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Manufacturers News

doi: 10.1097/01.HJ.0000559504.90049.2c
Manufacturers News

Manufacturers News covers the latest products, programs, and news from hearing health care companies. News releases and photographs are welcome. Please submit information to

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Innovation, research, continuity, reliability: these are the keys to MedRx's success over the past 25 years. MedRx, Largo, FL, was established in 1994 by Ron Buck after working for more than 10 years as a hearing aid dispenser. As a practice owner, he decided he needed a video otoscope, but found the market solutions to be too costly. Instead of giving in to the market, Buck decided to develop a video otoscope for his offices. He pulled an engineering friend out of retirement and they started development on his video otoscope ideas. By the time the project was complete, Buck had three of the most expensive video otoscopes known to man. At that point, he decided to take the video otoscopes he and his friend designed to market. This was the birth of MedRx. The result was incredible: five million dollars in a single year with a team of three people.

MedRx continued its market-leading innovation with the development of the Otowizard. Launched in 1997, the Otowizard was the first all-in-one computerized audiometer, real ear measurement, and otoscope. The Otowizard was neatly packed onto a rolling cart which could be moved around the office. MedRx built the Otowizard with products required in the hearing aid retail model. MedRx was focused on the retail model and practice owners. They were determined to produce solutions that help clinicians explain hearing loss easily to patients and visually show the benefits of hearing aids.

By 2017, MedRx had rounded off its modern product line. The products became easier to install and operate. The need for drivers has disappeared, and the ultimate portable audiometer and real ear device was created in the Avant ARC. The Avant ARC is a device that contains both an audiometer and real ear device (hence the name) in a single unit. MedRx has since expanded to clinical units with a high-frequency audiometer and the Tinnometer, a device designed specifically to assess and diagnose tinnitus.

Today, MedRx distributes its products in more than 60 countries worldwide. In celebration of its 25th anniversary, MedRx thanks the hearing care industry for its support and provides all purchases in May 2019 with a 25-month warranty.

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The Ida Institute has introduced new tools and educational resources for practicing and academic audiologists as well as AuD students at the 2019 American Academy of Audiology conference. The institute's new Ida Tools app allows clinicians to easily access and share relevant tools with patients to prepare them in advance for their appointments. To help audiologists upgrade their skills, the Ida University Course has added two new modules on teleaudiology and tinnitus management. The Ida Institute has also expanded its pediatric tool portfolio with My World, a tablet app designed as a board game that allows children with hearing loss to recreate their day and talk about how they communicate in different environments, and by adding a new section covering newborns to 3-year-olds to its Transitions Management resource for families with children with hearing loss. The Ida Institute will collaborate with Eileen Rall, AuD, from the Center for Childhood Communication at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia to further develop its pediatric resources in the coming year.

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Oticon's latest product, Oticon Opn Play, is designed specifically with the developmental needs of growing children in mind, from infants to teens. Opn Play gives hearing impaired children access to 360 degrees of sound, enabling them to better hear and learn from the world around them, which is critical to their overall development. The new hearing aid also prevents and eliminates hearing aid feedback. The internet-enabled Oticon Opn Play connects seamlessly with smartphones, tablets, and other electronics, and one style includes compatibility with Oticon's Amigo FM system, especially important in helping children stay tuned in to the learning environment. A Bluetooth receiver in Opn Play allows the hearing aid to seamlessly connect with the Oticon ConnectClip, a small wireless microphone that can be worn by a parent, teacher, or other speakers. The Bluetooth connectivity also lets caregivers adjust the hearing aid volume or check the battery status through the Oticon ON app. Oticon Opn Play comes four styles that are suited to a child's specific hearing needs and personal preferences: miniRITE, miniRITE R with a rechargeable battery, miniRITE T with a telecoil, and BTE PP (Plus Power).

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Semtech and Sonova have jointly developed the ultra-small integrated circuit, which will enable support for multiple radio protocols in the 2.4 GHz band and effective operation on low power for a new generation of hearing aids. Marc Secall, the director of research and development wireless at Sonova, said this chip allows Sonova to move in a new direction with their hearing aids. “It allows them to support a number of applications that have previously not been possible in a hearing aid, all at low power consumption and low supply voltage,” he said. “Possible applications span from connectivity to any Bluetooth-enabled audio device (e.g., a smartphone or television) to full duplex audio streaming between hearing aids and connectivity to wireless microphones.” Jean-Paul Bardyn, the vice president of research and development of Semtech's wireless and sensing products group, said by implementing Semtech's technology and enabling access to the cloud, hearing devices will enrich the IoT-connected solutions that Semtech is serving with LoRa Technology.

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