William Demant appoints senior scientist Thomas Lunner as Fellow
Today, Oticon owner William Demant honored engineers and scientists for their efforts in 2016 in R&D within the fields of audiology, cognitive science, algorithms, software, acoustics and electro mechanics. Almost 200 employees, representing 55 patents, were awarded and for the first time ever William Demant appointed a Fellow by honoring senior scientist Thomas Lunner for his contributions to cognitive hearing science as his latest major achievement in a long career with many great achievements.
More than one in ten worldwide suffers from hearing loss and without proper treatment the hearing-impaired faces risks of social isolation, cognitive decline and loss of work ability*. By his significant research in connecting hearing with cognition, which Oticon calls BrainHearingTM, Thomas Lunner has shown that hearing aids can reduce listening effort and provide the brain with better conditions to make sense of sound, thus putting less strain on the brain. Based on the research collaborations Thomas Lunner has been part of driving, Oticon has created features in the Opn hearing aid, which significantly improves how much people can remember from speech heard in noise, thus empowering the end-user to stay active, involved and engaged. The unique benefits of 20% reduced listening effort, 20% better recall of the conversation and 30% better speech understanding with an Oticon Opn hearing aid would not have been possible without Thomas Lunner’s contribution.
- We want to recognise Thomas Lunner’s great achievements, which have had immense value to Oticon and William Demant. Thework of Lunner and his group has helped us put substance behind and give evidence to our argument that hearing care is important to general healthcare. More specifically, he has contributed to the evidence of the efficacy of hearing aid Opn, which has proven to be a large success, said Oticon President and deputy CEO of William Demant, Søren Nielsen.
The backbone of William Demant
Research and development is the backbone of the William Demant Group with business activities in all areas of hearing healthcare: From diagnostic instruments and traditional hearing aids to cochlear implants and bone-anchored hearing solutions. Every year, the hearing healthcare Group celebrates innovations, and the people behind, but the recognition of Thomas Lunner as Fellow is a first of its kind.
- Throughout his research career, Thomas Lunner has been taking part in scoping the future of audiology. He was an important and indispensable part of developing the world’s first fully digital hearing aid, Digifocus, which has been fitted to millions of hearing aid users worldwide, and he continues to contribute to R&D in the whole group both by his own work and by growing new talented researchers, said Søren Nielsen.
Thomas Lunner has worked with hearing and cognition for the past 20 years and has been with William Demant at Eriksholm Research Centre since 2000 – in addition to his part time work as a Professor at the University of Linköping. In collaboration with researchers from Linköping University and Toronto University, he has been an important contributor to establishing the new research area Cognitive Hearing Science. This area has provided evidence to the fact that hearing loss changes how the brain works and makes it work harder. Furthermore, they have shown that technology should be designed not only to improve hearing, but also to assist the cognitive processes the brain uses to make sense of sound.
Formal recognition of the honoring of Thomas Lunner as Fellow took place during an annual award ceremony at the William Demant Group headquarters.
* Lamb, Archbold and O’Neil (2016), Spend to save: Investing in hearing technology improves lives and saves society money, Strategy Report, The Ear Foundation
Thomas Lunner, CV
Industry Research Positions
2000 - Senior Scientist, Project leader and Group Manager, Eriksholm Research Centre, Oticon, Denmark (80% time)
2016- Professor (adjunct professor), Danish Technical University, Lyngby, Greater Copenhagen, Denmark
2009- Professor (adj.) of Cognitive Hearing Science, Linköping University, Sweden (20% time
2007- Associate Professor (Docent) in Technical Audiology, Linköping University
2001-2007 Assistant Professor (adj.) in Technical Audiology, Linköping University
1998-2000 Post Doc, Technical Audiology Linköping University, Linköping University
1997 PhD in Technical Audiology (Dr Technology), Linköping University, Linköping Institute of Technology, supervisor: Prof Stig Arlinger, thesis: A digital filterbank hearing aid
1985-1989 MSc Electrical Engineering, Linköping Institute of Technology, supervisor: Prof Jan Persson, thesis: Digital hearing aids
Current Academic Community Service
2007- National reviewer for the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education.
2009- Member of Linnaeus Centre HEAD steering group
2009- Elected member of Nordisk Høreappratteknikergruppe (NHAT)
2011- Elected member of the International Collegium of Rehabilitative Audiology (ICRA)
Thomas Lunner has published three book chapters and 101 papers in peer-reviewed journals since 1991, with eight more papers currently submitted. He was first or last author on 24 of these. 26 technical reports, manuscripts and other publications. He has had 15 patents granted and 15 published patent applications in various areas (digital signal processing, hearing aid technology, methods for hearing and hearing aid assessment, cognitive technology and assessment, interceptive sports). Thomas Lunner is born in 1965 and lives in Hittarp, near Helsingborg, Sweden with his wife. He has two adult sons.