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Acoustic Support System

1. Summary
This early patent for an Acoustic Support System for hearing aids addresses a big and growing market. It describes a technology to add harmonic waves to the basic frequencies to active and train hearing abilities; and enrich and ease the sound for a better understanding. The patent is granted only in Germany, but due to the size of the German market and the origin of the key market Players (esp. producers of hearing aids) from Germany or neighbouring countries, it indirectly targets the world market.
2. Technology
The described Acoustic Support System targets users that cannot hear specific frequencies. These disabilities are normally addressed with electro-acoustical amplifiers by increasing the relevant frequencies. The described technology proposes that the hearing aid (a) activate and trains the hearing ability by adding harmonic waves that stimulate the hearing sense; and (b) supports the hearing abilities by complementing the basic frequencies with related harmonic waves. The user "learns" to relate the harmonic waves to the disabled frequencies and hereby decodes the sound more clearly.
3. Development Stage
The inventors successfully build a prototype in 1997 but did not follow up with a commercial product.
4. Market / Opportunity
Only a few big companies control the world market, whereof Siemens (D) is markel leader with 23% followed by Phonak (CH) and William Demant/Otikon (DK) with 22% market share each. Resound (DK) is #4 addressing 13% of the world market. All four companies have a very strong position in the German market - with a total value of approx. 300 mUSD - and, cumulatively, catch >80% of the hearing aid sales. The technology to add harmonic waves to increase the hearing ability is known and used in commercially available hearing aids. Due to the increase in the proportion of elderly people, the market for hearing aids will continue to grow significantly. As the German market is one of the most important markets worldwide for hearing aids and the most relevant players are located and partially have manufacturing sites in Germany or one of the neighbouring countries, the patent has a significant value for the world market, even if just a German patent is granted.
The described Acoustic Support System, respectively this early patent, could be interesting for any producer of hearing aids or an IP-holding-company seeking "licensing out” opportunities.

5. IP / Status of the Patent application
Priority Date 18/07/1995
DE19525944 18/07/1995 granted
6. Contact Details
If you are interested in the described technology and/or further Information on the Patent, please contact
engage - Key Technology Ventures AG
Mr. Moritz v. Grotthuss
Gerhart-Hauptmann-Strasse 23
D -18055 Rostock (Germany)
Tel. +49(381)49747-39
Fax. +49(381)49747-40

Heike Klockow | PVA - MV AG
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