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Unitron Hear Life - November 2023

Unitron's New Identity - Connecting with Purpose

Cameron Hay

May 11, 2009
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Interview with Unitron's Cameron Hay



Cameron Hay

CAROLYN SMAKA: Today I'm speaking with Cameron Hay from Unitron. Cameron, welcome back to AudiologyOnline and thanks for joining me today.

CAMERON HAY: It's my pleasure.

SMAKA: Unitron has a great new look - can you tell me about it?



HAY: Yes, our look changed dramatically as of April 1st when we introduced our new brand identity or brand image. Historically we've been known as Unitron Hearing, and now we're Unitron which is how everyone knew us all along. So we've simplified what you have to type in when you send us an email, and we've added a tag line, which is Connect. Connect is the mission of what we're all about. We talk about collaborative connections with our customers, the hearing healthcare professionals, to advance our understanding of the needs of those living with hearing loss. The hearing healthcare professional connecting to their clients, and Unitron connecting to the clients as well through our technology. If you remember we used to have an ear beside our company name, and now it's a different icon, one that embodies the spirit of connection. The points of the icon indicate the connection between - Unitron, hearing healthcare professionals, and clients. And this new icon, as well as the new brand identity has a sense of momentum, excitement and enthusiasm which expresses the culture that we feel at Unitron.

So that's our new foundation which is really exciting for us. Along with this new foundation we're launching a great new portfolio of products. Our new premium product line is called Passport™, and we also have a new, ultra-small form factor called Shift™, which is a 10A sized CRT (Canal Receiver Technology).

SMAKA: It's very cool looking, I might add.

HAY: Very cool looking indeed. In Passport we also have some world's first innovations. These innovations are focused on new ways that clients interact with their hearing aids, and how they can control their environment depending on their needs and their goals as they move from situation to situation. When you demo this technology it really comes to life, and you can understand why we are so excited about it.



Passport™ family of products, including Shift™, a new form factor CRT

SMAKA: I had that opportunity at AudiologyNOW! and it is definitely a "wow" experience. I also noticed how people's faces changed as they listened to the demo, and you could see the "wow" on their faces.

HAY: We've added a whole new dimension of control for clients. With the simple scroll of a wheel, clients can put more emphasis on speech, by increasing speech enhancement, or they can increase noise reduction if the hearing aids detect noise, and they can also control microphone strategy or directionality. So in a noisy environment if the client scrolls toward clarity, the system goes into a focus beam. And this happens in real-time.

SMAKA: Are these settings variable along the scroll, or does the system toggle between fixed settings?

HAY: It's variable. In regard to directionality, the system moves along a continuum from an omni setting, to a fixed directional setting, to a partial adaptive directional, to a full 20-band adaptive directional setting. That provides the wow factor that you mentioned earlier, as it gives clients the ability to zoom into a situation unlike any hearing aid has been able to do before. If people don't want to be focused on a conversation and they just want to focus on comfort, then they can zoom out and scroll toward comfort. They will still get full awareness of their surroundings as they haven't reduced the volume of the hearing aids, and this will enable maximum noise reduction and increase listening comfort. While that's great technology in and of itself, in addition, we've introduced wireless technology with our Unifi™system. As you know, wireless is the hot buzz word in the industry today and we're proud to be one of the few companies that offer wireless technology. Passport's wireless connectivity allows full stereo streaming of audio signals from a cell phone, like your iPhone, from iPods, and from nearly anything that can be connected to a Bluetooth device or directly plugged in using a 3.5mm jack. It even enables plugging in an FM boot, and using only one FM boot a client can have binaural FM. Passport can also be programmed wirelessly.

SMAKA: Does Shift include these features as well?

HAY: Shift includes Passport's core feature set. The unprecedented client control of the instruments that we've been discussing is part of Shift as well, with either the OnBoard™ control or the optional Smart Control remote. As a new form factor, what you'll notice first about Shift is the ultra-small, stylish design. It also has shells and spines that can be easily personalized for each client in the office.

SMAKA: Has the U:fit™ software changed to make all this new technology possible?

HAY: We hear a lot of great feedback about U:fit - it's comprehensive, it's transparent so that fitters know exactly what they're doing when they're making programming changes, and at the same time it's very easy to navigate. With these new products we've tried to further simplify it, since there is always the danger of adding complexity and confusion when you introduce new technology. At Unitron, when we add technology our emphasis is to make it transparent and even easier to use. We have a fastTrack™ process now in U:fit to allow professionals to rapidly navigate through fittings when they need to, and they can still open up all the parameters when they want to drill down and do fine tuning. There are other new features as well such as a Hearing Loss Simulator including a new recording function, and other tools to support professionals so that they can best meet clients' needs. U:fit is a great platform that we continue to build upon as we introduce new products.

SMAKA: Cameron, what is your background?

HAY: I'm an engineer by training. I'm not an audiologist, but I know just enough to be dangerous when I talk about these things.

SMAKA: [laughs]

HAY: What I love about this industry and about Unitron is that this is a people business first and foremost. You see that in our tag line, Connect;much of our business is about connecting with people. On top of that is the great technology that enables it. There are very few industries like ours where people get to use both parts of their brains and both parts of the psyche - the technical part as well as the people part. That's what makes this such a great a place for me to work and I know that my colleagues at Unitron would also agree.

SMAKA: Thank you for your time today. Where can we direct people for more information on these topics?

HAY: It was a pleasure meeting you and talking with you today. For more information, please visit us at www.unitron.com.

About Unitron

Unitron is a global innovator of technologically advanced hearing instruments. We care deeply about people with hearing loss and work closely with hearing healthcare professionals to make advanced, purpose-driven solutions available to everyone. Headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada, Unitron, a member of the Sonova Group, meets the needs of customers through 16 international offices and through distributors in a further 53 countries.

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Cameron Hay

President & CEO, Unitron



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