Machine Design

Microconnector boosts hearing aid fidelity

Ultrasmall connectors for the Sumo behind-the-ear hearing aid reportedly boost output power with less distortion and dramatically increase low-frequency amplification.

The Sumo behind-the-ear hearing aid has a full range of interlocking accessories, including an FM receiver that plugs into the unit's bridge connector. The ultrasmall connector from Deringer-Ney Inc. is constructed of custom Paliney 5 alloy, Kapton polyimide, and an encapsulant.


Oticon A/S of Hellerup, Denmark (, recently introduced the Sumo, which stands for “super power maximum output.” The device boosts hearing in this range because many hearing-impaired people retain only residual hearing in the low-frequency realm. In addition, a battery-management system prolongs battery life and ensures consistent performance for the life of the battery.

The bridge connector designer, Deringer-Ney Inc., Bloomfield, Conn. (, uses a custom Paliney 5 metal alloy, precision metal stamping, Kapton polyimide, and a molded encapsulant to build the multipart assembly. Paliney 5 is a combination of palladium, silver, and copper that minimizes precious metal content and cost, yet provides the electrical performance and corrosion resistance required.

To make the connector, Paliney 5 is stamped into an ultrasmall precision component. Next, Kapton polyimide from DuPont, Wilmington, Del. (, is applied to the metal to protect and seal the component. The final molding step forms the tight-toleranced, two-end connector. The connector seals out contaminants letting users wear the device under harsh environmental conditions.

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