EHIMA Appoints WS Audiology CEO, Eric Bernard, as President

Eric Bernard

FRANKFURT, GERMANY — After a two year’s term, Demant A/S-CEO Søren Nielsen hands over the European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) Presidency to Eric Bernard, CEO of WS Audiology, the company formed  from the merger between Sivantos and Widex in 2019. The EHIMA members elected Mr. Bernard  unanimously as President for the period 2021-2022.  

As EHIMA President, Eric Bernard will be supported by Arnd Kaldowski (Sonova AG) as Vice President, and Board members Gitte Pugholm Aabo (GN Hearing) and Søren Nielsen (Demant A/S).  

“It is an honor to chair EHIMA for the next two years. The first president of this  association was Widex cofounder Erik Westermann, back in 1985, and it has since played an  important role in technology standardization and public awareness of treating hearing loss and  tinnitus. I want to thank my predecessor Søren Nielsen for his leadership, and I look forward to  working closely together with my fellow board members on making more people aware of the  importance of hearing.”  

–Eric Bernard, WS Audiology CEO, EHIMA President

During Søren Nielsen’s Presidency, hearing implant manufacturer MED-EL and Amplifon S.P.A. joined the association. EuroTrak, EHIMA’s international series of surveys on hearing loss  prevalence and hearing aid uptake, was significantly expanded, now covering 17 countries, the  most recent additions being Spain, Korea and the People’s Republic of China.

Also, the multiyear  collaboration of EHIMA members with the Bluetooth® special interest group was brought to  fruition, resulting in a new wireless interface for hearing instruments.  

“We have made a lot of progress over the last two years and I am grateful to all EHIMA members  for making that possible in a joint, industry-wide effort,” Søren Nielsen said, reflecting on his Presidency. “I am convinced that we can continue in the same professional spirit for the good of all  people who deserve better hearing but are not always aware.”  

Eric Bernard is the 21st President of EHIMA. Meetings of hearing aid manufacturers at the  European level began in 1983. In 1985, EHIMA was founded legally as an association under Belgian  law. Albeit the industry is impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, data of EHIMA members show that  the demand for hearing instruments remains high. This is also reflected by EuroTrak data, which  shows that the uptake of hearing instruments grew significantly over the last decade and  continues growing. 


The European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA)  

The European Hearing Instrument Manufacturers Association (EHIMA) represents the world’s  seven major hearing instrument manufacturers, offering smart hearing aid and implant solutions  for people hard of hearing. EHIMA was founded in 1985 and its members are among the world’s  largest and most advanced hearing instrument manufacturers. Members of EHIMA develop,  manufacture and market hearing instruments on a large scale in one or more countries in Europe  as well as exporting their products worldwide.  


Key Facts on Hearing Loss  

  • 1 in 10 of the total EU population states a hearing loss.*  
  • Only 1 in 3 of the hard of hearing people uses hearing instruments.*  Untreated hearing loss costs EU28 each year 185 billion €.**  
  • Hearing instruments help to reduce these costs.**  


Reference: *EuroTrak; **Bridget Shield (2019): Hearing Loss – Numbers and Costs, Brunel University London; both available at  


Source: EHIMA