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What’s New in Hearing Aids Spring 2015 Edition

New Hearing Aids Spring 2015

About twice a year, the top hearing aid manufacturers have big new product releases, once in the Spring and once in the Fall. The Spring release is usually a big deal because the new technology is presented at the annual American Academy of Audiology convention, AudiologyNow, where thousands of Audiologists from around the country come to learn.

It is important for Audiologists to stay up-to-date on the new products so they can offer the best solution to their patients. Even if they don’t attend the AudiologyNow convention, they will be notified after each new product release.

While it can be somewhat of a competition between manufacturers to see what the “next big thing” is going to be, it generally all comes down to providing top-of-the-line products which can improve hearing and quality of life for people with hearing loss.

As an Audiologist, I think it is an exciting time.

I enjoy seeing what new technology is available for me to offer to my patients.

It can also be a little overwhelming, especially if you are an audiologist who uses multiple manufacturers’ products. You must be sure that you are trained and knowledgeable about each new product release.

As a hearing aid user, you may or may not be told when a new product comes out. Your hearing healthcare professional may notify you the next time you come in the office for a visit, or they may send out a newsletter telling you about the new updates. Typically, if you purchased hearing aids within the last 3 years, you are likely not ready for something new anyways.

But, in case you are a hearing aid user that likes to be sure you are getting the “latest and greatest” thing available, or you are shopping for an updated pair of hearing aids, or your first pair of hearing aids, these new hearing aid updates may excite you.

New Hearing Aids for Spring 2015

Oticon

Oticon has released what they call “The next generation of BrainHearing Technology“. Brain hearing technology is said to give an improvement in soft speech intelligibility and better hearing in noisy or challenging environments.

This new “BrainHearing Technology” is available in their new performance line of hearing aids, the Alta2, Nera2, and Ria2. This hearing aid line is now available in their new smaller miniRITE design, as well as in their RITE, BTE, and custom styles, all the way down to a wireless IIC style.

Oticon has also added their Tinnitus SoundSupport in their premium Pro products for management of tinnitus.

Phonak

Phonak has launched a new digital chip technology called Venture. It’s claimed to deliver twice the processing power with a 30% reduction in battery drain.

Venture is available in 4 technology levels to help meet budget demands. It is available in their Audeo RIC models and their Bolero BTE models. Their Tinnitus Balance noise generator is also available in all levels.

The biggest change in this new Venture platform is the AutoSense feature. It is used to help seamlessly blend the users changing listening environments.

Phonak also has a full range of wireless accessories, with their new EasyCall II connecting hearing aids to any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.

ReSound

At the end of 2014, ReSound was the first company to release a Made for iPhone hearing aid, the LiNX. The LiNX hearing aid allowed users to connect wirelessly to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod without the use of an intermediary device. When the LiNX was initially released, it was only available in one technology level (premium), and in one style (RIC style).

ReSound has just launched their second generation of “smart hearing aids” called the LiNX2. With the LiNX2 there is a full-range of style options available, from a small IIC, up to a power BTE. The Made for iPhone connectivity is available in the RIC, BTE, and custom styles down to the ITC.

This is a great way to ensure that practically anyone can wear a Made for iPhone hearing aid, they are no longer limited by style choice. They are the first company to release this full range of styles in a Made for iPhone (or “smart”) hearing aid.

The LiNX2 device has all the original features of the LiNX device, with the added benefit of ReSound’s Tinnitus Sound Generator feature, as well as an advancement in their SmartRange digital chip processing with Binaural Directionality II and Smart Sense.

They have also redesigned the original RIC style, with a new smaller receiver and dome.

The LiNX2 is now available in three separate technology levels, the 9, 7, and 5. This allows for more options in needed features and pricing for the patient.

Siemens (soon to be Sivantos)

In addition to their new ownership and soon-to-be name change to Sivantos, Siemens has claimed “the world’s first technology that outperforms normal hearing”, called the binax.

With binax hearing aids, they claim to allow wearers to understand speech in demanding listening enviornments even better than people with normal hearing.

Their new OneMic directionality offers advanced automatic directionality for hearing aids with only one microphone, such as their new Insio binax CIC (completely-in-the-canal).

Their new BTE style, the Motion binax, covers more severe hearing losses in a more compact housing, with improved directionality and rechargeability.

All binax products now also have adaptive streaming volume and the ocean wave tinnitus therapy signals available.

Starkey

Starkey recently introduced one of the first Made for iPhone hearing aids, the Halo. At the time of release, it was only available in a RIC style. Now Starkey has released Halo in a BTE style. It still has all the great features of the original Halo, with two style choices, RIC and BTE.

In addition, the Halo is now compatible with select Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and S 5.

Starkey also recently launched their Z Series, which features their BluWave 4.0 operating system and the 900sync Technology. This technology allows for a more robust wireless system that is virtually drop-free connectivity, with increased streaming range and less susceptibility to interference.

Their two new features, Spatial Streaming and Stream Boost for enhanced wireless audio performance.

Widex

Widex’s newest line of hearing aids, the DREAM series, got a few additions this Spring. They introduced the ultra small DREAM CIC Micro aid, one of the smallest CIC hearing aid styles on the market. Even with it’s small size, it still has all the processing capabilities of the other DREAM hearing aids and it can connect to an FM device.

Widex also recently released they new Power BTE hearing aid, the Fashion Power. It gives those with a severe hearing loss a sleek design option.

All six of these manufacturers have very comparable products in terms of function and style, but each new product release brings out a new “edge” against the other manufacturers.

That’s it for the Spring 2015 edition. Be sure to check back for the Fall 2015 edition.

Lindsey Banks

Audiologist

Lindsey Banks is a graduate of the Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) program at the University of Florida. She uses her diverse experience in hearing healthcare and her passion for helping people to provide credible information to those with hearing loss who visit Everyday Hearing.

Comments

  1. Robyn says:

    Good information, but I would have loved to have direct links to website pages (it is difficult to navigate a manufacturers site without having to shuffle through all of the marketing information. Also, pictures would be helpful. Nevertheless, this is my “go-to” site to reading about latest technologies in hearing aides!

    1. Lindsey Banks, Au.D. says:

      Hi Robyn. Thank you so much for the input. We are always looking for ways to improve the site so I will definitely include some more links and pictures in the future. I’m glad you are finding the information helpful!

    2. Arnold Hearer says:

      I’m cancer survivor with chemotherapy caused hearing loss,
      In attempting to find clear, quantifiable comparisons between manufacturers products,
      their qualitative ratings and their relative prices for equivalent instruments…
      There is disgustingly little!
      It’s very frustrating.

      1. Pam says:

        I am a double cancer survivor and I love my Starkey hearing aids.

        1. Mike says:

          I am looking to purchase the Starkey z series very soon. How have others found the Z series working?

  2. Anthony Borrelli says:

    regarding bilateral severe to profound RIC power mold fittings, in your opinion which manufacturer offers the best feedback management and proper ear mold fitting technology?

    1. Lindsey Banks, Au.D. says:

      Hi Anthony. Thank you for your question. As far as feedback management goes for severe to profound RIC fittings, my personal opinion would be that Starkey provides the best options. All manufacturers on this list have great feedback management systems but Starkey has always been my go-to when it comes to severe to profound loss RIC fittings.

  3. Sandra says:

    I would have like to seen side by side comparisons, ratings and reviews as well.

    1. Lindsey Banks, Au.D. says:

      Sandra, thanks so much for the input. In our next edition we’ll be sure to include some side by side comparisons.

  4. Paul Brennan says:

    I completely loss my hearing in one ear (nerve deafness ). Which company and what specific name of its hearing aids do you think I should consider? With SSD I am looking for the best biaural technology.
    This is an amazing website.
    Thank you so very much,
    Paul

    1. Hi Paul. Thank you for getting in touch. If you have SSD then you have a few different options for hearing aid technology. You can get a CROS hearing aid, which is a wireless option. Two companies who have very good CROS devices are : Phonak and Widex.
      Or you could consider getting a bone-conduction implant (also called a Baha device).

      1. Paul Brennan says:

        Thank you. I have read mixed reviews with CROS for SSD patients and The Baha method seems so invasive. This would be my first hearing aid even though I have been SSD all my life; I am fearful and a little reluctant.
        Have a wonderful weekend,
        Paul

        1. If you want something less intrusive then I would definitely consider a CROS. If your hearing loss is true SSD, you will not benefit from traditional hearing aids, but a CROS device is a great alternative.

  5. Wyn Laidig says:

    Thank you for this useful site! I find it very hard to find any quantitative comparative data on different brands. Who do you think provides the most advanced wireless IIC at this time? It looks like the Oticon Alta2 Inium IIC, the Starkey Soundlens IIC , and the Siemens Insio Binax IIC, and the Resound Linx2 IIC all claim to have wireless support. From what LITTLE I have been able to access, it seems Oticon shows the most promise.

    1. Hi Wyn. Thank you for checking out Everyday Hearing. As far as wireless IIC technology goes, The Oticon Alta2 Inium IIC is the only true wireless IIC available and would be my recommendation for most advanced IIC technology. The Soundlens and the Linx2 IIC do not have wireless capabilities. I am not as familiar with the Siemens IIC.

  6. Betty McQueen says:

    I have had single sided deafness for 25 years following removal of an acoustic neuroma. I have read that the CROS hearing aid would be a good option for someone with SSD. In addition, I have recently read that Trrans Ear is a bone conduction hearing instrument designed specifically for SSD. Do you have any information about Trans Ear?

    1. Hi Betty. Yes, a CROS device would be a good solution for you. TransEar has been around for quite a while now and I know some people do really well with it. The benefit of it is that you only have to wear one device, versus with a CROS you have a device on each ear. It uses vibrations of the bones of the ear canal and skull to transmit the signal to your good ear. The down-side is that there is a very large piece in the ear canal which some people find cumbersome. Some other options for you would be a Baha device or the newer Soundbite system which uses the bones of the teeth and jaw: https://www.everydayhearing.com/hearing-technology/soundbite-hearing-system-is-it-right-for-me/

  7. Claudio says:

    I have been SSD all my life. About two years ago I got a TransEar. It’s a bit uncomfortable and it took several adjustments to make it useful. The greatest benefit I got from it is to know when someone is talking on my deaf side, but I can’t have a conversation with that person if there is any other sound on my good side.
    I noticed that TransEar works the same way if I push it against any bony part of my head. That being said, I wish there where glasses with that tech built in so I don’t have to put that thing in my ear.

    1. Hi Claudio. I can understand how you feel about the TransEar feeling a little cumbersome. That is often the complaint I hear about the device. You may want to consider the SoundBite system. Even though there is still a small piece in the ear, it is much more comfortable. Check out more info here: https://www.everydayhearing.com/hearing-technology/soundbite-hearing-system-is-it-right-for-me/

  8. Adil khan says:

    I have hearing loss from childhood and I using phoenix cic 4 chanel hearing aid both ear 65R/70Ldb loss but i usig one ear right side so my old hearing aid not 100% ok only 50% ok so please give me advice to which the best hearid aids is good for me cic or iic and what is the cost of india and where is branches my age is now 38 years
    Thanks Best regard

    1. Hi Adil-
      As far as CIC vs IIC goes, there is not going to be a significant difference in power level. If you want something more discreet then you should go with the IIC, however if you need something with wireless capabilities, you may want to consider a CIC because many of the IIC are not wireless. Oticon has one of the only wireless IIC aids at this time. Unfortunately I can not give you any information about branches and cost in India.

  9. Deb says:

    My 90 year old otherwise very healthy mother has some hearing loss but refuses to address it by seeing a doctor. She doesn’t want to spend the money and is in denial that she needs a hearing aid. We’re thinking she will try a hearing aid if we just buy one for her. I know this goes against your grain, but if you had 1 stab at getting the right hearing aid, what would you try if you were an untrained consumer. I’m thinking to try the open-fit type.

    Thanks for any help you can provide!!

    1. I would definitely advise against getting just one hearing aid. The brain relies on input from both ears and there are several issues that can arise from just wearing one…such as an inability to locate where sounds are coming from. Depending on the severity of her hearing loss is going to determine which styles she is a candidate for. I understand your dilemma with getting her to wear hearing aids. If it is the looks of it that she is hesitant about, let the audiologist know and they can recommend a more discreet style that will not show as much.

      1. Deb says:

        Thanks for your reply Lindsay! Your response confused me until I reread my post, then it made me laugh. Sorry to mislead you but I did not mean that we want to buy “just one” for her, but that we will “just buy” one for her (without her paying anything). HAHA!!!

        The more I have read about hearing aids the less I think she is a candidate. Her hearing loss is mild, and I doubt she can endure what it takes to adjust. My siblings and I did not realize the difficulties involved with adapting to hearing aids. We thought it paralleled adjusting to a new prescription or bifocals for glasses.

        Again, thanks!

  10. Rhonda VanArsdale says:

    Hi I am 48 yrs old and I am looking to purchase the top of the line hearing aid but I’m tired of wasting money. I was born with a hereditary hearing loss. I have severe seneral profound hearing loss… I want something that is sweat/water proof hearingaid for sure and last alot longer than 4 years. So can you tell me which hearing aid you would recommend ???

    1. Hi Rhonda
      You can’t go wrong with one of the 6 major manufacturers…Oticon, Widex, Starkey, Phonak, Siemens or ReSound. However, I will tell you that the hearing healthcare provider that is providing the hearing aid services is more important than the product itself. A hearing aid is only as good as the person who is fitting it. I would recommend that you find a local Audiologist that you feel comfortable with and purchase your hearing aid there. If you have a severe to profound hearing loss, here are some suggestions of specific products:
      Oticon Dynamo or Power Plus BTE aids
      Phonak Naida BTE
      ReSound ENZO2

  11. Manoj says:

    Hello I am 38 year old and using simens hearing aid. Before using it iwas able to listen without hearing aid but after use it I am not able to listen without out it and has profound hearing loss.
    Now I want to know is this possible my hearing aid (loss of hearing due to hearing aid) and which type hearing aid is suitable for me I wan to use cic or iic is it suitable for me or not ? As I have profound hearing loss. Please suggest me because I want to change my simens bte hearing aid.

    1. It is very unlikely that your hearing aid made your hearing loss worse. You probably have a progressive hearing loss (that which gets worse over time). I would not recommend a cic or iic hearing aid for a profound loss because they do not provide enough amplification to help your hearing. You would do much better sticking with a BTE aid. I would consider updating your hearing aid to a newer BTE aid. It doesn’t have to be Siemens.

  12. BJC says:

    Spring 2016 is fast approaching… it’s time to replace my Phonak Audeo V aids… thinking of the Siemans Pure Binax 5 or Pure Binax 7, or… is this the wrong time to be replacing them? Hate being at the end of a lifecycle as opposed to the front…

    1. Hi BJC. That’s a good question. Typically every April/May the Big 6 manufacturers release new products. Sometimes they are big changes and sometimes they are very small. Siemens may or may not be making a big change to their Binax aids. I can’t say until they make the official release but I doubt this year’s change will be very big since it’s still a very new product. If that is the case, it won’t be a big deal if you upgrade now. However, you may want to wait and see what the other manufacturers come out with.

  13. Jennifer Hamani says:

    Hi, does anyone know what the newest Widex CIC hearing aid is? I think a new one was supposed to come out in the beginning of 2016. Thank you

    1. Jennifer,

      Check out this post we did late Fall 2015: https://www.everydayhearing.com/hearing-aids/articles/new-hearing-aids-fall-2015/

      I know their new UNIQUE line includes a new CIC MICRO. Let me know if that’s the one you were looking for.

  14. Grant says:

    Hi,

    I hope you can forgive me asking in ruminative fashion. I have a single-sided loss, ~110dB loss in one ear, ~55-65dB in my “good” ear (with a flat ‘curve’, falling away a bit in the high frequencies). I’ve had my loss since birth (congenital rubella).

    While I like the idea behind some of the new features like voice tracking (which Starkey and Siemans offer, among others), and the wireless features for phones, one thing I rarely see explicitly mentioned is manually controlling how dominant a forward-facing directional microphone is, essentially a manual “zoom” for the forward-facing direction. (How ‘narrow’ and/or strong the directional signal is compared to the omnidirection input.)

    I struggle a bit to see how tracking voice noise would help in many instances, interesting as the idea is, as surely there would still be a head shadow effect, and I can’t understand how this might track the particular person you would want to hear in settings with many voices at once. (I can see it helping when driving, or in a conversation ‘ring’ where each person politely talks in turn, but not in settings with other conversations or voice noise going on.)

    I‘d love to hear your thoughts/suggestions.

  15. R M Smith says:

    Could you please comment on what new developments you were impressed with at the recent Audiology convention?. I am considering the Phonak V50, or the Linx2 or Halo. The Resound and Starkey pair directly with the iPhone and I like that feature but after trying all three, with my profound hearing loss I am leaning towards the V50…. Unless there were some new announcements last week that might change my mind. Your thoughts would be very helpful, thanks.

    1. R M,

      The LiNX2 and Halo probably won’t be sufficient if you have a profound hearing loss. The Phonak Naida V50 would work for a profound hearing loss, but in order to connect to your iPhone (wirelessly), you would need an additional accessory, such as the Phonak Com Pilot.

      At the recent Audiology convention (AudiologyNOW! 2016), Oticon released a new product called the Opn, which may be of interest to you in this particular situation. However, it isn’t scheduled to be released until May 2016.

  16. Adil Arfin khan says:

    Hi
    I’m 38 years old I have problems of hearin losses from childhood then I started using hearing add since 2007 years my first hearing add is phonek cic 11mic/extra 4 Chanel now also using 3 time I repaired not 100% good only 50% good but I am using countine and buy new hearing add phonek verto q 50 cic from India date 4/1/2016 but not well working so I not using i using old one better than new one my hearing losses is 64 right 63 left I using only one left side so please give me advice which is excellent and better fore me and letest technology lunched cic or iic only with Bluetooth wireless thanks
    Best regards

  17. john says:

    Hi, I’m 52 years old and have hereditary loss that is approaching 60%. I have tried hearing aids in the past but they all seem to have the same problem, which is the work their way out of my ear throughout the day due to wax buildup. Is there anything out there that might be a possible solution to this problem? If so, having the iPhone connection would be a bonus!

    Thank you

    1. Hi John
      You shouldn’t have a problem with a BTE or RIC hearing aid working its’ way out of your ear. It is important that you see a licensed hearing healthcare professional to ensure a proper fit of the devices. Once a proper fit is achieved you should not have this issue.

  18. Peter says:

    Hi,

    May I kindly ask you to advice which IIC hearing aid is the best as of today? Oticon, phonak, siemens – too much companies. I have sensorineural hearing loss (high frequency loss up to 70 db)

    Thanks a lot!

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