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First Made for All (MFA) Hearing Aid: A True Bluetooth Hearing Aid

On August 21, 2017, Phonak will release the first ever true Bluetooth hearing aid, the Phonak Audéo B-Direct.

The Audéo B-Direct is a revolutionary product because it is the first hearing aid that can connect directly with any Bluetooth cell phone or other Bluetooth device without the need for an intermediate accessory. Up until now there have been Made for iPhone (MFi) hearing aids, but nothing available with direct Bluetooth streaming for Android, or other non iPhone users.

The Phonak Audéo B-Direct is the first Made for All (MFA) hearing aid. With over 85% of the cell phone market in the world being non-iPhones, this is a huge win for Phonak and will provide a hearing aid solution for Android users and more.

worldwide-cell-phone-market-share

It functions just like completely wireless Bluetooth earbuds. To accomplish this, Phonak developed a proprietary 2.4 GHz Bluetooth chip, called the SWORD (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital) chip.

Features of the Phonak Audéo B-Direct:

  • Size 13 disposable Zinc-air battery
  • Available in RIC style push-button
  • Maximum distance for Bluetooth streaming: within 30 feet of device
  • Compatible accessories: TV adapter and Remote App optional
  • IP rating: IP68
  • Performance levels: Premium (B90), Advanced (B70), Standard (B50)
  • Colors: 9 options

The Pros and Cons of the Audéo B-Direct

phonak-audeo-b-colors
Cons

Streaming from all phones is to one ear only (monaural). While this is a bummer for those who enjoy stereo streaming, the reason is because the hearing aid microphone on the non-streaming ear acts as the talk-back microphone, so you don’t need your phone nearby, you just talk back through your hearing aid.

Some features of Phonak’s Belong platform that are available on other Audéo B models are disabled, such as the Speech in Loud Noise program, Speech in Wind program, Speech in 360 program, and Duophone. How this will effect sound quality for people, only time will tell, but most likely in extreme environments such as wind or loud noise is where the difference will be detected. To make up for these features being dropped, the Audéo B Direct incorporates an Environmental Balance feature.

Pros

As mentioned, you don’t need your phone near you to answer a cell phone call or talk back. You can answer a phone call by giving a short press on the button of your hearing aid, or a long press to reject the call.

You can stream music binaurally from your phone.

With the use of their new TV Connector, you will be able to stream binaurally from any TV or stereo system.

This is a revolutionary new product for the hearing aid industry and it’s exciting to see smart technology continue to expand and be made available for hearing aid users. The hope is for more people with hearing loss to be reached and the Phonak Audéo B-Direct is on track to do that.

Comments

  1. Robert MacPherson says:

    This statement is incorrect: “You can stream music binaurally from your phone.”
    The Audeo B- DIRECT supports only the HFP Bluetooth profile for phone calls. It does not support the A2DP profile for streaming music.

    1. Bosman van Staden says:

      Binaural wireless streaming is possible via AirStream tech with the TV Connector – to which you can connect most media devices to.

  2. Ira Rubenstein says:

    I have single sided loss and a CI on one ear. Will the Iphone call part work with only one aid? Have had many Phonaks over the years and loved them. Super excited.

    1. Yes, it should work fine streaming to one hearing aid.

  3. Audéo B-Direct by Phonak is the newest device in the hearing aid industry and it features some interesting functionalities that I believe my clients, both new to hearing aids and experienced, will deeply enjoy as of mid-September.

    I have ranked the top five features that I consider life changing for mild to severe hearing loss consumers.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/phonak-aud%C3%A9o-b-direct-5-features-my-clients-love-birgitte-hansen

  4. Jena Marionneaux says:

    Will this Phonak Audeo’ B-Direct and Cochlear implant be able connect together to the TV and cellphone? I want to know if this will work to connect and to listening on which I wear with one Cochlear implant and I am thinking of buy this Phonak hearing aid on the other ear.

    Will you email me, please see below on boxes.

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