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Precision manufactures micro-component for breakthrough hearing technology

Precision, Inc. has been selected to manufacture the key micro-component for a revolutionary hearing assistance technology announced recently by Able Planet, Inc. of Fort Collins, Colorado. Able Planet's micro-technology creates a direct wireless link between a hearing aid's T-coil and an electronic device such as a phone or headset. Research studies have shown that Able Planet's micro-technology improves the overall frequency response levels of telephones resulting in improved sound clarity.

The Able Planet™ micro-technology is the first new technology to meet the criteria of the Hearing Aid Compatible (HAC) designation and internal installation in a telephone, cordless phone, hands-free system, headset, headset with microphone including for computer audio usage. The result is a significantly improved audio signal with greater clarity for the millions of people who have mild-to-severe-to-profound hearing loss.

Precision engineers at the company's Fort Collins and Minneapolis facilities assisted Able Planet founders Jo Waldron, who was appointed Disabled American for the Nation in 1987 by President Reagan, and Dr. Joan Burleigh, a thirty-year veteran of the audiology industry, on the new technology. While the technology is proprietary, Precision personnel have spent several months in research, testing, and product prototyping with Able Planet.

"Able Planet came to us with several progressive designs," said Brett Jelkin, the chief Precision engineer on the project. "They wanted to know if we could custom build a component that would meet their design needs. We responded. The component has higher performance and lower cost. We got it right." Since Precision is a worldwide supplier of custom and standard parts for medical, communication, and consumer electronics, Precision was well qualified to take on the project.

The Able Planet device is about 1 mm in size. It's designed to fit in standard telephones or hands-free headsets such as those used with cellular and cordless phones, multimedia computers, laptops, CD and MP3 players, and many more communication devices. Once installed, the technology is transparent. Those who don't use a hearing aid won't know it's there. But those who do use a hearing aid can take advantage of the technology simply by flipping the switch on their hearing aid to the "T" position and adjusting the volume.

(HAC) headsets

Unsuccessful attempts to improve speech recognition have included hearing aid compatible (HAC) headsets, magnetic open-air induction coils, ear silhouettes, volume controls, or neck loops. The results have usually been increased volume with no great improvement in clarity. The Able Planet technology creates audio within a hearing aid and an electronic device such as a phone or headset.

Several study participants who had been unable to use traditional HAC-enhanced telephone handsets successfully used a phone equipped with the Able Planet technology.

Precision is manufacturing the Able Planet technology and has capacity for high-volume production. Precision, Inc. has been recognized along with Able Planet, Inc. in media coverage in numerous national newspapers and the Wall Street Reporter.

One of the first customers for the new technology is the Hyatt Hotel Corporation. Hyatt will specify inclusion of the Able Planet technology in all new guestroom phones purchased for Hyatt Hotels in the US, Canada, and the Caribbean. Hyatt has already installed Able Planet-enhanced phones in its guestrooms in Colorado.

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Contact information for editors:

Precision: Lyle Shaw
Precision, Inc.
phone: 763-651-6880

Fred Pielert
Pielert & Associates, Inc.
4418 West Lake Harriet Parkway
Ste. # 207
Minneapolis, MN 55410