Miracle-Ear

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Industry Hearing aids
Predecessor(s)
  • Dahlberg Electronics
  • Dahlberg, Inc.
Founded 1948
Founder(s) Kenneth Dahlberg
Headquarters Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Number of locations 1200+
Area served United States, Canada
Owner(s) Amplifon S.p.A.
Website miracle-ear.com

Miracle-Ear, Inc. is hearing aid company consisting of a network of franchised and corporately-owned retail outlets. The company is a subsidiary of Amplifon, the worldwide distributor of hearing aids based in Italy.[1] Miracle-Ear’s U.S. headquarters are located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.[2] As of 2014 it has more than 1,200 locations in the United States,[2] and it is the best-known hearing aid brand in the U.S.[3] In 2014, the company added several locations in Canada, with plans to open more Canadian outlets.[4] According to the company, Miracle-Ear outlets offer free hearing tests and consultations, and the hearing aids include a risk-free 30-day trial period plus service, warranty, and lifetime after-care.[5][6]

Product history[edit]

Origins[edit]

"Miracle-Ear" began as a hearing aid manufactured by Dahlberg Electronics, an electronics company founded in 1948. Kenneth Dahlberg started Dahlberg Electronics after he left a position as assistant to the president of Telex Communications, another manufacturer of hearing aids.[7][8] Prior to manufacturing hearing aids, Dahlberg's company produced pillow radios for hospitals and motels.[9][10]

In the early 1950s, Dahlberg Electronics began producing hearing aids that utilized the newly invented transistor technology – beginning with "hybrid" hearing aids that used transistors and vacuum tubes, and then releasing an all-transistor model in 1953.[11] In 1955, they introduced the first so-called "in-the-ear" hearing aid, the D-10 Magic Ear – which concealed all electronic components in a shell snapped onto an earmold, and weighed 1/2 ounce, including battery, three-transistor amplifier, microphone, and receiver.[12][13][14] Other innovations included the D-14 "Solar Ear" eyeglasses hearing aid, which used a solar cell for power.[15]

Further innovations[edit]

In 1962, the Miracle-Ear IV was the first hearing aid that used integrated circuitry,[16] and in 1971, the company introduced the Dahlberg SHARP circuit, an ultra-low circuit utilizing in-house hybrid production.[17][18] In 1988, the company debuted the Miracle-Ear Dolphin, the first programmable hearing aid on the market.[19][20] In 1997, following university testing, the FDA approved claims on Miracle-Ear’s Sharp Plus circuitry that the Miracle-Ear devices improved hearing in the presence of background noise.[21][22]

In 1998 the Miracle-Ear Messenger was introduced, which featured proprietary technology that enabled the aid to be customized by the wearer.[23] In 2003 the company's entire line of hearing aids went digital, and in 2005 Miracle-Ear brought out the innovative Open Fit design.[23] In early 2011 the company announced the Miracle-Ear Mirage, an invisible completely in the canal hearing aid that fits deep in the ear canal.[24]

Also in 2011, Miracle-Ear debuted a waterproof hearing aid, called the Aquavi, which is also dustproof and virtually shockproof to accommodate active lifestyles.[25] It can be completely submerged in water up to three feet deep for up to 30 minutes without damage to the instrument,[25] and has an IP rating of 68.[26] In 2013, Miracle-Ear launched a new technology platform called ClearVation, which learns the wearer’s individual preferences and delivers appropriate amplification levels, while preserving natural acoustics. The technology aims to provide a natural hearing experience with a self-customized balance of comfort and clarity, and is available across the Miracle-Ear product line.[27][28]

Additional features[edit]

Miracle-Ear's mini MEBluConnect and MEBluConnect have wireless transmitters that enable sounds to be streamed from BlueTooth devices like cell phones and televisions. The MEComConnect transmitter also enables electronic devices without BlueTooth capability to transmit BlueTooth audio.[29][30] Miracle-Ear also offers a smartphone application for Android mobile devices, which allows hearing aid adjustments to be made from the smartphone.[31][32]

Current styles[edit]

Miracle-Ear hearing aid styles include behind-the-ear (BTE), receiver-in-canal (RIC), in-the-ear (ITE), in-the-canal (ITC), and completely-in-the-canal (CIC) devices.[33] The Mirage, an invisible CIC (completely-in-the-canal) hearing aid, uses microtechnology and includes feedback cancellation, digital noise reduction, programmable settings, peak smoothing, and SoundBoost volume control.[34][35] Miracle-Ear's Aquavi model is waterproof, dustproof, and virtually shockproof.[25][26]

Corporate history and activities[edit]

Kenneth Dahlberg sold his company Dahlberg, Inc., and its subsidiary Miracle-Ear, to Motorola in 1959, and subsequently reacquired the company in 1964.[8] Miracle-Ear began franchising in 1984.[3][36] Dahlberg sold the company to Bausch & Lomb in 1993.[37] In 1999 Amplifon acquired Dahlberg, Inc. from Bausch & Lomb, and that year Dahlberg, Inc. and its subsidiary Miracle-Ear, Inc. merged into Miracle-Ear, Inc.[38] In 2014, the company added several locations in Canada, with plans to open more Canadian outlets.[4]

In 1990, the Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation was founded to provide free hearing aids and services to children for families who could not afford hearing aids.[39] The foundation donated more than 6,500 hearing aids to over 4,100 children in the U.S.[40] In 2013, the Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation was transformed into the Miracle-Ear Foundation, in order to provide free hearing aids to both adults and children in need.[40][41] In 2014, the Miracle-Ear Foundation initiated and co-sponsored "One Day Without Sound", which encourages hearing persons to remove sound from their lives for one day in order to empathize with hearing loss.[42]

Miracle-Ear was a sponsor of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta,[43] which included a Miracle-Ear Olympic Hearing Center.[44] A technician at the Miracle-Ear Olympic Hearing Center identified that a member of the Rwandan track team was suffering from severe hearing loss,[45] and Miracle-Ear assisted the runner so that an ear specialist in the U.S. could perform surgeries which restored the athlete's hearing.[43][46][47]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Amplifon – Brands. Amplifon.com.
  2. ^ a b Franchises – Miracle-Ear Inc.. 2014 Franchise 500. Entrepreneur.
  3. ^ a b Miracle-Ear. Business World Magazine. October 24, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "North America's Most Recognized Hearing Aid Brand, Miracle-Ear, Is Now in Canada". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. March 21, 2014.
  5. ^ About Miracle-Ear. Miracle-Ear.com.
  6. ^ Lifelong Partnership. Miracle-Ear.com.
  7. ^ Hamel, Mike. The Entrepreneur's Creed: The Principles & Passions of 20 Successful Entrepreneurs. Armour Publishing, 2001. pp. 192–201.
  8. ^ a b Stavig, Vicky. "Kenneth Dahlberg: Still Airborne". Twin Cities Business. July 1, 2003.
  9. ^ 49-6 Pillow Speaker. RadioMuseum.org.
  10. ^ Freireich, Gordon. "A token of York Hospital's past". York Daily Record. August 12, 2011.
  11. ^ Dahlberg D-5 Hearing Aid. HearingAidMuseum.com.
  12. ^ Timeline of Hearing Devices and Early Deaf Education. Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine.
  13. ^ Dahlberg model D-10 Magic Ear. Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine.
  14. ^ Concealed Hearing Devices of the 20th Century. Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine.
  15. ^ Hearing Aid Museum – Transistor. Kent State University.
  16. ^ Tye-Murray, Nancy. Foundations of Aural Rehabilitation: Children, Adults, and Their Family Members. Cengage Learning, 2008. p. 89.
  17. ^ Bernafon Canada – History. Bernafon.ca.
  18. ^ Cole, William F. "Current Design Options and Criteria for Hearing Aids". Journal of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; Supplement 1. January 1993. p. 9.
  19. ^ Roland-Mieszkowski, Marek. "Digital Hearing Aids – the Way of the Future". Proceedings from Acoustic Week in Canada 1991, CAA Conference, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, October 1991.
  20. ^ Chasin, Marshall. "Interview with Bill Cole, Hearing Aid Pioneer". AudiologyOnline.com. June 11, 2007.
  21. ^ Hearing Loss: The Journal of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Volume 17. Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc., 1997. p. 6.
  22. ^ "FDA clears Dahlberg noise claim". The Hearing Journal, 50:7. 1997.
  23. ^ a b Miracle-Ear – About. Facebook.
  24. ^ "Miracle-Ear Announces 100% Invisible Hearing Aid". PR Web. January 31, 2011.
  25. ^ a b c "New Aquavi Hearing Aid From Miracle-Ear Supports Active Lifestyle for the Hearing Impaired". Reuters. August 15, 2011.
  26. ^ a b Advanced Waterproof Hearing Aid: Miracle-Ear Aquavi. Miracle-Ear.com.
  27. ^ "Miracle-Ear Launches ClearVation Technology Platform". Franchising.com. January 30, 2013.
  28. ^ A Smarter Way To Hear. Miracle-Ear.com.
  29. ^ "Wireless Technology Drives Advances in Hearing Aid Design and Accessories". Reuters. November 2, 2011.
  30. ^ Wireless Transmitters. Miracle-Ear.com.
  31. ^ "Miracle-Ear Launches Mini MEBluConnect Remote App". BioSpace.com. July 15, 2013.
  32. ^ Miracle-Ear Android app. Google Play Apps.
  33. ^ Types of Hearing Aids. Miracle-Ear.com.
  34. ^ Copithorne, David. "Miracle-Ear Mirage Is The Latest Entrant In The Burgeoning Market For Invisible Hearing Aids". Hearing Mojo. March 8, 2011.
  35. ^ The Invisible Hearing Aid: Miracle-Ear Mirage. Miracle-Ear.com.
  36. ^ Miracle-Ear. Franchise Research Institute.
  37. ^ "Bausch & Lomb Buys Miracle Ear". The Buffalo News. February 3, 1993.
  38. ^ Rosemeyer, Brian. "65 years and counting of improving people’s lives through sound". Sun Sailor. April 24, 2013.
  39. ^ Hamel, Mike. The Entrepreneur's Creed: The Principles & Passions of 20 Successful Entrepreneurs. Armour Publishing, 2001. p. 199.
  40. ^ a b "Minneapolis Based Miracle-Ear Transforms 23 Year Old Non-Profit". PR Web. June 28, 2013.
  41. ^ Miracle-Ear Foundation – Official website
  42. ^ One Day Without Sound. OneDayWithoutSound.org.
  43. ^ a b Dillard, Tricia. "Wayne Minshew: from the big leagues to the local coffee shop". Northwest Georgia News. March 27, 2012.
  44. ^ "Bausch & Lomb Helps Olympic Athletes Focus on the Gold". PR Newswire. April 17, 1996.
  45. ^ "An Olympic Saga". Sports Illustrated. December 16, 1996.
  46. ^ Ryan, Michael. "Now He Can Hear the Cheers". Herald-Journal. May 18, 1997.
  47. ^ "Rwandan's Prize Is His Hearing Back". New York Times. December 29, 1996.

External links[edit]