Custom Made by ReSound Hearing Aid Launched by GN: Interview with GN Hearing CEO Gitte Aabo

GN Hearing, one of the world’s leading hearing aid manufacturers, announced today the launch Custom made by Resound, a fully-custom rechargeable hearing aid that supports wireless streaming from iOS and Android. Built for all-day use and comfort with a stylish design, Custom is a robust, medical-grade hearing aid that complements GN’s new instant-fit solution, Jabra Enhance Plus.

Every ear is different. Custom relies on exact renderings of both ear canals—taken digitally or using silicone impression material—to build hearing aids that fit the unique shape of your ears. As such, they’re designed to be worn comfortably and confidently all day long.

Custom By Resound

Custom by ReSound offer an innovative design and water-resistant construction.

Custom delivers three new innovations for ReSound:

  • An industry first, Custom’s charger contains two specially created inserts that match the shape of each hearing aid for a seamless, reliable charging. The aids are said to offer up to 24 hours use-time on a single charge–even when streaming–for all-day use.
  • ReSound has completely reimagined the push button to introduce a modern push button that is accessible over a much larger portion of the faceplate.
  • Custom delivers a 30% improvement in speech understanding in noise and 1-2 dB more directional benefit compared to the company’s previous custom product, ReSound LiNX Quattro.

Custom made by ReSound come in a choice of colors and will be available in a new In-style™ anthracite color or Blend-in™ hair and skin tones. The hearing aid is planned for regulatory clearance and roll out starting in the US on June 29, 2022, along with the equivalent Beltone Imagine line-up in both ITC (in-the-canal) and ITE (in-the-ear) styles. The hearing aid will initially be available on a limited basis, with ramp-up of supply increasing through July and the rest of summer.

Interview with GN Hearing CEO Gitte Aabo

With the launch of Custom made by Resound, HearingTracker thought it would be a good idea to catch up with GN Hearing CEO Gitte Pugholm Aabo to get her thoughts on the new product line.

GN Hearing CEO Gitte Pugholm Aabo

GN Hearing CEO Gitte Pugholm Aabo

HearingTracker: Thanks for speaking with us today, Gitte! Hearing Industries Association (HIA) statistics suggest that behind the ear (BTE) and receiver in the ear (RIC) hearing aid styles now account for about 87% of the hearing aids dispensed in the United States. However, I’ve always believed that ITE devices are woefully underutilized here. It’s also interesting—given all the new technology coming out, including your recently released Jabra Enhance Plus earbuds—if you think it’s possible for the smaller custom devices to gain greater popularity in the future?

Aabo: There’s no doubt the BTE/RIC form factor is very popular in terms of volume, and I expect that will continue to be the case. However, it might be worthwhile to point out there are some markets—Japan for example—where custom has become much more popular after the pandemic which required everyone to wear face masks [BTE/RICs can get tangled in the face mask and/or fall off when removing the mask]...Additionally, as another example, we've also seen in the VA that the custom form factor has grown in relative importance after rechargeability was added to the product.

I think our new Custom made by Resound hearing aids fulfill an important consumer need and have great potential, particularly because of the rechargeability. This certainly makes these hearing aids much more convenient for users. Combine that with a great user experience in terms of the sound quality and connectivity for Bluetooth streaming and hands-free phone calls, and this is a really strong, cosmetically attractive product offering.

HearingTracker: Speaking of rechargeability, the recharging unit for the Custom hearing aid also has a custom mold element to it. Can you tell us about that?

Aabo: That’s right. We believe having a custom insert incorporated into the recharger that mirrors the hearing aid shell is a great advantage, ensuring good electrical contact between the aid and recharger. And the other advantage is it’s much easier for the user, because the hearing aids slip exactly into place, thereby ensuring that charging goes smoothly. Many older users have dexterity issues or may be limited to using only one hand. The new recharger is certainly an improvement in terms of making a product that is truly individualized and customized for the specific person using it. That’s a trend we see strongly everywhere: people would like to have products tailor-made for them. Ultimately, this is a big advantage for the user and a step forward for our industry.

HearingTracker: GN research has recently found evidence that headsets and earbuds might be serving as a common stepping stone towards more traditional, professionally fit amplification, right? 

Aabo: Yes. I think it’s an interesting fact our research shows 58% of people who have hearing difficulties early on in their journey will either use or try a headset or earbuds to address their hearing difficulties. I must admit that was news to me. We’ve known these products are one bridge to professionally fit hearing aids, but I’m a little bit surprised it's that many consumers who are using wireless earbuds or a headset as a trial or starting place for amplification. Given this information, one might also look at the new Custom made by ReSound as a way that GN is building off our expertise in both audio headsets and our wireless earbuds, and supporting the role of consumers in their hearing journey. 

HearingTracker: GN Hearing includes ReSound and Beltone, and your division obviously worked closely with GN Audio on the development of Jabra Enhance Plus earbuds. With all the different brands and products—including the recently added SteelSeries e-gaming company which even my teenage sons know about—how does GN leverage these different technologies and get the right products to market?

Aabo: Well, obviously, we run the company in different divisions. So GN Hearing’s engineering is a separate division, as is GN Audio, and so on. This is one way to ensure that each part of the business gets sufficient focus. At the same time, we obviously want to benefit from the important synergies, because at least one common denominator across all the companies, including the recent addition of SteelSeries, is the advanced processing of sound. I’m not an e-gamer myself, but one of the key offerings from SteelSeries are headsets which play a big role of having a full gaming experience.

I think the technology GN Hearing offers in our hearing aids is the most advanced anywhere, and all our innovations come in a radically miniaturized format. Obviously, that's especially true for our Custom made by ReSound products which fit into the ear canal. But, overall, it also builds on our whole organic hearing philosophy in terms of bringing the greatest sound experience possible to consumers. Ultimately, a great sound experience—and allowing people to hear and communicate well again—is what consumers are looking for in a hearing aid in the first place.