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2004: Acuris

Hearing aids that communicated.

Conventional hearing aids worn on both sides work independently of each other. That means possible delays in signal processing that make it harder for the wearer to hear with a sense of space. Working to find a solution to this problem, Siemens developed a hearing aid featuring the world’s smallest wireless device. With Acuris hearing aids both sides constantly exchanged large volumes of data and adjusted to any listening situation in sync with each other.

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Acuris product range

People with poor hearing on both sides should wear a hearing aid in each ear, so that their brain can process information from its surroundings carefully and localize the source of the sounds more easily. This ability is also tremendously important in terms of personal safety. To be able to react appropriately in traffic we have to be able to sense the direction from which other drivers are coming.

Siemens launched Acuris in 2004 as the world’s first hearing aids where the right and left devices synchronized wirelessly on an ongoing basis. They analyzed the hearing situation and exchanged data constantly in order to reach the perfect setting in harmony with one another. This allowed the wearer’s brain to be supplied with the necessary information equally from both ears. People with hearing loss on both sides found their ability to localize the source of a sound perfectly restored, while also benefiting from enhanced sound quality and better directional hearing. This was made possible by Siemens’ e2e® (ear-to-ear) wireless radio technology — the smallest wireless system in the world.

The wireless connection also helped with operating the devices. In older hearing aids, the volume and programs still had to be set separately for each side, but since the launch of Acuris, controls on one hearing aid can be used to adjust both. For the in-the-ear (ITE) Acuris model, this meant that the volume control and program button could be installed separately, one on each side. This saved space — a development that pleased the engineers greatly, as the wireless technology posed a new challenge. Besides the conventional components, an antenna and all the radio components also had to fit inside the housing.

In 2012, German president Joachim Gauck presented the team of researchers from the University of Oldenburg and engineers from Siemens Audiology Solutions with the prestigious Deutscher Zukunftspreis for this binaural hearing aid technology — Germany’s highest award for technology and innovation.