AnSem - Innovation on chip

Ultra low-power FM receiver for hearing aid

Ultra low-power FM receiver for hearing aid
Ultra low-power FM receiver for hearing aid

The real world problem

Phonak Communications, a world leading company in the development and manufacture of innovative hearing systems to help people with hearing loss, had a vision of realizing a groundbreaking product - a radio frequency receiver-hearing aid so small that the child forgets he even has it on and which goes unnoticed by those around him.   To achieve this goal the complete module, including passive components, had to fit inside 1cm³ of space and had to run from a single zinc-air battery embedded in the hearing aid.

The solution

AnSem developed for Phonak an ultra low-power miniature FM receiver chip supporting multi-frequency technology to allow the device to pick up FM transmissions directly from the classroom teacher thus improving the signal to noise ratio perceived by the hearing aid user by up to 20dB. This means that, for the first time, children with hearing aids can move freely between classrooms without the need to re-set their hearing aid frequency and can still hear as clearly as their non-hearing impaired classmates.

Result for the customer

The tiny AnSem chip helps make Phonak's hearing instrument unobtrusive, both to users and other students. The new product closes the gap between children with and without hearing loss in the school environment.

In the words of Dr. Rainer Platz, head of Phonak Communications, R&D department: "Going beyond the state-of-the-art in low power, low voltage RF circuit design requires a very skilled and open-minded development team. Intense collaboration, skill and engagement between our team and AnSem's team were instrumental in achieving the results."

Key technical statistics

  • Operates from a single zinc-air battery down to 0.9V
  • Power consumption of 2.2mA in full active mode
  • Excellent sensitivity of -103dBm, covering a range of 30m