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Widex Senso Digital Hearing Aid

HearWHAC HearWHAC at netins.net
Mon May 20 10:17:15 EST 1996


Sorry for this long post! Put it in the garbage can if you wish.

Ken says...
>A few questions from a paying customer (about the)
>Widex Senso Digital Hearing Aid <snip>? Other than
>the Senso, does Widex produce any other aids?

Yes, they do have a fairly complete line of hearing aids.

>I gather that Resound is a major player in the hearing aid industry.
>How far away are they from producing a digital aid?

Last month Resound entered into an alliance with Danavox and AudioLogic to 
develop a common hardware platform for a digital hearing aid. They don't 
expect to have digital technology available until late 1997.

>How old is the circuitry in the Senso?

It takes several years to develop a new hearing aid. Widex and Oticon are 
both Danish companies that compete ferociously. They have been in a race to 
see which one could get their digital hearing aid to market first. Although 
I understand Oticon has some beta models of their digital DigiFocus in the 
US in field trials, I don't believe it is available yet to the public. The 
Widex digital Senso is actually available to the public, although at this 
time there is backlog of orders that is delaying delivery up to six or more 
weeks.

>How do I, or my audiologist, get in touch with Widex?

Your audiologist will know how to get in touch with Widex. They are a 
well-know company

Paul Woodard ;-)

Disclaimer: The idea of "digital" hearing aids is certainly not new. We 
first heard of this "dream" many years ago. Wayne Staab was quite excited 
about this many years ago when he was President of a company called 
Audiotone. They did a lot of research, but I don't believe they ever brought 
anything to market. Nicolett actually introduced a digital hearing aid. To 
sell one of those hearing aids, Darrel Teter once said that "lightning would 
have to strike twice": first, when you told the patient that it was going to 
cost $2,000 (this was many, many years ago when hearing aids did not cost 
that much) and second, when you announced to the patient, "Oh yes, and it is 
a 'body aid.'" Needless to say, this effort also failed.

We do not know at this time if the digital technology is really going to be 
that great! (Sure, we hope it will.) I recall when Maico introduced the 
"Directional" microphone back in the very early 1970's. All the other 
companies "pooh poohed" it (because Maico owned the patent and they couldn't 
use it). One year later I attended a Qualitone seminar and I will never 
forget their saying, "You remember when we said the 'directional mike' 
wasn't any good? Well, we've now decided it is good." (Which simply meant 
that Knowles Electonics had found a way to make a directional microphone 
that got around Maico's patents and the new mike was available to all 
manufacturers.) 

If the digital technology is any good, I predict Gennum or somebody else 
will introduce a chip and make it available to all manufacturers. In the 
meantime, Widex and Oticon are making the big gamble! More power to them! 
May they succeed!





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