Knowles Releases Balanced Armatures, MEMS for Over-The-Counter Hearing Aids
ITASCA, Ill., Dec. 21, 2022 — Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN), a leading manufacturer of transducers for hearing aids, today debuts its latest solutions optimized for over-the-counter (OTC) hearing aids. The new releases – including a trio of balanced armature receivers and two MEMS microphones – offer performance and design flexibility to accelerate the production of hearing health products.
This announcement follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s issuance of the long-anticipated final rules to establish and regulate a new category for OTC hearing aids. The rulemaking is intended to broaden access to quality, affordable hearing aids for millions of US adults with perceived mild to moderate hearing loss. The final rules officially took effect on Oct. 17, 2022, and OTC hearing aids became available for purchase through several major department stores, pharmacies and online retailers.
“Nearly 70 years ago, Knowles introduced the first balanced armature receivers to the market, bringing high-fidelity, natural sound to hearing aid users. A decade ago, we transformed the market once again with the introduction of MEMS microphones optimized for comfortable, functional and discreet hearing instruments. These solutions are still foundational in today’s premium hearing instruments,” said Jon Kiachian, vice president and general manager of MedTech and Specialty Audio at Knowles. “With the debut of our new solutions, we’re reaffirming our commitment to supporting the full spectrum of hearing augmentation for both traditional and OTC hearing devices. We’re focused on delivering high standards of sound quality and solving the most integral design, production and performance challenges facing manufacturers today.”
Hearing aids require small, discreet components with high output and exceptional precision to ensure efficacy and comfort for users. Compared to traditional commercial drivers, balanced armatures offer a smaller size, lower power consumption, and higher stable gain at critical frequencies. These qualities optimize hearing instrument designs and maximize fit rate. The Knowles RAP, RAQ and RLQ balanced armature receivers offer three power level options for delivering this performance and producing excellent clarity. To meet scaling demands and accelerate the time to market for these components, Knowles leverages a highly automated manufacturing operation specifically optimized for high-volume balanced armature production. This manufacturing technology enables tightened performance tolerances and improved supply chain traceability in a high throughput operation.
As OTC hearing aids gain traction, a portfolio of microphones capable of servicing a variety of device configurations is equally important. The Knowles MM06 MEMS microphone addresses the value-based segment of the OTC hearing aid category with reliable performance and lower power consumption than comparable commercial microphones. The more advanced MM30 MEMS microphone features a highly trimmable circuit that can tune sensitivity, distortion, noise and power consumption for full-featured hearing aids.
“Knowles brings an extensive track record of providing high-quality, high-performance transducers to the hearing health industry,” said Jason Kidd, president and COO of Lucid Hearing. “With a broad product portfolio and best-in-class technology, Knowles is a critical partner that helps us achieve our mission of helping people hear better® and deliver high customer satisfaction to the OTC segment of the hearing aid market.”
The new OTC hearing aid solutions will be shown at CES 2023 in the Knowles demo suite, Toscana 3805 at the Venetian Expo. To book a meeting, reach out to your Knowles representative.
To find out more about Knowles solutions for OTC hearing aids including the RAP, RAQ and RLQ balanced armature receivers and the MM30 and MM06 MEMS microphones, please visit www.knowles.com/OTC.
To learn more about the OTC hearing aid rules, visit www.FDA.gov.
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Knowles Corporation (NYSE: KN) is a market leader and global provider of advanced micro-acoustic microphones and speakers, audio solutions, and high-performance capacitors and RF products, serving the consumer electronics, communications, Medtech, defense, electric vehicle, and industrial markets. Knowles uses its leading position in SiSonic™ MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical systems) microphones and strong capabilities in audio processing technologies to optimize audio systems and improve the user experience across consumer applications. Knowles is also a leader in hearing health acoustics, high-performance capacitors and RF solutions for a diverse set of markets. Knowles’ focus on the customer, combined with unique technology, proprietary manufacturing techniques, and global operational expertise, enables it to deliver innovative solutions at scale across multiple applications. Founded in 1946 and headquartered in Itasca, Illinois, Knowles is a global organization with employees in over a dozen countries. For more information, visit knowles.com.
About Lucid Hearing
Since its founding in 2009, Lucid Hearing’s mission has been to advance hearing healthcare holistically across its family of brands that encompass hearing enhancement, enjoyment, protection, detection and wellness. Lucid Hearing has a strong engineering team that designs and engineers products in the United States. The company has helped close to 300,000 nationwide hear better through its hearing aid solutions, and it has aided millions inclusive of its hearing aids and hearing protection products. Lucid Hearing’s dedicated licensed hearing professionals provide free hearing tests and prescriptions to match a consumer’s specific hearing loss at one of 500+ Lucid Hearing centers. For more information about Lucid Hearing, visit LucidHearing.com.