Patrizia Richner - Sonova AG

Patrizia Richner - Sonova AG



Serial Production of Custom-Made Titanium Hearing Aids


The hearing aid industry started incorporating 3D printing of acrylic hearing aid shells into their serial production in the early 2000s, the process has been state of the art in the industry for the last 10 years.
After the early adoption of 3D printing in a production environment, Sonova has now taken another leap forward, replacing the rather fragile acrylic shells with thinner yet much stronger titanium shells for their smallest devices. 
This talk is going to show how DLP technology has been used in production in the hearing aid industry for the last 10 years. In the second part the drivers to expand the established 3D printer technology with selective laser melting are highlighted and the challenges which had to be faced when developing the product and incorporating it into the world-wide production line are shown.


Patrizia Richner got her Master’s degree in mechanical engineering at ETH Zurich and the University of California, Berkeley. Her PhD thesis at ETH Zurich focused on 3D printing metal nanoparticles and quantum dots at the nanometer scale using electrohydrodynamics.
She now works for the hearing aid manufacturer Sonova, where she develops the next generation of 3D-printed titanium hearing aid shells.