Miracle-Ear

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

Miracle-Ear, Inc. is a 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 United States Food and Drug Administration (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 MEBluConnect and mini MEBluConnect have a Bluetooth radio to receive sound from Bluetooth audio sources, such as cell phones and televisions. Its 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]

In 2015, the company announced its new GENIUS technology hearing aids. According to the press release, the technology provides "up to 25% better speech recognition in challenging listening environments than people with normal hearing".[36] The new line of hearing aids offer directional focus, removal of wind noise, zeroing-in on voices and conversations, and high-definition digital sound.[36] They can be fine-tuned to accommodate any specific hearing-loss type, and can be adjusted on the spot to conditions such as wind turbulence and background noise.[37]

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][38] Dahlberg sold the company to Bausch & Lomb in 1993.[39] 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.[40] 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.[41] The foundation donated more than 6,500 hearing aids to over 4,100 children in the U.S.[42] 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.[42][43] 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.[44]

Miracle-Ear was a sponsor of the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta,[45] which included a Miracle-Ear Olympic Hearing Center.[46] A technician at the Miracle-Ear Olympic Hearing Center identified that a member of the Rwandan track team was suffering from severe hearing loss,[47] and Miracle-Ear assisted the runner so that an ear specialist in the U.S. could perform surgeries which restored the athlete's hearing.[45][48][49]

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. ^ a b "New Miracle-Ear GENIUS™ Technology Provides Better than Normal Hearing". PR Web. February 18, 2015.
  37. ^ Nowlen, Chuck. "New Hudson Miracle Ear manager promises the very best". Hudson Star-Observer. February 28, 2015.
  38. ^ Miracle-Ear. Franchise Research Institute.
  39. ^ "Bausch & Lomb Buys Miracle Ear". The Buffalo News. February 3, 1993.
  40. ^ Rosemeyer, Brian. "65 years and counting of improving people’s lives through sound". Sun Sailor. April 24, 2013.
  41. ^ Hamel, Mike. The Entrepreneur's Creed: The Principles & Passions of 20 Successful Entrepreneurs. Armour Publishing, 2001. p. 199.
  42. ^ a b "Minneapolis Based Miracle-Ear Transforms 23 Year Old Non-Profit". PR Web. June 28, 2013.
  43. ^ Miracle-Ear Foundation – Official website
  44. ^ One Day Without Sound. OneDayWithoutSound.org.
  45. ^ a b Dillard, Tricia. "Wayne Minshew: from the big leagues to the local coffee shop". Northwest Georgia News. March 27, 2012.
  46. ^ "Bausch & Lomb Helps Olympic Athletes Focus on the Gold". PR Newswire. April 17, 1996.
  47. ^ "An Olympic Saga". Sports Illustrated. December 16, 1996.
  48. ^ Ryan, Michael. "Now He Can Hear the Cheers". Herald-Journal. May 18, 1997.
  49. ^ "Rwandan's Prize Is His Hearing Back". New York Times. December 29, 1996.

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