Global consumer electronics giant Panasonic is using its decades of experience selling hearing aids to its home market in Japan to deliver a complete family of hearing solutions to the North American market for the first time, with its sales roll-out starting this month. Following the company’s announcement at the American Academy of Audiology convention in April, North American sales leader Delain Wright has assembled a national team that is signing up a network of audiologists throughout the region to introduce American consumers to Panasonic’s behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aids. The initial product lineup consists of the Panasonic 4 Series RIC hearing aids, the Panasonic 2 Series BTE hearing aids, and the innovative JZ Series hearing amplification system worn around the neck with an attachable binaural headset.
The RIC and BTE hearing aid lines each come in standard 9-channel, mid-range 12-channel and and high-end 16-channel models. Based on Panasonic’s own digital signal processing chip and sound processing software, they provide a range of options for audiologists to fit, from entry level to high end. Both lines feature an “intelligent scene selector,” which automatically adjusts the sound processing system’s program settings for up to seven different listening situations. They also feature adaptive, dual-focus directional microphones, adaptive noise suppression, feedback cancellation, and wind-noise suppression.
The JZ Series is a small personal sound amplification unit with a microphone and sound processor that hangs from a cord around the neck, and a lightweight binaural headset. It can be custom-tuned to meet the specific needs of users with moderate hearing loss. It is a step toward the goal outlined at the initial announcement by Yoshi Yuasa, Corporate Senior Vice President of Panasonic North America, “to participate in the convergence of audio products and hearing aids.” Wright says more products will be coming from Panasonic’s design labs that compete head-to-head with other premium hearing-aid brands and deliver innovations based on Panasonic’s consumer electronics experience.