Technically the autumn equinox (aka the start of Fall) was last week, which means it's time for our latest edition of “What's New in Hearing Aids.”
Just a quick note that we mostly stick to udpates from the Big 6 hearing aid manufacturers, but with the advent of OTC devices we're also starting to cover other notable brands and manufacturers. If you have any specific requests, be sure to leave us a comment below and we'll try to get it added to our next update.
The big updates from Oticon this Fall mostly stem from improvements and additions to their most advanced line of hearing aids: the Oticon Opn.
First and foremost, the Oticon Opn miniRITE is now rechargeable. According to Oticon, “An easy overnight charge gives you full power for the day without the hassle of handling batteries.” Read more about this update directly from Oticon here.
Oticon's second update tackles an issue directed at 13-19 year old hearing aid users. Oticon conducted a focus group with teenagers and determined the top concerns included “size of the hearing aid” and “performance of the hearing aid in noise.”
In response to the focus group, along with a survey of pediatric audiologists, the Oticon Opn line now includes DSL rationale for use with teens and a new miniRITE-T with telecoil for FM access.
Just over a month ago, Phonak made a big splash with the world's first true Bluetooth hearing aid: Phonak Audéo B-Direct.
To accomplish this, Phonak developed a proprietary 2.4 GHz Bluetooth chip, called the SWORD (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital) chip. We wrote an entire article about it here, covering all the features in much more detail.
Keeping in line with industry firsts, Phonak also partnered with Advanced Bionics to announce the Phonak Naída Link CROS, “a wireless audio transmitter…introduced to provide full access to sounds for unilateral cochlear implant candidates with no hearing in their opposite ear.”
Adding to it's already popular Tempus portfolio, Unitron introducted:
Here's what Unitron had to say about Insera:
ReSound added to it's popular LiNX series with the ReSound LiNX 3D.
According to ReSound the LiNX 3D is:
- “Up to 50% better at identifying speech in noisy environments”
- Allows you to “hear up to 80%†† more of the sounds around you, clearer than ever”
- “Up to 40% more accurate speech recognition in noise”
(Note: the above claims are when compared to other “premium” hearing aids with narrow beamforming)
The LiNX 3D is off to a pretty successful start winning a UX Design award, 2 wards at IFA, and an IHS Markit Innovation award.
A little bit later than the other manufacturers, but Signia just released the Signia NX, with the concept of the hearing aid being “replicating nature.”
This is probably one of the coolest adverts we've seen for a hearing aid, but let's take a look at the purpose of the Signia NX.
According to Signia it's the world’s first Own Voice Processing (OVPTM), which is supposed to approve the acceptance of own voice for hearing aid wearers. And here's a study they did to correlate the data. On top of that here's a few more quick facts about the NX:
- Ultra HD e2e also powers binaural beam-forming technology to provide clear speech understanding
- Industry’s only wireless system combining Bluetooth and Ultra HD e2e
- Compatible with their TeleCare 3.0 for remote tuning
Starkey is taking advantage of the latest trending tech by including “research in virtual reality, advanced neuroscience, and audiology and signal processing” for their latest smartphone compatible hearing aids: the iQ.
The new lineup will include:
The iQ hearing aids improve directionality and spatial awareness (this is likely where the VR research comes into play) using their proprietary Acuity Immersion technology.
They've also included 2 important features:
- Speech Indicators for memory. Instead of numbers or beeps telling you what memory you’re in, you hear descriptive names, like “Car”, “Home”, or “Outdoors.”
- Smart VC. Allows for an increase in gain in all channels not already at maximum, to give wearers a desired increase in loudness when needed.
Check out the video below for more information.
Widex joins Oticon in taking their most popular hearing aid line, BEYOND, and adding a rechargeable option: the Widex BEYOND Z.
They also updated their tinnitus management app.
Check out the video below to see how it can help relieve tinnitus as a supplement to their ZEN hearing aids.
I've been talking about Apple and Samsung partnering with hearing aid manufacturers for years, and I'm surprised it took this long. Apple has teamed up with Cochlear to create the first ever made for iPhone cochlear implant.
That’s all for the Fall 2017 edition of What’s New in Hearing Aids.
We’ll continue updating this through the winter, and be back again for the Spring 2018 edition in March/April.