Audiosync’s iSync hearing aids: a review
I’ve been wearing a pair of iSyncs for about 4 months now and I thought it was time I reviewed them. The iSyncs are the world’s first IIC (Invisible In the Canal) hearing aids.
In the interests of fairness I should let you know that I got the iSyncs for free from Ascent Hearing – this came about when I was visiting their Banbury branch in the summer to have a chat with Michael Nolan. Turned out on the day that they were looking for someone to trial the iSyncs and I was in the right place at the right time. So I started the day thinking I was going for a cup of tea with Michael and ended the day as Europe’s first IIC wearer! Ascent have done a write-up of the fitting here and, believe me, if I had had any idea my picture was going to be taken and put on the Internet I would have had a shave and a haircut before hand.
The term Invisible In the Canal (IIC) is not an idle boast. These hearing aids really are invisible, even if you look right down someone’s canal the only thing you can see is the plastic wire that is needed to pull them out. The iSyncs are fitted so that they sit in the second bend of the canal, in other words: very, very deep. I’ve been wearing hearing aids for the best part of 30 years, have had numerous fittings and mould takings and I was totally shocked about how deep the impressions for the moulds were going. So be prepared for this, it’s a little uncomfortable as you are not used to have anything that far down in the ear – it’s much further than CICs.
Putting them in
The same as with any new hearing aid really, it takes a bit of getting used to. I found that in the first few days of getting them I was not pushing them far enough into my ear – it takes a bit of courage to push them that little bit more so that they sit where they are supposed to. They are so deep that you think you’ve pushed them as far as you can but you haven’t.
When I was at Ascent they watched me putting them in and made sure I had pushed them far enough – if they hadn’t done that then I don’t think I would have ever pushed them deep enough.
If your iSyncs are producing feedback or feel uncomfortable then you probably haven’t pushed them far enough in.
Sound quality, localization and ability to hear
I can only compare the iSyncs with the hearing aids that I have previously worn and they are definitely the best so far. They are very similar in terms of quality to the Starkey S Series that I wore (in fact, I think they have the same internals) but they win out over those in a few ways:
- Wind noise is greatly reduced because the aid’s microphone is further down the canal and not so exposed. This means I can hear a lot more on windy days and that’s a a big win for me.
- Localisation is better. I noticed this really quickly after I started wearing them and I’ve been told it is because they sit deep in the ear it allows the ear’s shape to funnel the sound into the aid in a more natural way – whereas before my hearing aid was blocking up the whole canal and sounds hit the aid instead of traveling down my canal first.
Voices are crisp and less muffled than they are with my old pair of Destinys. I have the noise reduction capability turned down to a minimum because that’s the way I like it and I do not ever hear the reduction kicking in, which I have down in the past when trialling out other aids. Music sounds good and I’m able to wear headphones without any feedback.
I’ve been wearing aids for many years and I’m used to people noticing them in my ears and it doesn’t bother me that they do. Having said that, it’s kind of liberating to be wearing hearing aids that can’t be seen by anyone else – it gives me a bit extra confidence and I don’t feel like the guy with the hearing aids any more. It sort of evens the playing field a bit.
I’ve had quite a few emails from people asking me if I recommend the iSyncs. Well, all I can tell you is that they are the best hearing aids I’ve worn in terms of sound quality and ability to hear and that they are invisible to other people, which is really nice. I can’t tell you if they are better than hearing aid X because I haven’t worn hearing aid X. The iSyncs are groundbreaking in terms of their size and how deep they sit in the ear and are giving me a great hearing experience so far.