CogniFit Partners with Sonova’s Audiological Care Business to Build Digital Solutions for Customers with Hearing Loss

CogniFit Partners with Sonova’s Audiological Care Business to Build Digital Solutions for Customers with Hearing Loss

August 05, 2021 — CogniFit Inc. (CogniFit), has entered into a partnership with the Audiological Care business of the Sonova Group—a leading provider of innovative hearing care solutions based in Switzerland. With its Audiological Care business Sonova assures exceptional and state-of-the-art audiological care for our customers, presented in a modern, attractive environment and backed by the highest technological standards in hearing aids and in-store diagnostic and fitting equipment.

The partnership will see Sonova Audiological Care leverage CogniFit’s leading cognitive technology and expertise to build a unique, next-gen digital solution that supports individuals with hearing impairment to train the cognitive skills that are essential for understanding speech and maintaining overall cognitive agility.

Carlos Rodriguez, CEO of CogniFit said of the partnership: “We are truly excited to be a part of this innovative project and to have the opportunity to work alongside Sonova’s Audiological Care business and help improve the lives of people by building a more integrated approach to audiological care solutions.”

When asked about the partnership with CogniFit, Dr. sc. Martin Kirchberger, Director of Clinical Deployment Europe at Sonova Group, shared this sentiment, saying: “At Sonova and with our Audiological Care business, we are continually pushing to elevate our health service offerings for our consumers.  Our partnership with CogniFit creates the unique opportunity to address hearing loss more holistically. We hear with our ears, and we understand with our brains. We now have a fantastic auditory-cognitive training tool in our offering thanks to a wonderful collaboration with CogniFit.”

A new digital audiological care solution from Sonova, powered by CogniFit. Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

Who Is Sonova?

 Sonova operates through its core business brands Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Advanced Bionics, and the brands of the Audiological Care business, e.g. AudioNova, Geers, Boots Hearing Care, Connect Hearing, and Lapperre. Sonova offers its customers one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in the industry – from hearing instruments to cochlear implants to wireless communication solutions.

Founded in 1947, the Group has a workforce of over 14,000 dedicated employees. Across all businesses, and by supporting the Hear the World Foundation, Sonova pursues its vision of a world where everyone enjoys the delight of hearing and therefore lives a life without limitations.

Cognitive Training and Audiological Care

Age-related hearing loss is very common in our society. About half of the population over the age of 65 years and up to 90% of individuals over the age of 80 years are affected by ARHL (Cruickshanks, Zhan, & Zhong, 2010; Lin, Niparko, & Ferrucci, 2011). Speech understanding not only involves the auditory perception of sounds but also relies on cognitive functions (Lemke & Scherpiet, 2015).

With age, changes in cognition such as a decline in performance on cognitive tasks that involve quick processing of information, inhibiting interfering information, or holding and manipulating recently received information to make a decision, occur.

Dr. sc. Maren Stropahl, Expert for Audiological Health Services at Sonova, sums up the importance of this approach, saying “As the prevalence of age-related hearing loss increases with the aging society and as hearing loss often comes with comorbidities, it is becoming clear that integrated services are going to play a key role in holistic audiological care. If we want the best outcomes for older individuals we will need to focus on the full range of physical, cognitive, and social health outcomes; This partnership represents a big step in that direction.”

How Is Sonova’s Audiological Care business integrating CogniFit Technology in their next generation of audiological services?

Sonova’s Audiological Care business will develop a unique companion app to accompany their audiological solutions for customers with age-related hearing loss.

This app uses CogniFit’s powerful API to integrate assessment, training, and monitoring technology into the Sonova ecosystem resulting in a simple and intuitive user experience.

How the App Works:

Upon completing the registration process in the app, the user will take an initial evaluation, lasting roughly 10 minutes, that assesses the user’s baseline scores across a number of core cognitive skills such as Focused Attention, Phonological Short-Term Memory, Divided Attention, Working Memory, and Auditory Perception which is needed to personalize the training.

These scores, calculated on a scale from 0-800, represent the individual’s performance compared to other individuals in the same demographic group; a score of 400 represents the average score for all individuals in the group.

Based on the results of this initial evaluation, a personalized training program is generated for the user. The training program includes a series of scientifically backed cognitive stimulation tasks, presented in the form of fun and engaging video games, each of which focuses on one or more of the associated cognitive skills.

The training program uses CogniFit’s patented algorithms to automatically adjust the difficulty of the cognitive stimulation tasks to provide each user with a challenging, yet balanced training experience.

As the user progresses through their training, they will be able to track the evolution of their cognitive skills over time through a simple dashboard from within the app.

By pairing traditional hearing solutions with this cognitive training companion app, Sonova’s Audiological Care business is able to extend their portfolio of offerings and provide a more comprehensive audiological service to their clients.

When Will This Next-Gen Audiological Solution Be Available?

The partnership roadmap plans for a first MVP product release before the end of 2021 and continues product updates during the next 24 months. During this first phase, Sonova’s Audiological Care business will roll out this new solution through their subsidiary brands in four key markets: Austria, Australia, The Netherlands, and Canada and the solution will be available in German, Dutch, and English.

References

[1] The National Institutes of Health, 21 March 2021, Quick Statistics about Hearing, The US Department of Health and Human Services, accessed 14 may 2021,

[2] Hoogendam YY, Hofman A, van der Geest JN, van der Lugt A, Ikram MA (2014) Patterns of cognitive function in aging: the Rotterdam Study. Eur J Epidemiol 29:133–140

[3] Fortunato S, Forli F, Guglielmi V, De Corso E, Paludetti G, Berrettini S, Fetoni AR. A review of new insights on the association between hearing loss and cognitive decline in ageing. Acta Otorhinolaryngol Ital. 2016 Jun;36(3):155-66. doi: 10.14639/0392-100X-993. PMID: 27214827; PMCID: PMC4977003.

[4] Deal JA, Betz J, Yaffe K, Harris T, Purchase-Helzner E, Satterfield S, Pratt S, Govil N, Simonsick EM, Lin FR, Health ABCSG (2017) Hearing impairment and incident dementia and cognitive decline in older adults: the Health ABC Study. J Gerontol A BiolSci Med Sci 72:703–709

[5]. Fritze T, Teipel S, Ovari A, Kilimann I, Witt G, Doblhammer G (2016) Hearing impairment affects dementia incidence. An analysis based on longitudinal health claims data in Germany. PLoS ONE 11:e0156876

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