In 1904, Hans Demant founded the company that would become Oticon in Denmark. It’s focus? Developing solutions for hearing-impaired people, like Demant’s own wife. What followed was not only innovation in hearing health, but also a thriving regional industry. Today, just three companies, all based in Denmark, supply 48% of the world’s hearing aids. Those three companies, Widex, Oticon, and GN ReSound, are also all PTC Creo users.
Engineering a hearing device requires attention to rapidly changing technologies, comfort, and style. A mechanical engineer can expect to work in an environment that requires:
- Developing micro-mechanical components, like tiny wireless amplifiers.
- Collaborating with electro-acoustic engineers, audiologists, system designers, and software engineers.
- Ensuring regulatory compliance.
Plus, some consumers prefer discreet devices that don’t look like someone left gum in grandpa’s ear. While some want a model in hot pink with Bluetooth or wireless capabilities (think MP3 and iPhone through a hearing aid). In either case, the devices must be as attractive as possible to appeal to users.
Here’s another consideration for our design engineer: medical equipment like hearing aids aren’t generally subsidized in the United States. So costs prevent 75 % of Americans who need hearing assistance from obtaining it—a significant underserved market. That means there’s demand for economically designed products.
PTC Creo helps with all these challenges.
The design software can help model amplifiers, batteries, microphones, and speakers in small, complex housings that fit behind and within the ear.
Collaboration goes smoothly with easy-to-use visualization tools like PTC Creo View that allow people on other teams to view and interrogate information based on the precise 3D model.
With PTC Creo Interactive Surface Design Extension, designers and engineers can quickly and easily create highly precise and distinctly aesthetic product designs that respond to customer requirements, not the software’s limitations.
Other PTC Creo Parametric features make it easy to quickly modify a model, or offer dozens of variations on an existing model.
Like it or not, we’re aging. As such, demand for hearing aids is expected to climb in coming years. Life expectancies are increasing, too, and new policies in the U.S. are expanding health coverage in 2014 to millions of Americans.
Companies like Widex, Opticon, and GN ReSound are poised to help meet this growth with PTC Creo. By designing award-winning products faster, and keeping development costs down, these hearing aid companies can pursue more opportunities as the market swells and continue to change the lives of the people who need their products most.