By Jennifer Groth
Approximately 70% of hearing instruments sold in the US are BTEs, and a high proportion of these are open fit RIE or mini BTE fit with thin tubes. This is a complete reversal of the distribution between BTE and custom devices that we saw 10 years ago. By creating a new category of easy-to-fit, comfortable and appealing-looking hearing instruments with the ReSoundAIR mini BTE, ReSound is largely responsible for this about face in the industry. Yet while others rushed to copy this successful product, Resound continued along its path of innovation. Striking accomplishments have included developing the first wireless hearing instrument system capable of streaming sound directly from sound sources to hearing instruments, as well as finding unique ways to apply communication between devices.
ReSound has also continued to apply fresh thinking toward the physical design of hearing instruments. The most distinct example of this remains the Remote Microphone technology. By moving the hearing instrument microphone out of the casing, numerous benefits were achieved relative to traditional custom styles as well as BTE styles. New evidence from researchers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center supporting RM appeared in the August edition of The Hearing Review. They compared CIC, RIE and RM instruments fit to younger, active patients on a number of dimensions including cosmetics, occlusion, comfort and performance. While all three types of devices were evaluated positively, the researchers were surprised that, with the current popularity of BTEs, fewer than half of their trial participants chose the RIE style as their preferred device. Further, all participants who did not have RM as their preferred style ranked it as their second choice. There are still many patients who would prefer a custom style, and RM technology adds to professionals’ arsenal of tools to satisfy that preference. Read more about the study here: http://www.hearingreview.com/issues/articles/2012-08_02.asp