How are hearing aids tested?

Published 04-08-2016
Last Updated09-01-2020

A hearing aid contains many small components. In the Widex Quality department, a team works hard to check that all these tiny parts areworking as they should.
Widex is the only hearing aid manufacturer in the world that tests every finished hearing aid before they leave the factory. All are subjected to three different tests:

  • A visual test: this ensures the hearing aid looks as it should and that the outer buttons work properly.

  • An electronic test: this is to make sure that all the internal parts work properly so that the hearing aid can be later customized to the individual user’s needs.

  • A listening test: a team of 12 people listens to every single hearing aid. “We call them the ‘Golden Ears’ because they have sharp and trained hearing so they can listen to the hearing aids and make sure that they have the best and most natural sound,” says Steen Jacobsen from the Quality department.

But that's not all. Steen Jacobsen and his colleagues also run some more unusual tests: “To put it crudely, you could say that our job is to try to destroy everything that our colleagues have used years to create,” he says. “It is important for our customers’ satisfaction that the hearing aids are thoroughly tested so that as few as possible experience a fault that could really inconvenience their everyday life.”

The extra tests that Steen and his colleagues perform include:
  • The sweat test: takes place in a fume cupboard where the hearing aid is exposed to the effects of artificial, sulphurous sweat and heat for days on end to ensure that it can endure a long life behind the ears of a hearing aid user.

  • The sun cream test: is used to test the hearing aid’s resistance. “We found out during the development of one of our earlier models that the high oil content of sun cream can destroy or ruin the plastic – and of course that doesn’t work,” says Steen. “Therefore it is now a standard test for all new hearing aids that they can take being smeared in sun cream. I have emptied the local shops of all types of sun cream that contain the largest number of different chemicals.”

  • The durability test: on average, a hearing aid is used for five years, and therefore all components should be able to last an equal amount of time. “The volume button is put through a durability test 40,000 times. We also have a machine that simulates a fall of around one and a half meters. Our hearing aids should be able to withstand that without problems,” says Steen.

After all components of the hearing aid have been spot-checked, production can begin.

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WS Audiology Canada Inc.

5041 Mainway

Burlington, ON

L7L 5H9