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Interview with Joseph Lugara, President & COO, and Kathy Landon, Vice President of Branding & Professional Services, Sonic Innovations

Joseph Lugara, Kathy Landon

May 2, 2011
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Topic: News from Sonic Innovations
CAROLYN SMAKA: Joe and Kathy - I know you're both very busy but I wanted to ask you for a quick overview of what's new at Sonic.



KATHY LANDON: Thanks, Carolyn. It's been a great spring for us, with two new product lines launching within four months. In February we launched our Varicom line, which feature sophisticated wireless solutions on every model. It's a part of our product portfolio that had been lacking, and we were very happy to fill that need so quickly after our acquisition by William Demant. Varicom offers two technology levels and features our new Speech Variable Processing that's designed to preserve the nuances of speech, making sound clear and natural.



Varicom model overview.

We'll soon be launching our new microCIC, Groove, which we previewed at AudiologyNOW!

SMAKA: That's a great product name.

LANDON: Thanks! All of the marketing that we've done with Groove has been a lot of fun. They're such clever headlines - such as, "Move to the Groove." It's a call to action for the hearing care professional. You may have tried some other microCICs, but move to the Groove, come give us a try, come see what Groove has to offer. Groove uses 24-channel signal processing, our Sonic Sound™ signal processing, which sounds amazing. It sounds so natural. Groove also uses our clinically proven adaptive noise reduction.

When you're fitting a microCIC, you are down to the bare essence of a hearing aid, right? There's no directionality. You don't have a telecoil. You don't have any of the other features that you might typically lean on to get a good sounding product. A micoCIC is basically a microphone, a chip, and a receiver. You've got to make those pieces work in concert very well, and that's our expertise at Sonic. With Groove, our strengths really shine - great sound quality, excellent performance in noise, no wind noise, excellent feedback cancellation, and wonderful telephone performance, according to our market preference studies. In addition, you can't see Groove at all when worn;it's so tiny. Our staff wore it in the booth at AudiologyNOW! and professionals were surprised that you can't see them in the ear at all.

We've had a fantastic response from professionals for both of our new products, and we're really proud of the new lines.



Sonic's new microCIC, Groove, previewed at AudiologyNOW!

SMAKA: Kathy, I forget you're not an audiologist when I hear you talking so passionately about the technology.

LANDON: I've been with Sonic 11-plus years now, and I really believe in what we do. Our products look great, they sound great, and they really make a difference in people's lives. Having been with Sonic for so long and seeing where we are today with the acquisition in November by William Demant, I couldn't be happier. It's a great partnership;we've seen a stable transition in leadership with our new president and COO, Joe Lugara, who has a proven track record of leadership in the industry. You can feel the dedication toward the Sonic family with all the resources we now have access to, the great leadership that we have access to, and the honorable people that we work with. It's an exciting time to be at Sonic.

SMAKA: Joe, wishing you much success in your new role. With the recent product launches, it looks like a very busy time at Sonic.

JOSEPH LUGARA: Thank you, Carolyn, I sincerely appreciate that. It is a busy and exciting time at Sonic, and I think we all share Kathy's sentiments. Bringing Sonic into the William Demant family was very important for us. We saw that Sonic inherently had superb technologies, and a wonderful allegiance of loyal customers true to the brand. Sonic is a respected American brand and will remain so as we move forward. It's very difficult for a small standalone company to compete in today's marketplace, especially in our industry where six companies control 90 percent of the business. To compete effectively, you must have a large toolbox of resources available. As part of the William Demant Group, Sonic can now access the technological and financial resources of a larger company and make its products more widely available .

SMAKA: Is Sonic moving its headquarters?

LUGARA: Yes, New Jersey will now become the new world headquarters for Sonic Innovations. We are in the process of transitioning the Salt Lake City office to a new facility in Central New Jersey. The Sonic production facility is located in Eagan, Minnesota, and will remain there. Sonic will continue to be operated as a separate and distinct company with its own team of dedicated people committed to bring forth great technologies and services.

SMAKA: In addition to the new products, what will your chief objectives be for the coming year?

LUGARA: We're looking forward to a continued smooth integration of Sonic, increased product innovation, and we also want to have an impact on the market by building upon our core strengths and going back to the basics: taking care of customers, delivering quality products and providing world-class customer service and support. We know these things make all the difference, and we look forward to serving our customers in all of these areas.

SMAKA: Joe and Kathy, thanks for your time today.

LUGARA: Thanks for your interest, it's been a pleasure.

LANDON: Thank you, Carolyn.

About Sonic Innovations

Sonic Innovations (www.sonici.com) is a US-based manufacturer of hearing care solutions that provide exceptional patient benefit, unparalleled service, and superior quality. In conjunction with its distributor partners, Sonic Innovations has provided more than 1 million hearing instruments to patients in more than 25 countries. Sonic products are renowned for their superior sound processing, noise reduction, directional capabilities, and award-winning design. Since November 2010, Sonic Innovations is a wholly owned subsidiary of William Demant Holding (www.demant.com).

For more information about the topics discussed in this interview, please visit the Sonic Web Channel on AudiologyOnline or www.sonici.com
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Joseph Lugara

President & COO


kathy landon

Kathy Landon

Vice President of Branding & Professional Services, Sonic Innovations