How millions of hearing aids are made inside one of the world’s largest manufacturers

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Hearing aids can be customized, connect to phones, and translate foreign languages in real time.
Starkey is one of the largest hearing-aid manufacturers in the world developing these technologies.
We went inside the company’s headquarters in Minnesota to see how the industry is transforming.

Hearing aids can be customized, connect to phones, and translate foreign languages in real time. We went inside one of the largest hearing-aid manufacturers in the world to see how the industry is transforming.

The following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: A squirt of silicone is the start of a hearing aid. The device is designed by machine and finalized by hand. But it’s no longer just used for basic hearing. This customized aid can connect to your phone, isolate voices, and even translate another language in real time.

Paul Neu: Did we take out the garbage tonight?

Employee: Si, claro, Paulo.

Narrator: We visited one of the world’s largest hearing-aid manufacturers to learn more. 38 to 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. That’s about the population of Canada or Spain. Right now, only about 20% of adults in the US who need a hearing aid actually have one. And believe it or not, there’s only one traditional hearing-aid manufacturer that’s US-owned and operated. Starkey was founded in 1967. Since then, it’s produced tens of millions of these devices.

Brandon Sawalich: Starkey has over 5,000 employees. We do business in over 100 countries, and we change people’s lives through better hearing.

Narrator: It’s a big business that begins with the tiniest of measurements. Inside Starkey’s headquarters, a silicone impression of the ear goes through a 3D scanner that captures all of its unique dimensions. The machine prints out an acrylic shell, which holds all of the electronic components. And a special software helps the technician determine how to create the smallest, most comfortable hearing aid for that patient’s ear and prescription. Since the final customized product is assembled by hand, the whole process can take up to four days. For Chef Paul Neu, some of the features of his Starkey hearing aid have been essential for his work in the kitchen.

Paul: I can answer my phone while I’m cutting fish. I don’t have to touch anything. I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to actually talk to people.

Narrator: Chef Paul got his first hearing aids 14 years ago.

Paul: It almost was like you were in a Chuck E. Cheese, where …read more


Source:: Business Insider

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