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Sonova Group
TypePublic company
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
RevenueCHF 2,645 billion (2018)[1]
Number of employees
14,242 (2018)[1]

Sonova Holding AG (Phonak Holding AG before 1 August 2007) is an internationally active Swiss company headquartered in Stäfa that specializes in hearing care solutions (hearing instruments, cochlear implants, wireless communication solutions). It is one of the largest providers in the sector worldwide. The group operates through its core business brands Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Advanced Bionics and AudioNova.

On 1 August 2007 Phonak AG officially changed its name to Sonova Holding AG.

Sonova Group and its brands hold 24% of the global hearing aid market in sales.[2]


A child wearing the company's Advanced Bionics cochlear implant with custom decorative covers.

The group traces its roots back to the Zurich-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.[3] Ernst Rihs acquired a majority shareholding in 1965, renaming the company Phonak AG. 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. The company was floated on the SWX Swiss Exchange[2] in 1994 and renamed Sonova Holding AG on 1 August 2007, although this change applied only to the holding company; all the subsidiaries (including Phonak AG) and product names have remained unaffected.


Sonova mainly develops and markets hearing aids, cochlear implants, and wireless communication devices compatible with their hearing devices. As of March 2018, the Sonova Group was present in more than 90 countries and employed 14,242 staff, and had sales of CHF 2,645.9 million the previous year.[1]

The group consists of more than 30 constituent companies.[4] 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.[5] The purchase was successfully completed in January 2010.[6]

In March 2015, Sonova announced the takeover of Hansaton Akustik GmbH, a Hamburg-based, family-run wholesale hearing instrument company.[7] The purchase was successfully completed in April 2015.[8]

In May 2016, Sonova announced agreement to acquire AudioNova International B.V., one of Europe's largest hearing aid retailers,[9] 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.[10]

Social engagement and sponsoring[edit]

The Phonak Group sponsored the Phonak Cycling Team for seven years between 2000 and 2006, although its involvement in competition cycling and the successes it achieved were somewhat eclipsed by several doping affairs in which top riders from the Phonak Cycling Team were repeatedly implicated. On 28 July 2006, Phonak announced it was discontinuing its sponsorship activities in competition cycling.

In the fall of 2006, the Group's Phonak AG subsidiary launched the Hear the World Foundation. The Foundation's aim is to create a world in which each person has the chance of good hearing.[11]

The Foundation became a group-wide initiative of Sonova in October 2012.[12]


Sonova operates through its following core business brands:[13]


Phonak manufactures a wide range of digital hearing aids and integrated wireless communication systems.[14] 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.[15][16] In 2016, Phonak launched their first rechargeable hearing aid device.[17]


Unitron is another hearing aid producer owned by Sonova. Unitron was founded in 1964 and currently operates within 70 countries.[18][19]

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.[20]

Upon the acquisition by Sonova, Advanced Bionics started integrating Phonak technology into their speech processors, starting with the Naída series.[21] Along with sound processors, the company utilizes Phonak technology for bluetooth streaming, Easycall,[22] and FM systems.[23]

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 70% of the market; as percent of the market share Advanced Bionics holds less than Cochlear Limited and more than MED-EL.[24][25]

HiRes90k injuries[edit]

In November 2010, Advanced Bionics voluntarily recalled a batch of its HiRes 90K implants after at least two pediatric patients - Grace Bagadiong and Breanna Sadler, experienced painful malfunctions that resulted in electric shocks, convulsing, and vomiting.[26][27] In Sadler v. Advanced Bionics the company was found to have been negligent and forced to pay punitive damages as well as for the medical care needed by the victim of the faulty device,[28] but the company announced it would appeal on the grounds of the punitive damages being too high.[29] Years before two pediatric 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.[27]


Sennheiser Consumer Business is an consumer electronics manufacturer specializing in audio. Sennheiser had announced that they are looking to sell their consumer business to a willing buyer and it was announced that on 7 May 2021 that Sonova will be acquiring the business for an undisclosed amount. A complete transfer of operations of the Consumer Electronics business to Sonova is planned. Existing Sennheiser employees will be transferred to Sonova's offices globally. It is estimated that there is about 600 employees involved in the transition.[30]


  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.
  4. ^ [3] Annual Report Sonova 2012/2013
  5. ^ [4] Media Release 11 September 2009
  6. ^ [5] Sonova Media Release 1 April 2010
  7. ^ [6] Media Release 3 February 2015
  8. ^ [7] Sonova Media Release 16 April 2016
  9. ^ [8] Media Release 5 April 2016
  10. ^ [9] Media Release 15 September 2016
  11. ^ "Corporate Social Responsibility at Sonova". Sonova.
  12. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 November 2016. Retrieved 3 November 2016.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) Hear The World Press Release 15 October 2012
  13. ^ "About us: Brands". Sonova.
  14. ^ "About Phonak". Phonak.
  15. ^ Hebeisen, Cheri. "Roger Pen and Roger Clip-on Mic: Adult Solutions Cheri Hebeisen". AudiologyOnline. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  16. ^ "Google". Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  17. ^ "Phonak Launches Lithium-ion Rechargeable Battery Hearing Aids". Hearing Review. Retrieved 1 March 2017.
  18. ^ "About Unitron". Unitron.
  19. ^ "Meet Unitron". Retrieved 18 October 2017.
  20. ^ "About us". Advanced Bionics.
  21. ^ "Advanced Bionics And Phonak Cross-Fertilize Hearing Aid And Cochlear Implant Technologies". Hearing Mojo. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  22. ^ "Advanced Bionics Announces Future Compatibility with Phonak EasyCall". AudiologyOnline. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  23. ^ "Phonak Roger 17 integrated receiver (type 03) | Connevans". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  24. ^ "Big risk in Cochlear's recall". 12 September 2011. Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  25. ^ "New global market analysis for cochlear implants 2016-2020". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  26. ^ Health, Center for Devices and Radiological. "Recalls, Market Withdrawals, & Safety Alerts - Advanced Bionics Announces Voluntary Recall of the Hires 90k Cochlear Implant". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  27. ^ a b Myers, Michael; Konsar, Lisa. "Defective cochlear implants shocked kids – even though company had been warned". Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  28. ^ Wolfson, Andrew. "Jury awards $7.25M for hearing aid that severely shocked". USA TODAY. Retrieved 10 February 2017.
  29. ^ "Advanced Bionics will appeal the cochlear implant verdict | Sonova". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  30. ^ 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.