Phonak celebrates 70 years of changing lives, breaking barriers

Stäfa, Switzerland
Phonak celebrates 70 years of changing lives, breaking barriers

Staefa, Switzerland – 21 June 2017 – Phonak, the leading global provider of hearing instruments and wireless communication solutions, is celebrating 70 years of life-changing innovations with an Open Door Day on June 24 at Sonova’s global headquarters in Staefa,Switzerland. The company is commemorating its seven decades of technological breakthroughs for people with hearing loss by honoring its dedicated employees and thanking its valued customers.

01.12.1994: Phonak goes public; Hans-Ueli Rihs, Andy Rihs and Beda Diethelm on the way to the Swiss Stock Exchange

“Since 1947, Phonak has helped bring together the most talented groups of people to break down thebarriers of hearing loss in people’s lives,” said Thomas Lang, Senior Vice President of Phonak Marketing. “We are not only celebrating seven decades of major breakthroughs in hearing innovation but also 70 years of dedication toward a brighter future — a future made possible by our employees’unique spirit and commitment as well as our customers’ trust in us. Together, they help fulfill our vision to create a world where all people enjoy the delight of hearing and where ‘Life is On’ for everyone.”

A proud history of changing lives

For 70 years, Phonak has helped pioneer the world’s most innovative hearing solutions while achieving countless milestones. The company introduced its first portable hearing aid in 1950 and theworld’s then most powerful behind-the-ear (BTE) device in 1978. Phonak revolutionized people’s hearing aid experience in 1994 with AudioZoom, the breakthrough multi-directional microphone technology that improves understanding in background noise. And in 1999, it unveiled Claro, thecompany’s first fully-digital hearing aid with revolutionary signal processing technology.

By the new millennium, Phonak continued to lead the market in technological innovation and audiological expertise. In 2007, the company collaborated with the University of Melbourne to develop SoundRecover, the first frequency compression technology. By 2010, the Phonak Lyric was introduced as the world’s first and only 100% invisible hearing aid, worn 24 hours a day, 7 days aweek. Last year, the company launched Audéo B-R, a lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid which offers 24 hours* of hearing with one simple charge. These pioneering innovations have been part of Phonak’s legacy of developing highly-advanced hearing solutions that enable people to thrive socially and emotionally. They also serve as the foundation upon which Phonak will continue to build future generations of hearing technology over the next 70 years.

A day to celebrate — 70 years in the making

On Saturday, June 24, Phonak will proudly celebrate its 70-year history at the Sonova Open Door Day from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Sonova’s global headquarters in Staefa, Switzerland. The event is expected to draw in approximately 8,000 people and will feature a self-guided tour of the building including labs, Research & Development and a separate tour of the production facility. Among the highlights of the day will be Phonak’s “Walk of Fame,” a visual experience that showcases Phonak’sinnovations from 1947 to present.

It was in 1947 when Zurich-based AG für Elektroakustik, the company that would later become Phonak, was first formed. Eighteen years later, Ernst Rihs acquired a majority shareholding in the company and renamed it Phonak AG. Rihs was soon joined by his two sons, Hans-Ueli and AndyRihs, who along with Beda Diethelm became equal shareholders.

To honor these humble beginnings and prepare for a brighter tomorrow, a special microsite has beencreated: On the site, visitors can join in the 70-year celebration by thanking someone special using the Phonak card creator. Creating a card is as simple as uploading a photo (or choosing a predefined card design), customizing a message, and sending. Phonak also invites guests to take a look at its history page detailing the company’s milestones and innovations since 1947.

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1950: Phonak introduces the first portable hearing aid PHONAK ALPINA

1971: Phonak at the Forchstreet

01.12.1994: Phonak goes public - Hans-Ueli Rihs, Andy Rihs and Beda Diethelm on the way to the Swiss Stock Exchange accompanied by a film crew

The mid 90’s: Andy Rihs and Beda Diethelm inspecting a chip in the Phonak clean room


1999: Phonak launched Claro, the first fully digital Phonak hearing system with a fully integrated FM receiver



2016: Launch of the Belong platform which includes Phonak Audéo B-R the first ever hearing aid to feature a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery providing 24 hours* of hearing

About Phonak

In 2017, Phonak, a member of the Sonova Group, proudly celebrates its 70th anniversary.
Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak was born in 1947 out of a passion for taking on the most difficult hearing challenges. Seventy years later, this passion remains. As the industry’s leading provider, we offer the broadest portfolio of life-changing hearing solutions. From pediatric to profound hearing loss, we remain committed to creating hearing solutions that change people’s lives to thrive socially and emotionally. We believe in creating a world where ‘Life is on’ for everyone.

Media Relations Phonak

Michael Isaac
Tel: +41 58 928 33 24

At Phonak, we believe that hearing well is essential to living life to the fullest. For almost 70 years, we remain true to our mission by pioneering hearing solutions that change people’s lives to thrive socially and emotionally. Life is on.