Customer stories

Customer-Driven Innovation: Oticon's Qualitative Research to Improve the Hearing Aid Purchase Experience

Oticon has been a first-mover since 1904 when the first hearing aid was manufactured. Many decades later and Oticon is still giving sound to many people’s lives while creating life-changing technology.

Oticon is part of the global parent company, the Demant group, which owns a broad portfolio of world-renowned hearing aid brands.


Oticon has learned from its many years of experience in the hearing aid industry that acquiring a new hearing aid can be a difficult and lengthy process for most of its customers.

Aside from the technical aspect of acquiring a new hearing aid, the purchase affects the patients on a very emotional and personal level.

However, just assuming from this notion alone is not enough to ensure patients can have the most frictionless experience possible during this very delicate phase of their lives.

That's why Oticon reached out to Sonar (then UserTribe). By mapping its customer journey, the company aimed to gain customer insights into each key step. This would enable Oticon to empathize with the thought process, feelings, and sentiments experienced by its end-users. More importantly, it would help discover when and why these experiences occurred.


Oticon turned to Sonar to gain a deeper understanding of its customers from a strong qualitative perspective.

In defining the scope of the research, Sonar and Oticon outlined a broad target group, covering new and existing users across some of the most sensitive markets for the company.

The study objective was executed in close collaboration with Sonar-certified anthropologists in three different markets, and the task design was formulated with a minimum of stimuli to reduce bias.

Sonar conducted the recruitment, interviews, and data analysis for the entire study. Furthermore, it provided Oticon with clear video feedback from its end-users, as well as a set of actionable customer insights that the company could use in its optimization efforts.


With first-hand customer insights from Sonar, Oticon gained a much deeper understanding of its end-user journey. This made them acutely aware of its users' needs and pains, and allowed the company to act decisively to improve the overall journey.

Furthermore, the insights shed some light on the psychological pains users experienced: many new users juggled this momentous decision with frustrations, embarrassment, a sense of isolation and the all limits that followed hearing impairment.


With these qualitative insights at hand, Oticon gained a much better understanding of the entire stakeholder group surrounding its end users, and the impact they had on the decision-making process.

The insights proved so valuable that today, Oticon has fully embedded a qualitative research approach to strengthen its sales and marketing activities, as well as the onboarding process of new employees.

By learning from its end-users, Oticon spearheaded the development of better and more valuable services and support, which ultimately grew sales and loyalty.