Zarlink Chip Designed Into Starkey Laboratories Inc.'s Wi Hearing Aids  
6/2/2011 8:55:53 AM

Zarlink Semiconductor (TSX:ZL)'s ultra low-power radio technology has been tapped for a wireless hearing aid design from Minnesota-based Starkey Laboratories Inc., the Ottawa-based chip maker announced Wednesday.

The company said its ZL70250 radio chip, which is designed for use in implanted medical devices such as pacemakers and continuous glucose monitors for diabetes patients, is being incorporated into Starkey's new Wi Series of hearing aids. The radio chip's wireless capability will allow the hearing aid to connect to a media streamer plugged into a television, radio, computer or other audio device and help the hearing aid user listen to the media at a volume that won't disturb others in the room.

"We are strengthening our medical business with design wins from new customers integrating our wireless radios into a wide range of applications that improve comfort and care for users," said Steve Swift, vice-president and general manager of Zarlink's medical products group, in a statement.

The company noted the radio chip's low power consumption of two milliwatts, which it said is five times less than competing devices, will help preserve the battery life of devices even when using battery-draining technology such as wireless connectivity.

Zarlink shares closed at $2.38 on the Toronto Stock Exchange Wednesday. The stock has had a modest recovery since dropping to a low of $2.16 last week following news that it would be cutting its workforce by five per cent.