3D-Printed Hearing Aid Almost Invisible When Worn

October 29, 2018

Virto B-Titanium hearing aid

Switzerland-based Sonova Holding AG, provider of Phonak hearing aids, has scored a first with its award-winning Virto B-Titanium hearing aid. The device is the smallest and most discreet hearing aid Sonova has ever produced and, according to the company, the world’s first mainstream custom titanium hearing aid.

The titanium shells are half as thin, yet 15 times stronger than traditional shells, meaning that the hearing aid can be placed even deeper in the canal, resulting in a virtually invisible fit. It’s powered by Phonak’s AutoSense operating system, which analyzes incoming sounds in real-time and automatically activates a blend of settings, programs and features. These attributes reportedly result in a seamless, more natural hearing experience.

Leo den Hartog, senior manager at Phonak, says that 3D printing, more specifically selective laser melting, is “the optimal technology” for the device. “It allows us to make the hearing aids out of medical-grade titanium, and make them available to the broader market.” The Phonak brand also uses 3D selective laser sintering for its acrylic hearing-aid shells.

“We believe,” says den Hartog, “that we have only scratched the surface of what 3D-printing technology can provide.”

Industry-Related Terms: 3D printing , Sintering
View Glossary of 3D Metal Printing Terms

 

See also: Sonova US Inc. (Phonak)

Technologies: Applications

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