Groundbreaking Innovation in Hearing Aids Heralds an Internet of Things That Matter

It is now possible to program hearing aids to talk directly with door bells, smoke detectors and baby alarms. Hearing aid manufacturer Oticon introduces the first hearing aid that connects to and interacts with the Internet.

The Internet of Things (IoT) has been around since 1999, and a growing number of devices are now connected and able to interact with each other. The most popular IoT devices today include “mood lighting” systems, home thermostats and smoke detectors, and wearable devices offering consumer-grade fitness-tracking and health-monitoring.

Oticon wants to see this first phase of the Internet of Things give way to a more meaningful phase – an Internet of Things that matter – where devices and services people depend on for their health and safety join today’s more entertainment and convenience-oriented offerings. That’s why the company is launching project ON, a new technology that makes the company’s latest-generation hearing aids Oticon Opn™ part of the Internet of Things through the online service IfThisThenThat (ifttt.com).

“Why does an IoT hearing aid matter more than, say, a garage door that opens automatically when you approach home in your car?,” asks Michael Porsbo, Project Manager, Project ON. “For example, children with a hearing loss depend on their hearing aid. A dead battery is much more than an inconvenience. An IoT hearing aid can address this issue by sending a text message to a parent when the battery is running low. A mother with a hearing loss hears can also benefit with an alert to her hearing aids from the baby alarm when her baby is crying.”

Project ON also provides the convenience people love about the Internet of Things. A gentle ping in your hearing aid when the doorbell rings, or having your hearing aid know to automatically turn off the lights and turn down the heat when you leave the house can make life easier and safer for people with hearing aids.

Beyond the practical advantages, Oticon sees IoT-enablement as helping to redefine hearing aids as more broadly functional wearables – a perception that can help chip away at the stigma still attached to hearing aids. “We don’t expect to see people wearing hearing aids just to get these extra functions,” says Porsbo. “But with IoT functionality, the difference between an IoT hearing aid and a connected wireless headset isn’t very great.”

By allowing hearing aid users to choose and even create their own services, project ON gives people the freedom and excitement they expect from the Internet of Things. “Who are we to decide what services people can access, or to stop people from inventing their own combinations of trigger events and responses?” says Porsbo. “The IoT model enables us to give people possibilities – and let them decide where to go with them.”

Project ON will be launched at on.oticon.com where you’ll find  “How To” guides, an overview of compatible devices and an online community that promotes hearing aids as IoT devices and facilitates the sharing of ideas with Oticon developers.

About Oticon

500 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. It is Oticon’s ambition that our customers – hearing clinics throughout the world – prefer to use our products for people with impaired hearing. The majority of people with hearing loss are people over the age of 50 and 8% are under the age of 18. Based on passion, dedication and professional expertise, Oticon designs and manufactures hearing aids for both adults and children. Oticon supports every kind of hearing loss from mild to severe and we pride ourselves on developing some of the most innovative hearing aids in the market. Headquartered out of Denmark, we are a global company and part of William Demant Holding Group with more than 11,000 employees and revenues of over DKK 10 billion. www.oticon.global   

Media liaison: PR Agency for Oticon SA

Agency Media Liaison: Your Brand Agency (Pty) Ltd, Daryl Moodley

Contact Telephone: +27 (0) 11 516 0245

Company email: daryl@urbrand.co.za

Background information: Oticon

Oticon is one of the most innovative Hearing Aid Manufacturers in the world. With more than 100 years of experience, Oticon has spearheaded a number of technological breakthroughs which have made a significant difference in the lives of people with hearing loss, including the first ear-level digital hearing aid, the first hearing system with Artificial Intelligence, the first “fashionable” hearing device and the first hearing device to connect wirelessly to modern, BluetoothTM enabled equipment. By putting people first, Oticon has become a company of firsts.  Today’s tiny, discreet and technologically advanced hearing aids are barely noticeable – thanks to Oticon. “People First” is Oticon’s promise, “to empower people to communicate freely, interact naturally and participate actively.”

Company website: http://www.oticon.co.za/

Email: info@oticon.co.za

Oticon SA Spokespersons (Radio Interviews) 

Margot Christie, Corporate Audiologist at Oticon South Africa (Afrikaans)

Margot Christie is a qualified Audiologist holding a BSc degree in Audiology from the University of Cape Town.

With a special interest in hearing aid technology, as well as in business, Margot has completed various business-related courses.  She is also a keen runner, cyclist and oenologist.

Tel:       011 675 6104

Cell:     083 507 5431

Mail:     mgch@oticon.com 

Husmita Ratanjee, Research Audiologist, Centre for Applied Audiology Research, Oticon A/S (English)

Husmita Ratanjee, Research Audiologist, Centre for Applied Audiology Research, Oticon A/S

A South African Audiologist with a Bachelor of Science degree in Audiology has recently earned her Master’s in Communication Pathology (Audiology) has worked both in the clinical and corporate setting. With having the opportunity to work in South African, Canada and Denmark. Husmita is a part of the Centre for Applied Audiology Research at Oticon Head Offices in Denmark as a Research Audiologist.

Tel:       011 675 6104

Cell:     063 403 2683

Mail:     hura@oticon.com

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