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MANUFACTURERS NEWS

doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000396591.72310.55
Departments: Manufacturers News
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Unitron opens new Moscow office, names president and CEO

KITCHENER, CANADA—Unitron has announced the opening of its newest company office in Moscow, Russia. The office, led by Sales Manager Tatyana Chuyko, is responsible for growing the brand and will manage the distribution of Unitron products and services to the Russian market.

Unitron Russia will offer a complete range of digital hearing instruments in premium and essential categories, technical support, training, and customer support services.

“We have a great opportunity to establish Unitron in Russia as one of the leading brands in our field,” said Chuyko. “We already have in place the key components of success, with a complete and innovative product portfolio, rising market demand, an established global support network, and an accomplished and enthusiastic team.”

Unitron also recently announced the appointment of Michael Tease to the position of President and CEO. Tease will lead Unitron's global operations from the company's Kitchener headquarters.

“The hearing healthcare industry is poised for significant growth and expansion,” said Tease, “and I believe Unitron has the right mix of people, products, and customer partnerships to achieve long-lasting brand leadership, and to make a true difference in people's lives.”

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ReSound releases Alera Extensions

BLOOMINGTON MN—ReSound has released extensions to its wireless hearing aid, Alera, which is now available with configurable BTE and Remote Microphone Technology custom enhancements.

The Remote Microphone model takes advantage of natural directivity afforded by the pinna and external ear, allowing the natural ear to collect, direct, and amplify sound waves. When the product is in the concha, sound moves naturally through the folds and whorls of the ear, allowing the listener to locate sounds that come from behind, and more easily identify the source of the sound. The Remote Microphone also provides significant wind noise reduction benefits.

The configurable Alera BTE provides both standard and power options for patients. The behind-the-ear design combines a standard power and a high power hearing instrument in one product, which can easily be converted to a very small high power instrument, with one housing for both. The BTE provides patients with an adaptable hearing instrument solution should their hearing change over time.

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Both new models also feature wireless connections to TV, stereo, and telephones for convenience and optimal listening experience.

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Otometrics moves into new US headquarters

Otometrics has moved its US headquarters to a larger, more modern setting—a move prompted by the company's growth.

“Expansion into a state-of-the-art facility will afford our professional staff with more opportunities to push customized professional training beyond the limits of live and in person,” said Dan McNulty, general manager of Otometrics U.S.

The new education center will include exam suites for hearing aid fitting, balance assessment, and hearing assessment, with a fully functional sound booth. Customers and sales professionals will also be able to train in a clinical environment, improving skill sets and sharing best practices.

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Phonak releases new style and product selection guide

STÄFA, SWITZERLAND—Phonak has created a new interactive style and product selection guide. The multimedia tool covers hearing loss, audiogram, style selection, hearing needs, and proposed solutions.

In the Audiogram section, the hearing care professional can enter the client's individual audiogram and use an illustrated graphic to explain the consequences of hearing loss.

The selection guide includes a hearing aid styles menu, and a hearing needs section where a user's individual hearing needs can be determined by selecting the relevant listening situations that impact the recommended level of technology described in the hearing solutions chapter.

Designed for use with any fitting software, the tool is available in English, German, French, and Spanish, and can be individually branded to the fitter's office. It also does not require internet access.

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Avada honors top clinicians and offices

LOUISVILLE—Avada Audiology and Hearing Care Centers has named five clinicians as 2010 All Stars for a successful year of going above and beyond usual expectations and exceeding in all areas of patient care.

The All Stars, chosen from among 280 Avada offices nationwide, are: Julie Krupp, Becky Israel, Mary Beth Wright, Amanda Richardson, and Donald Szmanda.

Steve Barlow, CEO of Avada and Chairman of the Board of Managers of HHM, commended each, stating, “Out of all the Avada clinicians across the nation, Julie, Becky, Mary Beth, Amanda, and Donald deserve special recognition based on their significant number of satisfied patients and continual commitment to the Avada Mission Statement: to serve the hearing impaired with the highest degree of professionalism, technology and service available.”

The top 5 offices for 2010 include: Middletown, KY, Portland, OR, Aberdeen, WA, Centralia, WA, and Tyler, TX. This commendation not only rewards the centers with the highest revenue production, but also honors the centers for their significant number of satisfied patients treated within the past year.

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New extensions to Beltone True product line

CHICAGO—Beltone has released the Beltone True MIC, a wireless microphone-in-concha custom instrument, and the Beltone True Flex BTE—an instrument that can be converted to normal power, high-power, and open configurations. Both are part of the Beltone True product line, a group of hearing instruments that wirelessly receive sound directly from the TV, cell/home phone, stereo, PC, and iPod via a 2.4 GHz signal.

The Beltone True MIC leverages the ear's anatomy to provide a discreet appearance for quality instrument performance, taking advantage of the ear's ability to deliver natural sound quality, directional cues, and wind noise reduction. It's available in all three technology levels (True 17, 9, and 6) and two style options, 15M (10a battery), and the 35M (312 battery), which offers wireless functionality.

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The Flex BTE is aimed at patients with hearing on the border between moderate and severe. The instrument offers a standard or power solution in both an open or closed configuration and a wide fitting range, which allows it to adapt to the patient's changing hearing loss and amplification needs.

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Oticon appoints new staff

SOMERSET, NJ—Oticon Medical recently announced the appointment of Alan Raffauf, MA, as vice president of marketing. In this newly created position, Raffauf will be responsible for developing and driving the company's strategic marketing communication plan in the US, and building awareness of Oticon as a provider of bone anchored hearing solutions.

“Alan begins his new role at a critical juncture in Oticon Medical's development, as we continue to expand penetration of leading US academic institutions and centers of excellence in bone conduction implantation and audiology,” said Oticon Medical general manager Jes Olsen.

Raffauf previously served as global product manager at Oticon's Kongebakken headquarters. As a product manager for Oticon, Inc., he was responsible for the successful US launch of the Oticon Delta.

Karen Mikami, MA, has also joined Oticon Medical as a clinical audiologist, covering the western region of the US She has over 20 years of experience in research, development, education, and training of advanced hearing healthcare systems. In previous positions with hearing aid and implantable device companies, Mikami has provided clinical, sales, and marketing support to healthcare professionals.

Maureen Winter, RN, is the new sales and customer support manager for Oticon Medical, serving hospitals, surgical centers, and clinics in the Midwest region. With more than 10 years of experience as a registered nurse working in ENT, Head and Neck, in both hospital and clinical settings, Winter brings considerable expertise in sales and training in medical devices, endoscopic surgical instruments, flexible and rigid scopes, and endoscopic video systems.

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Poker tournament raises awareness for Starkey and PROS FOR AFRICA

MINNEAPOLIS—Africa's hearing-impaired children were the winners of the Raise Your Hand for Africa Texas Hold'em Tournament, where stars from the gridiron, poker world, Hollywood, and music industry put their cards on the table in February at the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas.

The event was attended by more than 350 participants and raised awareness for the Starkey Hearing Foundation and PROS FOR AFRICA, a non-profit relief organization providing basic needs to children of Africa. Both organizations supported a combined African mission in March where more than 25 football stars brought basic necessities to the people of Africa. The Starkey Hearing Foundation also traveled to Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi, distributing hearing aids and batteries, and providing custom fittings, audio testing, and counseling on how to care for the devices.

Taking the event's top prize, a 2011 CSM #2 Shelby Mustang, was poker novice Debbie Gostowski of Family Care Hearing Center in Effingham, IL.

“The Starkey Hearing Foundation's mission is to bring the gift of hearing to those in need,” said Bill Austin, CEO of Starkey and Founder of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. “Our goal is to raise awareness to help the world's hearing impaired, and we thank the football and entertainment communities as well as our event partners for staging this great tournament in support of our mission to Africa.”

The nationally-syndicated poker show, Heartland Poker Tour, will produce a one-hour special episode highlighting Raise Your Hand for Africa that includes HPT's final table set and on-air commentators Fred Bevill and Chris Hanson. The special will air nationwide the week of April 11.

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Paul Erickson rejoins Starkey Group

MINNEAPOLIS—NuEar has named Paul Erickson as its new managing director.

“We are excited to welcome Paul back to the Starkey Group,” said Brandon Sawalich, senior vice president of sales, marketing, and customer relations for Starkey. “Paul brings vast experience as well as vision and leadership to our NuEar team and is committed to strengthening the company.”

Erickson has worked in the hearing industry for many years in a number of capacities, including retail operations, marketing, and organizational development. At NuEar he will be responsible for the overall growth, development, and strategy of the company.

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ChaseHealthAdvance announces patient financing for audiology practices

WILMINGTON, DEL.—ChaseHealthAdvance, part of Chase Card Services, a division of JP Morgan Chase & Co., is expanding into audiology to provide the latest in patient financing for practices and patients focused on hearing solutions.

“ChaseHealthAdvance is thrilled to offer its innovative tools and advanced financing options to the Audiology practices,” says Barry Trexler, senior vice president of sales and marketing for ChaseHealthAdvance. “This new space allows more patients in need of hearing solutions to afford the treatments they've always wanted— with flexible payment options, a convenient online application, and instant credit decisions.”

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Sonic Innovations introduces new wireless connectivity product line

SALT LAKE CITY—Sonic Innovations, Inc. has expanded its hearing instrument offerings to include Varicom, a new line of wireless connectivity hearing aids. The Varicom5 and Varicom9 products include three behind-the-ear (BTE) devices, a compact power BTE, a microBTE and a nanoBTE, as well as an in-the-canal-device (ITCD).

Varicom5 and Varicom2 technology levels include basic binaural device communication that allows the hearing instrument in one ear to coordinate with the instrument in the other. Volume and program adjustments are made in parallel. Varicom9 also includes feedback detection, non-telephone ear control, and other features to give the patient the processing power of two hearing aids.

The new multi-environment system allows Varicom to adapt to changes in the patient's ever-changing soundscape. Varicom's other key features include feedback cancellation, directional technologies, digital noise reduction, Bluetooth compatibility via the SoundGate streamer, automatic and manual programs, telephone listening options, binaural coordination, and open fitting options.

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First audiology-based franchise model from Sonus

MINNEAPOLIS—Sonus, a division of Amplifon USA, has announced the hearing industry's first audiology-based franchise model. Sonus now offers audiologists the opportunity to own their own practice, with all of the benefits and support of a franchise system, in an effort to create a more entrepreneurial hearing health industry.

To lead the effort, Sonus has hired hearing care business leader, Dr. Kathy Foltner to serve as vice president for franchise sales-east. She will work alongside Dr. Thomas Tedeschi, vice president for franchise sales west.”

In her new role, Dr. Foltner will be responsible for expanding Sonus through assisting new and experienced audiologists with entering, expanding, or exiting a private practice.

“The Sonus Franchise is what has been missing in our industry. It provides the professional structure, support, and resources to reduce the risk that many fear about private practice,” said Dr. Foltner. “It also provides the tools to manage and expand existing private practices, and it allows seasoned practice owners a great method to transition a private practice to a new audiologist owner.”

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Audifon USA adds to staff

DeBary, FL—Audifon USA has named Grant Smith vice president of Sales. Grant, a 24-year veteran of the hearing aid industry, will use his experience in marketing and sales management to promote the audifon brand and expand sales throughout the US market.

Audifon also added Eunice Straw, MS,CCC-A, to its team of audiologists. Straw comes to audifon from Purdue University, and brings 12 years of combined clinical and dispensing experience with acute care hospitals and ENT clinics. Additionally, Straw brings six years of previous manufacturing experience providing technical training and support for sales and customer service staff and for hearing instrument professionals.

“Eunice will strengthen our outstanding customer service by offering her knowledge to our staff and hearing care professionals,” said Jane Perrone, vice president of US Operations. “Most exciting is that we will soon be able to offer CEU courses to audiologists and hearing instrument specialists.”

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.