STAEFA, SWITZERLAND — Major hearing instrument manufacturer Sonova, during its 2015 Investor and Analyst Day at its international headquarters in Switzerland, has confirmed that it will incorporate 2.4GHz wireless connectivity, with a new chip, in its next generation of hearing instruments. The new chip will use the standard protocol, rather than the current 2.4GHz system used in conjunction with Phonak’s Roger Pen. The company projects they will move to the new wireless platform by late 2016 or early 2017.
Analysts had previously criticized Sonova, the largest hearing aid manufacturer in the world, for not using 2.4GHz wireless connectivity or some other type of dongle-free direct hearing aid audio streaming. Failure to incorporate such connectivity seemed to put Sonova at a competitive disadvantage, especially in light of GN ReSound’s substantial success using 2.4GHz connectivity in its instruments.
2.4GHz Becoming Industry Standard
While some hearing aid manufacturers have developed their own proprietary wireless systems, the 2.4GHz system was first adopted and widely promoted by GN ReSound.
The major advantage and appeal, for consumers and professionals, is due to the fact that using the 2.4GHz system no longer requires a need for an intermediary device (i.e., remote or dongle such as Phonak’s Roger) to relay the audio signal back to the hearing aids. Hearing aid users can now directly stream audio to their hearing aids and access their instrument settings through an iPhone or Android App.
Whether or not Sonova’s decision to adopt and implement 2.4GHz wireless connectivity into its upcoming products will have any significant impact on other manufacturers’ competitiveness remains to be seen.