Ampetronic is celebrating being named a winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise - the UK’s highest accolade for business success.
The award is for International Trade, in recognition of achieving sustained high export growth in the company’s sector of hearing assistance. Ampetronic, based in Newark, Nottinghamshire, is the world’s leading manufacturer of Hearing Loop products, having doubled its export sales in the last 3 years, and continuing to grow rapidly overseas.
The company’s Hearing Loop products help millions of people around the world, allowing people with hearing loss to communicate easily in difficult noisy environments and to access audio services (such as the soundtrack in a cinema) wirelessly via their hearing aid or a receiver.
Picture: Members of the Ampetronic team celebrate outside the Newark offices
Most people who are unaffected by hearing loss are unaware of the many Hearing Loops that they encounter on a daily basis because the unobtrusive technology is normally hidden from view and doesn’t transmit an audible signal. However anyone with a hearing aid or receiver can pick up an audio signal from a loop system, wherever they see the internationally recognised ‘Ear Symbol’ - at bank teller windows, supermarket checkout desks and theatre entrances, for example. Looking out for these signs, it often surprises people just how commonplace Hearing Loop systems really are, and what a significant benefit they can create for hearing aid users.
Picture: The internationally recognised Hearing Loop sign/logo
Ampetronic first started to design and manufacture Hearing Loop systems (also known as Audio Frequency Induction Loops) over 25 years ago. Over this time, Ampetronic’s systems have become a common part of life for those with hearing loss within the UK, and in recent years the technology has been adopted globally, driven by legislative change, user demand and market education.
Ampetronic was established in 1986 by Leon Pieters, an experienced engineer and lay preacher who recognised the potential of what was then an amateur solution for delivering good quality sound to the ageing population within churches. The company created professional quality commercial solutions that made such hearing accessibility available much more broadly, opening up new possibilities for helping those with hearing loss. Since that time the company has been responsible for a wide array of innovations and technical advances, as well as contributing to international standards and legislation to support good quality hearing accessibility around the world.
Picture: An Ampetronic engineer designing a Hearing Loop system using specially developed simulation software
As the business has grown and become increasingly global it has also become a family business, with the firm now managed by Leon’s son, Julian. Today, Ampetronic employs over 35 people in its headquarters in Newark, Nottinghamshire, recently relocating to provide facilities for the continuing rapid international growth it anticipates. It operates with partnerships in over 20 countries, delivering solutions from the smallest village hall through to flagship international projects such as the spectacular new Vienna University in Austria or the new Nissan taxis that are replacing the iconic yellow cabs in New York.
Picture: Inside one of the new Vienna University buildings in Austria. Courtesy of Kain Audio.
On learning about winning the award Managing Director Julian Pieters said “It is a great honour for Ampetronic, its staff and representatives around the world to be given the Queen’s Award. This is recognition for the many years spent working with hard of hearing organisations, standards bodies, legislators, and providing awareness and education to everyone involved in hearing accessibility. Tackling a global market as a small business is a challenging task; however we are proud to be leading our sector around the world as a small British manufacturer, recognised globally for delivering excellence in hearing assistance.”
Winners of The Queen’s Awards receive the award at a presentation by one of the Queen’s representatives at the company’s headquarters, as well as receiving an invitation to attend a special reception at Buckingham Palace. The Award is granted for a five year period, reflecting the judges’ confidence in the sustainable business generated by the winning businesses.