Creaholic has worked with Bernafon since 1988; we have collaborated on twelve very different projects. These have varied in scope from pure technology focused projects to pure product design projects. We have developed technology concepts for new directions in 'in-canal fitting', in-ear fittings and a number of other hearing aid components such as faceplates, pins, battery drawers and microphones. We have also produced design concepts for new ranges of hearing aids as well as developing color and surface treatments for existing products.
Because of the range of our work together, we want to outline the challenge, solution and results with respect to three very different projects:
Project BRITE was the follow-up product to the successful Swiss Ear model, and was intended to be Bernafon’s next high-end non-conventional-looking behind the ear (BTE) hearing system.
Creaholic’s challenge was to design the exterior housing for the BRITE, which should be a “non-BTE looking housing”, to define a clear departure from the BTE housings of the day. This clear departure from a traditional BTE hearing aid look was intended to help attract new end users.
The Creaholic team had a number of criteria to consider when designing the new device. It needed to appeal to a younger target market, allow a degree of customization, and of course respect the high tolerances needed for optimum functionality. Creaholic focused on exploring:
- The notion of tactility
- The familiarity of technology
- The feeling of preciousness
The resulting product won a RedDot design award in 2007 and has been a mainstay of the Bernafon product line.
Creaholic was asked to help create a BTE product family with a distinct Bernafon identity. The product family consisted of two main types and several sub-variants. The main motivation was to have more housing options for future product families and to be prepared for the increasing BTE market. The objective of this design was to define the basis for a new Bernafon BTE family (micro BTE and Compact Power BTE).
- Use one housing for all versions.
- Include controls for programming and volume.
- Reconsider the on/off switch so that it is easy and simple to use.
- Use existing connection systems for the tube and hook.
- Use the existing programming plug or flex strip systems.