Over the past several weeks, like other businesses around the globe, the hearing device industry has felt a significant impact from the coronavirus outbreak. Faced with economic uncertainty and full, or partial, closure of retail and private clinics across much of the US and Europe, hearing device makers find themselves trying to navigate an unrecognizable landscape.
Over the past few days, Hearing News Watch has received reports from several industry sources indicating layoffs or furloughs that are planned, or have already taken place, at multiple companies in the hearing industry.
One of those companies, Starkey Hearing Technologies, was willing to go on record and provided HHTM with the following statement:
“As a global healthcare company serving hearing professionals in more than 100 countries, Starkey understands all too well the impact COVID-19 has had on the economy and communities around the world.”
“Starkey was healthy and strong entering this global health pandemic. Due to the negative impact on the industry and our customers, we are right-sizing operations until the recovery begins. As a result, we have made the difficult decision to furlough approximately 10% of our global workforce. We view these furloughs as temporary and will continue to provide health benefits to those impacted. CEO Bill Austin and I do not take lightly our responsibility to our employees, their families and the people we serve. Effective immediately, Mr. Austin and I will not be taking salaries. Executives and Vice Presidents are also voluntarily cutting their pay.”
“This is a difficult time for everyone, but I am confident we are making the right decisions to ensure Starkey remains strong
after this global crisis passes. We look forward to continuing to lead and innovate the hearing healthcare industry while
fulfilling our mission of serving our customers better than anyone else.”
–Brandon Sawalich, President, Starkey
In a follow-up discussion regarding the news, Sawalich told HHTM that, like many other businesses around the globe, the hearing industry is not immune to the challenges presented by COVID-19, but believes there is “light at the end of the tunnel” as the US and other countries begin to recover in the coming weeks and months.
Sawalich continued that he believes strongly in the resiliency of the industry and that “there are millions of people that are in need of hearing healthcare today, especially during this difficult time, and will continue to be after we get beyond the crisis”.
**Interested to learn more about how the hearing industry is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic? See: Uncharted Waters: Hearing Industry Leaders Discuss Challenges of Navigating COVID-19 Crisis