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The Latest and Best Phonak Hearing Aids

Swiss Quality and design

Phonak is a longstanding Swiss hearing aid brand who have delivered some of the best hearing aids available over the years. In the last year it seems they have been hugely innovative delivering modern Lithium-Ion rechargeable hearing aids, the first ever Made For Anyphone hearing aids and a titanium hearing aid. Here is what they have to offer. 

Meet The Audeo B-Direct

Phonak Made For iPhone Arrives

Phonak have just introduced their very first Made For iPhone hearing aid. However, it is more than Made For iPhone. In fact, it is the first ever Made For Any Phone hearing aid. The hearing aids have been exceptionally well received but there are things you should consider before buying them. The audio from a phone call will only stream to one ear, while the other is attenuated to give you a better opportunity to hear the caller. The second thing you should consider is that Phonak is not using their own audio streaming system. That means that you lose some of their amazing situational programmes such as Speech in loud noise, Speech in 360 and Speech in wind in the top of the range 90 and 70 level of technology. 

Audeo B-Direct hearing aid

Phonak

Audeo B-Direct

Phonak Delivers Made For Any Phone

The Audeo B-Direct. needs to be judged as a revolutionary hearing aid that changes wireless connection to a mobile phone forever. The Audeo B-Direct connects to any Bluetooth® enabled mobile phone, directly, and without a streamer. As a part of this connection, it offers true hands-free calling via your hearing aids. As it supports the classic Bluetooth protocol, it provides direct connectivity to cell phones – including AndroidTM, iPhone® and even classic cell phones – with no extra body-worn streaming device required. That really is a complete departure from anything that has gone before.

True hands-free calling is now a reality

Let's talk about the hands-free voice calling functionality. The wearer can answer or reject a phone call by simply pressing the push button on their hearing aid. The ringing of the phone is heard through the hearing aids and once the call is accepted, the conversation is instantly streamed. You don’t even need to pick up your phone. Your voice is picked up by the hearing aid’s intelligent microphone network and transmitted to the other caller similar to the way a wireless headset would work.

No Music Streaming

This is one of the problems that exist with the system, or perhaps not a problem unless you want to stream music or other audio. For people who like to stream music or audio books from their phone, this hearing device isn't the answer. While it streams mobile phone calls, it doesn't allow the type of streaming that delivers music or other audio. However, they have thought about music lovers and your TV viewing habits

You can use them as wireless TV headphones

They have introduced an accompanying TV Connector, which uses their proprietary AirStreamTM technology. It is designed to be a state-of-the-art compact multimedia hub that seamlessly connects wearers to their favourite TV programming. It’s a plug and play solution that automatically turns a pair of Audéo B-Direct hearing aids into wireless TV headphones. The TV Connector can also connect and transmit to multiple sets of Audéo B-Direct hearing aids simultaneously. That’s a pretty good solution for couples with hearing loss.

TV Connecter

Discreet Reciever in Canal Device

Audeo B-Direct

 

The device is a receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aid which means that it will be suitable for a wide range of hearing losses and users. It is also the first device to make use of Sonova’s revolutionary SWORD chip and wireless radio technology. They say that the low-voltage radio chip has the lowest power consumption of any hearing aid using Bluetooth Classic.

The device uses a size thirteen battery and Phonak reports some excellent battery life figures. They say that the battery should last for six days with one hour of phone use and 3 hours of TV per day. Of course, real-world experience may vary, some people like to talk more and watch a lot more TV. Even though the device is a size thirteen, it isn't actually much bigger than their Audeo B 312. 

Three levels of technology

The new device will be available in three levels of technology, the 90, the 70 and the 50, so there is no entry level device this time around. As I said earlier, even with the 90 and the 70, you lose out on some of the amazing Phonak programmes for noisy situations. 

New Accompanying App

There is a new app to go with the devices for smartphones; the app offers the typical features you would expect.

Volume adjustment, programme changes, you can also rename the programmes to make them easier to remember. The app will show a list of the available audio sources and allow the user to control the balance of audio when streaming.

Phonak

Virto B Hearing Aids

Meet The New Phonak Virto B Range

Phonak have now introduced the full range of their new Virto B in the ear products. They say that they are custom-made to perfectly fit in your ear, Phonak Virto B is the world’s first hearing aids with Biometric Calibration, which take your individual ear anatomy and hearing needs into account. That's an interesting description.

They say that they will identify over 1600 biometric data points in and on your ear, and the unique calibration settings are calculated for each Virto B hearing aid. In this way, Virto B is able to more reliably sense where a sound is coming from, thereby giving you access to better hearing performance.

What does that all mean? Well, we think that Phonak is the first ever hearing aid manufacturer to carefully map the outer ear to take advantage of its natural abilities. They say that the new process will deliver a 2dB signal to noise ratio improvement. Basically, it means it will make the signal (what you want to listen to) 2dB higher than the noise.

2dB doesn't sound like much but combined with all the other strategies that Phonak use it will be a marked improvement. Phonak Virto B is available in six models to match your hearing needs.

Virto B10 hearing aids

Four Levels of Technology

The Virto range is available in the usual four levels of technology, the 90, 70, 50 and 30. Although, the Virto B-Titanium, which we will deal with separately is only available in the 90 and 70 levels of technology. 

Phonak

Virto B-Titanium Invisible Hearing Aids

As part of a raft of introductions, Phonak announced that they were introducing a new Virto hearing aid type as part of their Virto Belong range. The device was quite groundbreaking, it is the first hearing aid device to use medical grade titanium to form the custom shell. While this alone is innovative, they have used the properties of the metal to ensure that they can offer discreet custom hearing aids to more people than ever. 

Virto B-Titanium

A Titanium Shell

The named the hearing aid as the Virto B-Titanium and said it will be the most discreet in-ear device they have ever made. It is a fascinating device that uses titanium for the shell instead of the usual hard acrylic. This is the first time that titanium has been used in the manufacture of a custom hearing aid.

Super discreet

Virto B-Titanium is the smallest Phonak in-the-ear hearing aid ever! It is for all intent and purpose an invisible hearing aid device. 

Half as Thin

Using titanium allows for a shell that’s half as thin as traditional custom shells. This will result in a deep, comfortable fit. Phonak say that the overall size is reduced significantly, thus increasing invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) fit rate by 64%. That simply means that more people than ever will be physically suitable for their latest invisible hearing aid. 

Three Levels of Receiver

The device comes available with three levels of receiver which allows it to cover even more hearing losses than ever before. Because of the use of Titanium, it also allows for bigger vents in their hearing aids which means fewer occlusion problems for people with good low-frequency hearing.

Fitting levels of Phonak Titanium

Fully automatic

Virto B-Titanium features AutoSense OS™. It adapts to every sound environment automatically for excellent hearing performance everywhere. There will be no need to manually adjust the hearing aids. Although, they can come with an optional push button for just that. 

Technology Levels

The Virto B-Titanium will only be available in the 90 and the 70 levels of technology. 

Will Fit More People Than Ever

The material is exceptionally strong, which allows Phonak to make the shell much thinner than ever before with even more strength. This combined with new component design allows them to deliver an invisible hearing device that they say will fit 68% more ears. 

The deep position in the ear canal of the device will allow the hearing aid to use the natural shape of the ear to funnel sound to the microphone. This strategy has always proved to deliver excellent directional hearing.

Who will the Virto Belong-Titanium be suitable for?

While invisible hearing aids can be a bit hit and miss for suitability, Phonak says that their new designs and materials will, in fact, make the hearing aids suitable for more people than ever. While that will most definitely be the case, there will still be some limitations on the ability to fit. I would imagine if the bends in the ear canal are too tight, it will preclude this device from being suitable.

Other contraindications are the same as every other invisible hearing aid such as excessive waxy ear canals, history of mid-ear infections or perforated eardrums. If you face these issues, this will not be the product for you. In these cases, other discreet hearing aids may be more advisable to consider.

Phonak

Phonak Belong Virto B90 Titanium Hearing Aids

The Latest Custom Hearing Aids From Phonak

Phonak Virto B90 Titanium in the ear hearing aidThe Virto B90-Titanium is the latest top of the range custom hearing aid from Phonak, it is also the first ever custom hearing device that has been manufactured using medical grade titanium for the shell. Phonak have used the qualities of titanium to ensure this is the smallest, most discreet hearing aid they have ever made. It is a fully automatic invisible hearing aid that will physically suit more people than ever before. The device is available with three levels of receiver which will allow it to cover the hearing losses of more people than ever before

This is the pinnacle of Phonak technology, designed to deliver outstanding results in even the most difficult situation. If you are looking for assistance for an active life, well this is the technology level for you.

Virto B90 Titanium hearing aids recognise and automatically adapt to more of your listening situations than ever before. The range runs on the new improved AutoSense OS. At this level of technology, it has five automatic programmes that seamlessly blend together to give you the best hearing possible. You also get five extra manual programs to work with for maximum fine tuning for different situations.

Automatic programs:

  • Comfort in Echo: Recognises the frequency of any reverberation and applies the appropriate amount of gain reduction, resulting in less distortion, making speech more comfortable.
  • Speech in Car: Reduces broadband noise in the car to create a stable listening environment for easy communication, reduced effort.
  • Music: Offers an expanded dynamic range, slow compression speed and more gain for a fuller and richer music experience.
  • Comfort in Noise: Actively reduces noise for increased comfort when no speech is present.
  • Calm Situation: Provides optimal gain for speech understanding and listening comfort when engaging in one-on-one conversations in quiet.

Manual programs:

  • Comfort in Echo: Recognises the frequency of any reverberation and applies the appropriate amount of gain reduction, resulting in less distortion, making speech more comfortable.
  • Music: Offers an expanded dynamic range, slow compression speed and more gain for a fuller and richer music experience.
  • Comfort in Noise: Actively reduces noise for increased comfort when no speech is present.
  • Calm Situation: Provides optimal gain for speech understanding and listening comfort when engaging in one-on-one conversations in quiet.

Phonak

Phonak Belong Virto B70 Titanium Hearing Aids

The Latest Custom Hearing Aids From Phonak

Phonak Virto B70 Titanium Hearing AidThe Virto B70-Titanium is the latest Advanced range custom hearing aid from Phonak, it is also the first ever custom hearing device that has been manufactured using medical grade titanium for the shell. Phonak have used the qualities of titanium to ensure this is the smallest, most discreet hearing aid they have ever made. It is a fully automatic invisible hearing aid that will physically suit more people than ever before. The device is available with three levels of receiver which will allow it to cover the hearing losses of more people than ever before

This Phonak technology is as it is called, advanced. It is designed to deliver outstanding results in even the most difficult situation. If you are looking for assistance for an active life, well this is the technology level for you.

Virto B70 Titanium hearing aids recognise and automatically adapt to more of your listening situations than ever before. The range runs on the new improved AutoSense OS. At this level of technology, it has three automatic programmes that seamlessly blend together to give you the best hearing possible. You also get five extra manual programs to work with for maximum fine tuning for different situations.

Automatic programs:

  • Music: Offers an expanded dynamic range, slow compression speed and more gain for a fuller and richer music experience.
  • Comfort in Noise: Actively reduces noise for increased comfort when no speech is present.
  • Calm Situation: Provides optimal gain for speech understanding and listening comfort when engaging in one-on-one conversations in quiet.

Manual programs:

  • Music: Offers an expanded dynamic range, slow compression speed and more gain for a fuller and richer music experience.
  • Comfort in Noise: Actively reduces noise for increased comfort when no speech is present.
  • Calm Situation: Provides optimal gain for speech understanding and listening comfort when engaging in one-on-one conversations in quiet.

Phonak

Bolero Belong Hearing Devices

With the launch of the new Bolero Belong platform of BTE hearing aids, Phonak have launched a lithium-ion rechargeable BTE, the Bolero B-PR. It is the first Lithium-ion rechargeable BTE to the market and the first rechargeable BTE for Phonak. They say that the battery pack will deliver 24 hours of hearing with one simple charge (expected results when fully charged, and up to 80 minutes wireless streaming time) which is in line with the performance of the Audeo B-R.

Phonak Bolero Belong P-R Rechargeable behind the ear hearing aid 

The P hearing aid style is quite a powerful aid and can be expected to be fitted to people with severe hearing loss. The device has a programme button, volume control and a telecoil onboard. The amplification output of this aid demands a lot of power, so Phonak must be very confident with the battery technology.

In line with the Audeo Belong, the range will run on the new improved AutoSense OS and will come in the usual four levels of technology. However, the new rechargeable option will not be available in the lowest level of technology.

The Range

The Bolero range is a full model line up with four models. They will include B-M, B-P, B-SP, and the rechargeable B-PR.

The Bolero Range

Bolero Belong MPhonak Bolero B-M

The B-M model is the smallest of the range, a micro BTE powered with a 312 battery it will cover Moderate to Severe hearing losses. The device comes with a programme button and has an onboard telecoil.

The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. The device will be available in the four levels of technology, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.

Bolero Belong PPhonak Bolero B-P

The B-P model is slightly larger, it is powered by a 13 battery cell and comes with a programme button, volume control, telecoil and will cover up to severe hearing losses.

The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. The device will be available in the four levels of technology, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.

Bolero B-SPBolero B-SP

The B-SP is the largest model, again it is powered by a 13 battery and comes with a programme button, volume control and telecoil. The device will cover severe to profound hearing losses.

The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. The device will be available in the four levels of technology, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.

Bolero Belong PRBolero B-PR

The B-PR is the rechargeable model which runs on a sealed and integrated lithium-ion power pack. The device is similar in size to the Bolero B-SP. It also has a programme button, volume control and telecoil. The device can be fitted with a thin tube fitting or a traditional tube and mould configuration. It will cover moderate to severe hearing losses and it will be available in the 90, the 70 and the 50 levels of technology only.

What are the key features of the Bolero P-R

  • Rechargeable lithium-ion power cell
  • 24 hours continuous use with up to 5 hours streaming
  • Easy charging
  • Unique OneShell design
  • Probably only available in the 90, 70 and 50 level of tech

Phonak

Audeo Belong Hearing Devices

Audeo BelongThe Audeo Belong Receiver In Canal hearing device range was the first Phonak hearing device range with a rechargeable option. This was an amazing innovation and a new direction for them. However there is much more, that is new in this range, the Belong comes with an upgraded operating system, the latest version of Phonak's SoundRecover2 and new microphones and programme buttons.

The range uses the existing Venture chipset and is available in four technology levels, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30, although the rechargeable option is not available in the 30 level of technology, perhaps in the next platform. That is a pity because the rechargeable hearing devices are proving amazingly popular.

New Autosense System

The operating system in the Belong range is an updated version of Phonak's Autosense OS. They have improved the system with new settings that manage how the system works. Phonak's continued research on AutoSense OS gave them the opportunity to make it even better.

They have tweaked the operating system, changing how the hearing aids respond to changes in the sound environment. They say that these changes deliver even better speech intelligibility across the different settings.

The Phonak Audeo Belong Range
Audeo Belong Range

SoundRecover2

SoundRecover2 is Phonak's latest version of their frequency compression strategy. It is a feature that moves high-frequency sounds in speech into lower areas of hearing. It is exceptionally useful for people who have little or no hearing in their high-frequency range. The feature works only when needed, for instance, if a sound is in an area of hearing where you simply could not hear it.

In cases like this, normal amplification will simply not work well, SoundRecover2 moves the sound to an area where the is usable hearing, which will allow you to hear the sound information you need to understand speech. The new and updated version was first introduced in the new Naida Venture and there have been excellent reports about it from users.

Hardware changes

The Audeo Belong has a new style of button, which is more functional and a new microphone system. While the button change is designed to make the aids easier to use, the microphone change is probably the most important. The new microphone system is designed to make the devices sound better in both noise and quiet. Most hearing aids suffer from something that is called circuit noise, it is a low volume sound that is often described by users as a hiss.

More often than not circuit noise is caused by the function of the microphones in the aids. The noise is never very loud but if you have good low-frequency hearing you will hear it. The new microphone system almost eliminates this noise, the feedback from users is that they are the quietest hearing aids they have ever worn. So quiet that they can almost forget they are on.

The Phonak Audeo Belong Hearing Aid Range

The range itself is a relatively typical full- line Audeo offering, so that is a full range of Receiver in Canal devices. Let's take a look:

Audeo B-10

Very small RIC device using a size 10 battery, it is quite discreet and can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. It doesn't have a telecoil although as always it is a wireless device. It has a button but no volume control.

Audeo B-312

Again a very small RIC device, however, it uses a size 312 battery, it is still very discreet and can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. Like the 10, it doesn't have a telecoil although as always it is a wireless device. It has a button but no volume control.

Audeo B-312T

Slightly bigger than the 312, it is still a small and discrete device RIC which uses a size 312 battery, it can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. Unlike the 10 and the 312, it has a telecoil as well as being a wireless device. It has a button but no volume control.

Audeo B-13

The largest of the Audeo B RIC range, it runs on a size 13 battery and can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. The 13 comes fully loaded with both a telecoil, programme button and a volume control as well as being a wireless device.

Audeo B-R

The RIC device that all the hype has been about, a rechargeable hearing device running on Lithium-ion power. A solid 24 hours of use from one three hour charge. It can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses down to profound. It is also a wireless device with a programme button but no volume control or telecoil.

 


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Had no idea what I was missing w/o hearing “Go in for hearing....come out with hearing. go in for an adjustment....come out with an adjustment.....what more do you want?

Mark