While 2020 is still young, it is proving to be a bumper year for Bluetooth In The Ear hearing aids. The race for the crown of best Bluetooth In The Ear hearing aid is already shaping up fast and I would imagine that some within the profession have already chosen their winners. To be honest, while there are obviously some strong contenders, the race is still open because we haven't actually seen them all in the wild as such. I have decided to make this list, the devices have to be both Made For iPhone and Made For Android at least. For me, that is a fully functional Bluetooth In The Ear hearing aid. Let's talk about the hot favourites right now and why for the moment, the Resound Quattro is the best Bluetooth In The Ear Hearing Aid right this minute.
The Starkey Edge AI
So Starkey has just announced the introduction of their new Edge AI platform. As part of that platform, they are introducing not just a Made For Android and Made For iPhone In The Ear (ITE) hearing aid, it will also be a lithium-ion powered rechargeable ITE. It feels a bit like a Unicorn just rocked up.
So we don't know a whole lot about the device and things should become much clearer around the launch date which should be in late February in the US and the Spring in the UK. It appears the device will be available in what looks like a half shell and a full shell configuration. It may also be available in an in the canal configuration, but I think that will depend on the ear canal and ear size. I would imagine for most, they will be half shell type devices at the very least.
I believe it will be available in all of the usual Starkey levels of technology but that remains to be seen. I would also imagine it will be available in more traditional colours than just Black. The whole feature set combined with the connectivity and the rechargeable battery makes this device a serious contender for Best Bluetooth In The Ear hearing aid for 2020.
Although I wouldn't crown it just yet, we need to see it in the wild and get a better idea of the function and reliability with users before we call the race done.
The Virto Black
The Phonak Virto Black was announced at CES 2020 and it certainly set off a lot of excitement. It is powered by their latest Marvel platform which means it is a Made For Any Phone hearing aid. That means almost complete connectivity to anything with a Bluetooth audio streaming capability, We are talking iPhones, Android phones, dumb phones, laptops, computers even TVs.
Even better, when you have it connected to your phone or your laptop on Skype, you get to talk completely hands-free. Yup, hands-free, I still find that seriously cool. What's more than that, when your phone is ringing, you can answer it with a simple touch of the button on the hearing aids.
The launch date for the device is February 19 in the US and probably soon after in the UK. It appears the device will be available in an in the canal or half-shell configuration. Again, as with the Starkey Edge, I think that will really depend on the ear canal and ear size, I would imagine for most, they will be half shell type devices at the very least.
We have it on good authority that it will be available in all of the usual Phoank levels of technology. It will also be available in more traditional colours than just Black. The complete connectivity and the hands-free features really do make this device a serious contender for Best Bluetooth In The Ear hearing aid for 2020.
Again, as with the Starkey Edge device, before we crown the device, we need to see it in the wild and get feedback from users about the reliability and function of the aids.
Resound LiNX Quattro
Resound introduced the custom ITE hearing aids last year and they have proven to be both popular and reliable so far. They are Made For Android and Made For iPhone In The Ear (ITE) hearing aids. The Quattro range includes the first Completely-in-Canal (CIC) 2.4 GHz wireless hearing aid for direct streaming, an In-the-Canal (ITC) and In-the-Ear (ITE) models, and ReSound's proprietary Mic-in-Helix (MIH) hearing aid.
While Resound claims CIC, that depends on the size of the ear and ear canal. Talking to people in the field, they say that mostly they are In The Canal hearing aids with a few people being lucky enough to ensure they are true CIC. In fairness, that is probably a lot smaller than the other contenders which really appear to be half shells unless you are lucky.
Resound say the devices are available in five skin-tone colours to ensure that they are personal and discreet for every user. The devices are available in the usual three levels of Resound technology. As I said, the Resound Quattro customs have been in the wild for a few months now. The feedback from users is pretty good. The connectivity is both pretty stable and pretty reliable.
Yes, there have been some of the usual Bluetooth issues, but it seems that there hasn't been any more than we would expect. The sound quality of streaming audio is pretty good and phone calls are clear and crisp. The connection to both the iPhone and the few Android phones that work with the system has been reported to be pretty good overall.
For this reason, the Resound Quattro is way out in front in the race at this stage. That, of course, may change as the year progresses. I would imagine as this year progresses the line-up will also expand and maybe even change. As always, I will continue to update this article as things become clearer.
Like us on Facebook by clicking the button below to keep up with our latest utterances. Alternatively, if you don't like Facebook, sign up to the newsletter below. It is important to remember, a hearing aid isn't properly fitted unless they do Real Ear Measurement.