Today’s guest post is from Holly Schissel. In her role as our Market Roadmap Manager, Holly is responsible for working with domestic and international leadership teams to ensure our product line meets the needs of the market. She recently traveled to China to attend and assist in the Z Series and CN product line launch for the Chinese markets, which was attended by more than 450 hearing care professionals. Below, Holly reflects on the important similarities and differences between in the U.S. and Chinese markets.
Thinking back on my recent trip to Beijing to support the Starkey China Innovation Forum and new product launch, I am struck that although there are many similarities between the U.S. and Chinese markets, there are also significant differences.
How are we similar? Starkey providers around the world share a passion for providing better hearing. They are eager to learn about the new technology, products and solutions for their patients. Hearing aid wearers both here and in China seek better hearing in order to connect with loved ones. Wearers around the world have a need for high-performance hearing aids that can handle many different environments, especially noisy ones.
How are we different? Listening to the conversations and lectures at the launch event made the differences readily apparent. The Mandarin language is a more tonal language, meaning there are more vowels, whereas the English language has many more consonants. Despite these differences, hearing aids for people listening to Chinese processed sounds exactly the same as someone listening to English speakers.
I am proud that Starkey has recognized this and has put a strategic focus and Research and Development resources into providing a product line specifically for China. For the last several years, Starkey researchers have been working with researchers from the Institute of Acoustics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IACAS) to better understand the spectral differences between English and Mandarin, as well as conducting studies to define the best amplification characteristics for a hearing aid.
Today, thanks to the hard work of Starkey researchers and the IACAS, we’re proud of our newest algorithms and the world’s first “Made for China” hearing aid product line: 3 Series.CN. New compression and noise management parameters are designed to work optimally for this more tonal language. Where will hearing technology go from here? With time, resources and perseverance, opportunities could be endless.