Phonak teen advisor Finn recently went inside the Phonak hearing aid headquarters to learn about how hearing aids are manufactured.
Finn, a teenager with sensorineural hearing loss, met with Bill from Phonak to tour the hearing aid facilities.
Starting in the receiving area, Bill shows Finn how hearing aids are ordered through an audiologist, which gets sent through to Phonak’s manufacturing center.
Read more: Meet Phonak Teen Advisor, Finn
One of the most popular hearing aids are custom in-the-ear hearing aids, or ITE hearing aids. These hearing aids fit just outside the ear canal, and are custom fit for the consumer. With a personal ear impression, Phonak can use a digital scanner to build a point-cloud to print the hearing aid.
First, the manufacturers work with the scan and use a 3D-based software to design everything. Then, they place all the electronic components and the right venting before the product goes to the 3D printer.
To finalize the custom hearing aid, the technician uses a laser to cut the 3D mold, then wired, fit with the electronics and filed down for the perfect fit.
Behind-the-ear, or BTE, hearing aids, include a receiver that sits behind the ear, and an earmold that is fit in the ear, where the microphone is.
Going further inside the production facility at Phonak, Bill shows Finn how the earmolds are made using silicon.
Because kids and young adults often like to show off their hearing aids, they can make their ear molds multicolor, or add glitter to them.
Phonak hearing aids are produced at various facilities around the world, including Switzerland. Depending on where the hearing aid is made, they are sent to Phonak facilities around the world to be finalized, before they are sent to an audiologist, who then provides them for the person in need.
“We get all the parts and pieces, then we do final assembly,” Bill explains.
Phonak hearing aids go through an extensive quality control process, including a listening check and cosmetic checks to ensure the hearing aids are the best quality possible.
“You need hand-eye coordination and a lot of patience,” says Bill.
“I could never do it,” Finn admits.