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Our broad hearing healthcare
strategy drive impressive organic
growth and very strong earnings

2017 at a glance  

William Demant is here to improve the complete experience of those suffering from hearing impairment and for the hearing care professionals working with hearing healthcare. It is our ambition to expand our activities – to become the world’s leading hearing healthcare company – and in that capacity contribute to the elements that constitute the joy of a healthy life. Through a combination of deep patient understanding, close interaction with professionals and modern hearing technologies, we strongly believe that we can improve the quality of life of millions of people, and this motivates us in our daily work.

Download our Annual Report 2017 here or our Summary of Annual Report 2017 (Danish) here

— Group Revenue 2017 —

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(+10 %)

— EBIT 2017—

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(+18 %)

*Before announced restructuring costs

  

— FREE CASH FLOW 2017  —

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(+13 %)

 

— EBIT outlook 2018 —

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*Before announced restructuring costs  

Intervention can reduce negative side effects

Hearing care is healthcare. This philosophy is receiving increasing international recognition, as more and more evidence points to the fact that proper treatment of hearing loss is extremely valuable for the individual and for society. 



Let us look at the staggering facts for a while. WHO estimates the global annual cost of unaddressed hearing loss to be about USD 750 billion. Half a billion people, or almost 7% of the global population, had disabling hearing loss in 2015, and hearing loss is now the fourth leading cause of years lived with disability (Review examining the burden of hearing loss, The Lancet, December 2017).

Even though low-income and middle-income countries carry 80% of the burden of disabling hearing loss, the problem cannot be ignored by high-income countries, where those experiencing hearing loss are twice as likely to be unemployed and earn half the median income (The Lancet, December 2017).

Cause of health problems

Hearing loss does not only affect the ability to hear sound, it also puts a strain on the brain as it tries to interpret the meaning of words, organise sounds, orient sound direction and refocus. This is especially true in noisy environments, and a very common outcome for people with untreated or poorly treated hearing loss is to avoid social situations. This can leave them feeling very isolated and alone. 

The lack of social interaction, resulting from untreated hearing loss, has been identified as the cause of many long-term health problems. These can include depression, isolation, mental fatigue and difficulty remembering what was said during a conversation and have even been linked with the acceleration of cognitive decline, including dementia. In a recent study, hearing loss was listed as the largest modifiable risk factor contributing to dementia (Livingstone et al, 2017 – Dementia prevention, intervention and care).  

 

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Enjoy sound and social interaction

Determining hearing loss as a modifiable risk also means that there are possibilities to intervene. Wearing hearing aids to treat a hearing impairment lets users once again enjoy sound and social interaction, both of which stimulate the brain and ultimately help reduce the common side effects associated with untreated hearing loss, such as fatigue, withdrawal and stress. 

This is why it is so very important to seek medical assistance or to see a hearing specialist. William Demant-owned Oticon has studied BrainHearing™ for over 20 years. This includes finding ways to help ears turn sound into rich information for the brain in order to alleviate the effort of hearing. Recent studies show that Oticon hearing solutions make it possible for those with hearing loss to interact in more social situations and that the use of Oticon hearing solutions is therefore likely to minimise social withdrawal.

 

 

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New scientific evidence highlights benefits of Oticon Opn 

New evidence on the performance of Oticon Opn is an outcome of the collaboration between Oticon and Eriksholm Research Centre.

 

When Opn was launched in 2016, Oticon ushered in a paradigm shift within hearing aid technology. Since then, Oticon Opn has been a huge success with extremely positive end-user and customer feedback. A new scientific study takes the Opn story a step further and presents even greater benefits for the end-user. 

“In our most recent study, we show that the users benefit from Opn in a much broader spectrum of listening scenarios compared to what we have seen from earlier technology. From the easy to the challenging listening scenarios, Opn performs fantastically due to our extremely fast technology, which detects and removes noise immediately”, explains Chief Audiologist at Oticon, Thomas Behrens. 

The power of OpenSound Navigator

The results of the study show a wide array of user benefits within various areas. First of all, the speech understanding is massively improved due to the OpenSound Navigator feature:

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“In general, you are not able to follow a conversation, when the speech understanding is below 50%”, says Jan Kofoed-Hansen, Director Marketing at Oticon. “With OpenSound Navigator, we improve speech understanding from 20% to 75% in restaurant-like environments."

 

However, the positive results are not restricted to the difficult listening scenarios, as there are benefits in both simple and complex environments. In the same study, the cognitive load on the brain has also been under scrutiny, using pupillometry measurements, which Eriksholm was undertaking with an external research partner in the Netherlands.

“The impact of Opn and OpenSound Navigator is very positive. From the easy to the difficult listening environments, we demonstrate that the cognitive load on the brain is reduced. In short, OpenSound Navigator enables users to access far more listening scenarios, with significant less load on the brain”, Jan explains.

A unique setup

The positive study results are an outcome of the work taking place in the Centre for Applied Audiology Research at Oticon, which is headed by Thomas Behrens, as well as at Eriksholm Research Centre, spearheaded by Thomas Lunner and his Cognitive Hearing Science team, explains Thomas Behrens: 

“The studies are a direct outcome of the strategic alignment between Eriksholm and Oticon, which we started 2-3 years before launching Opn. This unique way of working is what we see the advantage of now. Eriksholm engages in studies that prepare us for the future, but they also focus on technologies that have commercial value for us here and now. And Eriksholm has truly made some unique contributions to reach these great results”, he says.  

 

 

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What your pupils tell you about hearing

New evidence proves the ability of  Oticon Opn to reduce listening effort.

 

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Hearing fitness: A step on the way towards
data-driven healthcare

Oticon is the master behind the world’s first hearing aid app dedicated to hearing fitness. The award winning HearingFitness™ app opens a new range of opportunities for the hearing aid user – and the use of hearing aids. 

 

Just like an exercise tracker, HearingFitness monitors the wearer’s “hearing fitness”, the impact of hearing on their overall health, and provides advice and encouragement that helps the wearer hear better and stay healthy. 

When used in conjunction with Oticon Opn internet-connected hearing aids, the Oticon HearingFitness app tracks hearing aid use, listening environments and other behavior, collating the data with measurements of heart rate, sleep patterns and other health markers to give hearing aid users advice and encouragement on ways to hear better, protect their hearing and stay healthy.

Data driven hearing care

The app provides data-driven hearing care to empower a digital generation of hearing aid users with insights to enable them to keep their mental faculties sharp and therefore optimize their health. This important step towards data-driven healthcare not only positions Oticon strongly in the market, it also add new possibilities steeply increase the learning needed to pave the way for a truly data-driven healthcare future.

Innovation Awards Winner

The Oticon HearingFitness™ app has been awarded a CES 2018 Innovation Award in the Software and Mobile Apps category. 

 

 

 

 

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“My hearing aid has restored my normal hearing.”

In her work as theatre manager at the Betty Nansen Theatre in Copenhagen, Vibeke Windeløv is very dependent on her hearing aids. Watch the video to learn more about Vibeke’s life with hearings aids OPN.


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Smallest ever sound processor for cochlear implants

Oticon Medical’s new Neuro 2 processor for cochlear implants is not only the smallest ever Behind The Ear sound processor. It is developed with a clear goal to make people hear better with less effort. On top of that the design of the processor has been acknowledged with several awards.

 

Taking the strain out of hearing

All technologies used in Neuro 2 are based on BrainHearing™, to make listening and understanding as easy as possible and to free up cognitive energy. These technologies include Speech Omni mode and Voice Guard, designed to preserve 95% of speech.

Award-winning design

Neuro 2 sets new aesthetic standards with an organic shape that is discreet and comfortable for users of all ages. Its design is characterised by an attention to detail that gives outstanding reliability and usability. This can be seen in its IP68 ranking, the ultra-strong transparent cable, and features such as the voice-activated system check and full wireless connectivity.
 “Our uncompromising commitment to design excellence in the Neuro 2 has already resulted in a number of design awards, including the prestigious Red Dot Award and German Design Award,” says Jes Olsen, President of Oticon Medical.

The perfect companion for every lifestyle

Alongside its aesthetic design and reliability, the Neuro 2 has a wealth of innovative features that makes it easy to use whatever the user’s lifestyle. For example, the cutting-edge voice-activated system check lets users see if their sound processor is working. In addition, the Neuro 2 sound processor offers full wireless connectivity and an extensive range of accessories – including a Swim kit, and multiple retention options so users of all ages can be active and live their life to the full.

 

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Designed by audiologists for audiologists

The new Genie Medical CI fitting software makes it easy to achieve great results with Neuro 2. Its innovative audiometric view and easy-to-use features have been designed based on input from professionals. The resulting software allows them to spend more time on patients and less on the screen.  

The perfect partner with Oticon hearing aids

For users who already use an Oticon hearing aid, the Neuro 2 provides the perfect match of sound processing technologies. Built on BrainHearing™, both instruments work in synergy – meanwhile optimised individually, so all important information is combined into a rich sound experience.

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“The Ponto has increased my capabilities, my gifts and passions.” 

Camilla Gilbert was born with a hearing loss. She is a BAHS (Bone Anchored Hearing System) user and has witnessed the benefits of Oticon Medical’s Ponto first hand. Watch the video to learn more about her story.


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No child with hearing impairment
left behind in school 

The research project called IHEAR aims at giving children with hearing impairment the same possibilities when they start in school as children with normal hearing. 

IHEAR is an abbreviation of “In school with HEARing impairment”, and the vision behind the project is to assure that no child with hearing impairment is left behind in school. The IHEAR project was initiated in the beginning of 2017 and it is set to run until the end of 2020. Most children with hearing impairment find it more challenging to perform academically and socially compared to children with normal hearing. 

The IHEAR project has two main goals: To investigate performance in school for children with hearing impairment and compare the performance to children with normal hearing, and to come up with solutions that will close any gap between children with hearing impairment and children with normal hearing that would be identified.

First large-scale paediatric hearing study run partly at a Danish hearing healthcare company

Almost 50 children aged 4-8, who are starting in school, participate in the IHEAR project. Some children use hearing aids and bone-anchored hearing systems, but most of the children are cochlear implants users. This gives Oticon Medical and Oticon – partners in the research project – an opportunity to learn more about the needs of children currently wearing hearing devices and what it takes to help improve their daily life.

Audiologists at Oticon Medical and Oticon carry out yearly assessments of children with hearing impairment. It is the first time that a Danish hearing healthcare company runs a paediatric study on so many children. 

Auditory-verbal practice

The IHEAR project uses auditory-verbal practice, which means that parents and teachers play a significant role in ensuring that children make the most of their hearing abilities, both at home and at school. The IHEAR project gives families and teachers specific tools and advice on how to help the children achieve their potential.  

The IHEAR project gives concrete advice to teachers and parents on how to make it easier for children with hearing impairment to engage in conversations, for example by framing sentences in different ways and stressing specific words.

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By facilitating exchanges between hearing specialists and teachers, the IHEAR project also intends to update knowledge on hearing impairment to help teachers and schools to better support children with hearing impairment. The project ensures that children with hearing impairment have all in place to reach the same academic levels as their peers – and thus get the same opportunities in life.

About the IHEAR project

The Oticon Foundation has supported the IHEAR project with 1.5 million Danish kroner and William Demant companies Oticon Medical and Oticon run the yearly hearing tests. 

The project is led by Decibel, a non-profit Danish patient organisation for children with hearing impairment. Besides Oticon Medical and Decibel, Innovation Fund Denmark, the Capital Region of Denmark, Rigshospitalet, and Aarhus University Hospital also participate in the project.

 

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Help more people hear better

Delivering accurate diagnostic hearing test results, the new automated hearing test, AMTAS, eases the life of the hearing care professional: The test enables hearing care professionals to allocate their time and help more people.



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AMTAS provides hearing clinics with the opportunity to let patients do their own hearing test, which allows hearing care professionals to see more patients at the same appointment time and focus their efforts on maximising hearing care. 

This new hearing test uses test methods and patented algorithms to perform screening or threshold audiometry, allowing the hearing care professional to focus on other patient care. 
The patient directed test method has been proven to deliver reliable and accurate basic diagnostic hearing test results. 

The test can be operated on a touch screen computer or a tablet, and its flexibility and ease of use allows for testing of hearing in locations other than the clinic or hearing aid retail location.

Use of AMTAS

William Demant owned Grason-Stadler (GSI) has secured an exclusive agreement to distribute AMTAS for the Group. Thus far, 22 US teaching hospitals utilise AMTAS, the US Veteran Affairs Hospitals have tested many patients, and many hearing aid dispensing clinics are now using AMTAS. 

 
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“They are cured. That is very rewarding. It helps people,”

says Joachim Hougaard, Technical Product Manager, Interacoustics, about the effect of the balance chair on people, who have been numerous times to therapy without results. Learn more about the cure for Benign Paroxystisk Positionel Vertigo – or dizziness

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employment

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We take people development seriously

Demant Training Academy ensures that employees are up to speed in terms of knowledge and development. Specialists are dedicated to provide state of the art courses and workshops, with William Demant’s own leaders and specialists as instructors to ensure a high level of relevance.

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    Our responsibility

    of life by running our business in a sustainable way. Visit Responsibility to find our CSR report and learn more about our commitment to being a responsible and reliable participant in the global community.

     
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    R&D

    Our international R&D organisation is a major catalyst for innovation. In 2017, we significantly expanded our software development centre in Warsaw, Demant Technology Centre. Along with our sites in Denmark, France, Sweden and Poland, our research centre Eriksholm plays a key role in our endeavours to always be at the forefront. 

     
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    Strategy

    Our strategic ambition is to further expand our position as the leading global hearing healthcare company with the broadest and deepest product offering. We invest in innovation and R&D, and a key focus area for us is to exploit synergies across our business activities. See our strategy for further information.