Customer focused solutions
We continuously push the limits of technology and innovation to offer the best solutions to our customers.
Development of new products
The market offers exciting opportunities for new customer groups and new solution formats. Our consistent platform approach to product development in hearing instruments and cochlear implants – along with our continued high investment in research and development – has allowed us to expand our product offering over the year to exploit these opportunities.
Innovation through collaboration
At Sonova, we consider interdisciplinary collaboration as the guarantor of progress. Especially when it comes to as complex a subject as hearing. One key area of our innovation strategy therefore lies in establishing and promoting international networks where the specific knowledge of leading research bodies, hospitals, companies and institutions is pooled together, enriched and comes to fruition in new hearing solutions.
Long-term partnership and open exchange are the hallmarks of our collaboration with around fifty top-class universities and centers of excellence and technology. The focus of this interdisciplinary work is to leverage all potential for innovation: Together, we are broadening our understanding of auditory perception and its cognitive processing, driving forward digital signal processing and the miniaturization of electronics, improving material and implantation technologies and researching the possibilities of bionics. We work especially closely with the international groups of experts from the Pediatric Advisory Board to develop hearing solutions that counteract hearing loss in early childhood and at the same time include and support the entire family.
The digital revolution and the Internet of Things are making their way into various aspect of our lives. New, web-based business models are questioning the status quo because they promise more convenience, simplicity and freedom with smart technologies and services. We welcome this development, since maximum comfort and autonomy for the user, as well as flawless service, are also our key areas of innovation.
Digital technology and comprehensive connectivity make our hearing solutions smart companions that have about as much in common with the conventional idea of a hearing aid as iPods do with gramophones. And this is not just in terms of resolution, sound, understanding of speech, form factor or design: Media players of all kinds can be wirelessly connected and music, TV sound or calls can be enjoyed in excellent quality directly inside the ear. Thanks to the discreet Bluetooth microphone, you can follow conversations even in noisy environments – and in some cases better than a person without hearing loss. And with the smartphone App, all of the parameters and functions can be controlled intuitively and individually.
eSolutions for the future
Audiological quality and ease of operation are one thing, while the multiplication of opportunities through networking is another: Our hearing solutions go way beyond just the instrument itself, becoming a digital experience that brings together, empowers and supports the healthcare provider and the user seamlessly and in real time at all stages of the hearing journey. From online-based histories and efficient customer support to electronic remote adjustment and optimization under real, in situ conditions, digitally networked solutions offer users a previously undreamed-of degree of control and freedom. Wherever the user might be, the audiologist can be by his side online in an emergency, directly capturing the specific audiological situation using definitive data and providing immediate assistance. Continuous data monitoring, as well as the influence of Big Data, are allowing ever more differentiated fine tuning, as well as more targeted advice. Follow-up appointments are a thing of the past, spatial distances are no longer an issue, professional and personal assistance as well as effortless instrument adjustment by the user are only a tap on the smartphone’s touch display away. People with hearing loss enjoy complete autonomy in a fully networked world of hearing. Our promise is to use and further expand these digital channels to establish one-to-one, real-time relationships with our customers.
Regulatory and standards
Sonova’s medical devices are regulated by government agencies, healthcare authorities, and other regulatory bodies worldwide. These organizations verify that throughout the life cycle of our products we are fulfilling the requirements of applicable health and safety regulations. We are committed to maintaining transparent, constructive, and professional relationships with all applicable regulatory authorities on policy, product submissions, compliance, and product performance. Their requirements include design controls, marketing approvals, good manufacturing practices, vigilance systems, clinical studies, and other applicable product regulations, standards and normative documents specified by government agencies.
Our processes for identifying potential risks related to our products – and for estimating, evaluating, controlling, and monitoring these risks – are governed by the ISO 14971 standard, which specifies the application of risk management to medical devices.
Each national healthcare authority has specific requirements for products that are offered in its market which need to be respected e.g. in Europe our hearing instruments comply with the essential requirements and other relevant provisions of the Medical Device Directive 93/42/EEC, the Radio Equipment Directive 2014/53/EU and other applicable international standards. In the US, hearing instruments are regulated by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and classified as medical devices of the class I (hearing aids) and class II (wireless hearing aids). Both categories are exempt from the Premarket Approval (PMA) and Premarket Notification (PMN) known as 510(k) and can be introduced into commercial distribution without undergoing these processes.
Cochlear implants and their respective accessories from Advanced Bionics are classified as active implantable medical devices (Class III-AIMD), which are regulated by the EU Active Implantable Medical Devices Directive 90/385/EEC and must generally undergo a formal PMA process wherever they are launched.
All of our operation centers and major group companies are certified according to the ISO 13485 standard and USA FDA Quality System Regulation, Title 21 CFR Part 820, which specify the requirements for quality management systems.
Sonova is carefully following the changes in the related regulatory environments worldwide to ensure the conformity of the products to any time. In particular recently published changes in medical device regulation in Europe regarding the transition from Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EEC to Medical Devices Regulation 2017/745.
Product service and labeling
The majority of products from Sonova group companies are covered by these regulations, standards, and medical classes. All of these products are continuously assessed for health and safety improvements, using such tools as our complaint handling system and process, post-market surveillance, vigilance reporting, reliability trending, and post-launch engineering.