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Sonova Holding AG
Company typeAktiengesellschaft
IndustryMedical devices
Founded1947 (company), 1985 (holding)
HeadquartersStäfa, canton of Zürich, Switzerland
Key people
Robert F. Spoerry, Chairman
Beat Hess, Vice-Chairman
Arnd Kaldowski, CEO
ProductsHearing instruments
Advanced Bionics
AudioNova Group and Sennheiser
RevenueCHF 2,645.9 million (2018)[1]
Number of employees
14,242 (2018)[1]

Sonova Holding AG (Phonak Holding AG before 1 August 2007) is an internationally active Swiss group of companies headquartered in Stäfa that specializes in hearing care (hearing instruments, cochlear implants, wireless communication). The Sonova group operates through its core business brands Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Advanced Bionics, AudioNova and Sennheiser. It is one of the largest providers in the sector worldwide. The group and it's brands hold 24% of the global hearing aid market in sales.[2] As of 11 September 2022, Sonova was a component of the Swiss Market Index.[3]


The group traces its roots back to the Zürich-based AG für Elektroakustik, which was founded in 1947 with the participation of Ernst Rihs who acquired a majority shareholding in 1965, renaming the company Phonak AG in 1977.[4] His two sons, Hans-Ueli and Andy Rihs, also went on to join the firm, along with Beda Diethelm; after Ernst Rihs' death, the two sons took over his shares while Beda Diethelm became a shareholder with equal rights.

Phonak Holding AG was founded in 1985 as a holding company for the Phonak Group. In 1987 corporate headquarters were moved from Zurich to Stäfa. The company was floated on the SWX Swiss Exchange in 1994 and renamed Sonova Holding AG on 1 August 2007, although this change applied only to the holding company and in parts to the subsidiaries; the product names have remained unaffected.


Sonova mainly develops and markets hearing aids, cochlear implants, and wireless communication devices compatible with their hearing devices.[1]

The group consists of more than 30 constituent companies.[5] Its research facilities are located in Switzerland, Canada, and the US, with manufacturing plants in Switzerland, China and Vietnam. Distribution is handled by its in-house wholesale network and independent sales partners. The group also owns retail outlets in selected countries.

In November 2009, Sonova announced the takeover of the Advanced Bionics Corporation, a company based in California which specializes in developing and manufacturing cochlear implants.[6] The purchase was successfully completed in January 2010.[7]

In March 2015, Sonova announced the takeover of Hansaton Akustik GmbH, a Hamburg-based, family-run wholesale hearing instrument company.[8] The purchase was successfully completed in April 2015.[9]

In May 2016, Sonova announced an agreement to acquire AudioNova International B.V., one of Europe's largest hearing aid retailers,[10] and successfully completed the acquisition of AudioNova in September 2016. The combination of AudioNova and Sonova creates one of the broadest hearing aid retail service networks in Europe.[11]


Sonova operates through its following core business brands:[12]


Phonak manufactures a wide range of digital hearing aids and integrated wireless communication systems.[13] After the merger of Advanced Bionics into Sonova, Phonak started developing wireless technology for Advanced Bionics cochlear implants; notably the Roger receivers that connect to cochlear implant speech processors.[14][15] In 2016, Phonak launched their first rechargeable hearing aid device.[16]


Unitron is a hearing aid manufacturer founded in 1964 in Newfoundland, Canada. Today, it operates in more than 70 countries and is headquartered in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada.[17][18]

2006 Advanced Bionics Harmony sound processor
2015 Naída sound processor outfitted with a T-Mic

Advanced Bionics[edit]

Advanced Bionics was founded in 1993 and has been a subsidiary of the Sonova group since 2009. Advanced Bionics develops cochlear implant technology designed to help children and adults with profound hearing loss receive greater access to sound.[19]

Upon the acquisition by Sonova, Advanced Bionics started integrating Phonak technology into their speech processors, starting with the Naída series.[20] Along with sound processors, the company utilizes Phonak technology for bluetooth streaming, Easycall,[21] and FM systems.[22]

As of 2016, Advanced Bionics' primary competitors were MED-EL and Cochlear Limited in the cochlear implant market, in which those two companies held around 67% of the market; as percent of the market share Advanced Bionics (20%) holds less than Cochlear Limited and more than MED-EL (17%).[23][24][25] In 2022 Advanced Bionics lost 5% of the market to Cochlear Limited and Med-EL due to implant recalls.[26]

In 2020, the company released the world's first cochlear implant sound processor specifically for children. The Sky CI M uses Phonak's Marvel platform and has Phonak Roger technology built in.[27]

Implant recalls[edit]

HiRes90k injuries[edit]

In November 2010, Advanced Bionics recalled a batch of its HiRes 90K implants after many recipients, including children experienced painful malfunctions that caused electric shocks, convulsing, and vomiting.[28][29] In Sadler v. Advanced Bionics, the company was found to have been negligent and was forced to pay punitive damages as well as for the medical care needed by the victim of the faulty device,[30] but the company announced it would appeal on the grounds of the punitive damages being too high.[31] Years before patients had experienced such drastic device failures, the company had been repeatedly warned of problems with the HiRes90k since 2004. Over 4000 devices were recalled, of which 1000 had failed.[29]

Ultra 3D quality issue[edit]

In March 2020, Advanced bionics recalled a batch of its Ultra 3D implants due to poor performance.[32]


Sennheiser Consumer Business is a consumer electronics manufacturer specializing in audio. Sennheiser had announced that they are looking to sell their consumer business to a willing buyer to focus on the Professional business. It was announced on 7 May 2021 that Sonova would be acquiring the business for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition had been completed in early 2022. The brand has become part of Sonova's Consumer Hearing department. It is estimated that about 600 employees had been involved in the transition.[33][34][35]


  1. ^ a b c [1] Annual Report 2017/2018
  2. ^ "Bernstein analyzes world hearing aid market | David H. Kirkwood |". Hearing News Watch. 3 July 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  3. ^ "Ab September: Sonova verdrängt SGS aus dem SMI". Handelszeitung (in Swiss High German). Retrieved 6 November 2022.
  5. ^ [3] Annual Report Sonova 2012/2013
  6. ^ [4] Media Release 11 September 2009
  7. ^ [5] Sonova Media Release 1 April 2010
  8. ^ [6] Media Release 3 February 2015
  9. ^ [7] Sonova Media Release 16 April 2016
  10. ^ [8] Media Release 5 April 2016
  11. ^ [9] Media Release 15 September 2016
  12. ^ "About us: Brands". Sonova.
  13. ^ "About Phonak". Phonak.
  14. ^ Hebeisen, Cheri. "Roger Pen and Roger Clip-on Mic: Adult Solutions Cheri Hebeisen". AudiologyOnline. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  15. ^ "Google". www.google.com. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Phonak Launches Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery Hearing Aids". Hearing Review. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Meet Unitron". www.unitron.com. Retrieved 7 November 2022.
  18. ^ "About". www.unitron.com. Retrieved 7 November 2022.
  19. ^ "About us". Advanced Bionics.
  20. ^ "Advanced Bionics And Phonak Cross-Fertilize Hearing Aid And Cochlear Implant Technologies". Hearing Mojo. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  21. ^ "Advanced Bionics Announces Future Compatibility with Phonak EasyCall". AudiologyOnline. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Phonak Roger 17 integrated receiver (type 03) | Connevans". www.connevans.co.uk. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Big risk in Cochlear's recall". 12 September 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  24. ^ "New global market analysis for cochlear implants 2016-2020". www.audiology-worldnews.com. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  25. ^ Witcomb, Graham (26 October 2016). "Cochlear: the hearing industry heavyweight". Intelligent Investor. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  26. ^ Zeng, Fan-Gang (2022). "Celebrating the one millionth cochlear implant". JASA Express Letters. 2 (7): 077201. doi:10.1121/10.0012825. PMID 36154048. S2CID 251164704.
  27. ^ "Advanced Bionics Receives FDA Approval for Marvel Cochlear Implant Platform and World's First Sound Processor for Children". www.businesswire.com. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  28. ^ Health, Center for Devices and Radiological. "Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts - Advanced Bionics Announces Voluntary Recall of the Hires 90k Cochlear Implant". www.fda.gov. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  29. ^ a b Myers, Michael; Konsar, Lisa. "Defective cochlear implants shocked kids – even though company had been warned". TODAY.com. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  30. ^ Wolfson, Andrew. "Jury awards $7.25M for hearing aid that severely shocked". USA TODAY. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  31. ^ "Advanced Bionics will appeal the cochlear implant verdict | Sonova". www.sonova.com. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  32. ^ "Advanced Bionics recalls certain cochlear implants due to hearing degradation". +MassDevice. 2 March 2020. Retrieved 21 September 2022.
  33. ^ Sparrow, Mark (9 March 2022). "Sonova Lays Out Its Plans For Recent Acquisition Of Sennheiser Consumer Division". Sennheiser Newsroom. Retrieved 8 March 2023.
  34. ^ "Closing of Sennheiser Consumer Division Acquisition by Sonova expected in the first quarter of 2022". Sennheiser Newsroom. 19 October 2021.
  35. ^ Oer, Mareike (7 May 2021). "Sonova acquires Sennheiser Consumer Business". Sennheiser Newsroom. Sennheiser GmbH & Co. KG. Archived from the original on 7 May 2021. Retrieved 7 May 2021.