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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided a EUR 75 million loan for the development of the next generation of wireless hearing devices as well as fitting software and diagnostics equipment by GN Store Nord, a global leader in the hearing aid and hands-free communication industry. This new backing from Europe’s long-term lending institution will help the company to further increase the convenience and usability of its wireless hearing aids, which can improve the quality of life for millions of hard-of-hearing people.

A key element of the project is the development of the next generation silicon chipsets – the “brain” and the core technology platform of a modern digital hearing aid. Included in this development are several features which will further increase convenience and usability for the users of GN’s advanced wireless hearing aids. The project also comprises further development of the equipment and software that audiologists use to properly match hearing aids to users’ specific needs.

The EIB’s support will assist GN – specifically its subsidiaries GN ReSound and GN Otometrics – in this project, which will be carried out at the company’s research and development centre in Denmark over 2015-2017 and is expected to result in numerous patent applications. GN Store Nord cooperates closely with universities and research centres across Europe in its research activities, which help to improve the understanding of cutting-edge technologies around the world.

Jan Vapaavuori, EIB Vice-President responsible for operations in Denmark, said: “Supporting research, development and innovation across the health sector is a key priority for the European Investment Bank, so we are proud to support GN Store Nord’s development of next generation acoustic hearing devices. By enhancing Europe’s position as a major technology supplier and supporting skilled employment opportunities, this project strengthens Europe`s global competitiveness in an area that makes a real difference to the lives of hard-of-hearing people.”

Anders Boyer, CFO of GN Store Nord, stated: “Our quest is to make life sound better for hearing aid users. Our Smart Hearing solution already comprises top-rated sound quality and technology that adapts to people’s lives and true needs. We want to continue down this innovation path to give hearing aid users even better control of their hearing and to add further benefits to allow users to connect, interact and engage like everyone else. The loan from the EIB enables us to do this so that we can further minimize the impact on people of having hearing loss.”

As a technology and innovation leader GN Store Nord – via its subsidiary GN ReSound – originally spearheaded the world’s first commercially available hearing aids with digital sound processing. GN was also first to utilise 2.4 GHz wireless technology in hearing aids and introduced the world’s first Made for iPhone hearing aid with direct stereo sound streaming. Today, this technology provides hearing aid users with supreme spatial sound together with seamless connectivity to a full range of wireless accessories including smart phones and tablets, giving users unprecedented control of their hearing experience.

By developing even better hearing instruments this project will enable people suffering from hearing disabilities to participate more fully in social and business life from which they might otherwise be excluded. Enabling smartphones to control hearing devices will also make their life easier and should contribute to removing the stigma of hearing aids.

Over the last five years, the EIB has provided more than EUR 10 billion for healthcare investment. Europe’s long-term lending institution is committed to promoting projects in this area both by supporting the modernisation and development of hospitals and medical centres and by boosting research, development and innovation in medical technology, biotechnology and the pharmaceutical industry. These projects contribute to health improvement by increasing innovation and delivering better healthcare.