Interview with Vince Maye, Director of Custom Business Development, GN ReSound
Carolyn Smaka: This is Carolyn Smaka with AudiologyOnline I'm happy to have Vince Maye here with me today to talk with us about ReSound TRUFIT™ System. Vince, to start, please tell us a little about yourself and what you do for Resound.
Vince Maye: Thank you, Carolyn, it's my pleasure, my entire career so far has been spent in the hearing healthcare industry. I started approximately 32 years ago in the UK. I joined a hearing instrument manufacturer as a technician and eventually became a Production Manager. Shortly after becoming established in this field I immigrated to Canada. I held many positions including Director of Operations. I graduated from Devry Institute of Technology as an Electronic Engineering Technician. I am happily in my 4th year with Resound as Director of Custom Business Development. My primary role is collaborating with our customers to ensure they are aligned with our TRUFIT System. Our goal is to work together to achieve greater user satisfaction and make certain our technology and operational processes meet individual customer's needs.
Smaka: What is the TRUFIT system?
Maye: Our TRUFIT custom manufacturing is a system developed to leverage our buffless shell making process. The system was conceived through a deep dive analysis with our customers. This study revealed the need to better manage the many variables serving as obstacles in achieving a successful fit. These variables were:
- Differences in type of impression materials
- Differences in viscosity of impression material
- Variation in impression taking techniques
- Variation in ear sensitivity
- Ear canal geometry change due to temporomandibular (TMJ) activity
- Distortion of scanned digital image from certain shade of impression material
- Out of spec shells due to various finishing methods buffing, tumbling, lacquering etc.
The TRUFIT System was designed to address these concerns. The primary objective of the TRUFIT system is to align the clinical variables with the manufacturing variables to design a device that is true to the patient's ear.
Smaka: How does the TRUFIT system differ from other manufacturing processes when it comes to controlling these variables?
Maye: One important aspect of the TRUFIT process is that we provide an impression kit. The kit is engineered and packaged with tools that address many of the variance issues. It contains everything our customers need to take an earmold impression that accurately replicates the anatomical nuances of the ear. 100% of the impressions we receive from our customers are scanned before being sent to TFTS.
Components of GN ReSound's impression kit.
Smaka: What is TFTS?
Maye: TFTS is our TRUFIT Technical Support Team. The team spends 100% of their time reviewing new orders and trial returns. They make sure clinical nomenclature and special requests are converted into operational work instructions that are easily interpreted by our technicians. In addition, all digital images of the impressions are evaluated for accurate reproduction and reviewed with the audiogram to make sure venting and canal length are optimal for the required electro-acoustic response. It is important to understand the tradeoffs to guarantee the right technical decisions are made. To support our 3 day turn-time initiative we attempt to contact customers to address discrepancies within eight hours of receiving the order.
Smaka: One of the variances mentioned was TMJ activity. Can you explain how the TRUFIT System manages TMJ activity?
Maye: E-Design is our electronic shell design making process which includes a unique software application to address severe TMJ activity. This process compares an open jaw and closed jaw impression to evaluate enlargement of the ear canal due to TMJ activity. This analysis enables the e-designer to make allowances for retention, comfort, fit and sound direction.
Comparison of open jaw and closed jaw ear impressions. E-Designers analyze changes in the ear canal with jaw movement, in order to make the necessary allowances during shell manufacturing.
Any positive artifacts generated during the modeling process can be removed with a "Verify Fit" function. E-Design also allows our technicians to virtually place the components in the hearing instrument in the most efficient manner. Technicians can design the canal tip to ensure ease of insert and comfort, while at the same time taking into account other variables to make sure the hearing instrument operates at the peak of efficiency and is cosmetically appealing.
Virtual placement of components in the shell using E-Design.
Smaka: Quite a comprehensive process!
Maye: Yes, it is very comprehensive. The automation allows our output to have the highest quality. We can control accuracy at all levels, which is key to customer satisfaction. The most important aspect is the efficiency provided to our customers. We want to make sure they receive an exceptional final product. Furthermore we keep the electronic images on file for twenty months to avoid having to take a new impression for a loss or damage shell.
Comparison of shell from TRUFIT process v. shell from another typical shell making process.
Smaka: The TRUFIT system certainly is unique and comprehensive. Vince, after 32 years in the hearing instrument industry, what would you say is the most satisfying aspect of your work?
Maye: The most satisfying aspect of my work is to exceed our customers' expectations. We believe that our TRUFIT process is innovative. There are no limits when it comes to customer satisfaction. We provide open vents as large as space will permit and a variety of faceplate profiles to fit uncommon ear geometry. ReSound embraces all challenges presented to us by customers.
TRUFIT enables ReSound to meet customers' needs including venting, low profile faceplates, and requests for hypo allergenic shells.
For more information, visit www.gnresound.com or the ReSound web channel on AudiologyOnline, www.audiologyonline.com/channels/gn_resound.asp