded free of charge through Apple iTunes at

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