23 mrt Richard Zoetemelk (WS Audiology): ‘Letting people enjoy the sounds that make life great’
WS Audiology was created from a merger in 2019 between Widex and Sivantos. In the new form, WS Audiology, as a manufacturer of hearing aids, represents over 140 years of experience and expertise in audiological applications such as hearing aids. Every day WS Audiology continues to pioneer using the latest technology to help people with hearing loss enjoy the sounds that make life great.
Market in motion
Now one in three current hearing aids is produced by WS Audiology. “We are active in 125 different countries and employ about 11,000 people worldwide. That offers plenty of opportunities. We want to be a leader in innovation, both in terms of hearing solutions and our services. As supportive professionals we want to be able to provide the best care. We want to make hearing aids and hearing care more accessible and stimulate transformation to advance hearing care.” There are also challenges. “The pressure on healthcare has increased enormously in recent years,” Richard explains. “The big question is whether hearing aids will remain part of the basic health insurance package. In addition, we must get rid of the stigma that hearing aids are only for old people. Hearing aids are not only to improve hearing, but also to prevent possible damage. We need to widen the interest and show that hearing aids are hip and cool, and easy to apply, wherever and whenever you want. For example when you go to a pub with your friends for an evening.”
Richard also sees a field of tension between healthcare and commerce. “There is a large playing field in which Apple, Bose and Sennheiser operate. As a manufacturer, we are quite interested in this, but that is at odds with hearing care and the services that do not fit in large department stores. Yet both worlds are getting closer and closer. The future will show how this will develop further. In any case, as a manufacturer, we are ready for it.”
“A major challenge is getting people to seek help sooner,” says Richard. “Others have often known it already for a long time when someone has a hearing problem, but the person does not want to deal with it yet. Just take the trouble to get your hearing tested. Usually it costs nothing, but then you know where you stand. Waiting too long can even be harmful to your brain, so take that step.”
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