BlueTooth Hearing Aids, Made For iPhone Hearing Aids

Bluetooth hearing aids have caught the imagination of the buying public in the last few years. However, often people aren't sure what Bluetooth hearing aids are, whether all hearing aids are Made For iPhone and what does Made For Android actually mean? Let's talk about Bluetooth hearing aids.

Below you can find a detailed overview of all of the Made For iPhone hearing aids from some of the big six hearing aid brands. First of all, we need to clear up some misconceptions. Generally, when people are talking about Bluetooth hearing aids they are in fact talking about Made For iPhone hearing aid technology (MFI). Made For iPhone hearing aids were first introduced by GN Resound with their LiNX platform a couple of years ago.

They were quickly followed by Starkey, with their Halo Made For iPhone hearing aids. However, while many hearing aids are billed as Made For Android, they are, but not in the same way they are Made For iPhone. Finally, and just to confuse you more, Phonak have just delivered a real Bluetooth hearing aid, that is Made For iPhone, Made For Android and Made For Any Phone. 

So, What is Bluetooth Technology?

Bluetooth was invented in 1994, the technology allows two or more devices to transfer data wirelessly between one another in the form of radio waves. Bluetooth was designed to cater for a cross-platform exchange in communication between electronic devices. In essence, it was first designed to transfer data, it was in fact designed to transfer files from one computing device to another. It then developed over many years and is most commonly used to transfer audio. It can be found in many electronic devices such as mobile phones and computers. Bluetooth technology is, in fact, a wireless system of communication, a radio, which allows wireless communication between electronic devices.

Many hearing aid manufacturers saw the benefit of Bluetooth technology, however, there were drawbacks. Initially, the audio transferred wasn't very good. It was also exceptionally power hungry. Most manufacturers went down the route of designing their own wireless transmission system. They designed streamers using in-house designed radios that allowed them to avoid the problems with Bluetooth connection. However, both Resound and Starkey stuck with Bluetooth and delivered the first Made For iPhone hearing aids. 

Bluetooth Compatible Hearing Aids

Just because hearing aids have an iPhone app, it doesn't mean they are iPhone compatible, confused much? In the hearing aid profession, we suffer from cognitive bias. We forget that you, don't know, what we know. I was surprised recently by a guy who contacted us, in essence, he didn't realise that the Widex Unique was not a Made For iPhone hearing aid, he saw the app and assumed it was.

It isn't, it is a Bluetooth compatible hearing aid via a connective device, in the case of the Unique from Widex, the Com DEX. Many wireless hearing aids are Bluetooth compatible. Oticon's hearing aids before the Opn were Bluetooth compatible, as are Signia's and Unitron's, Phonak's and everyone else's.

They will all connect to your iPhone through a streamer. They all have iPhone apps that connect to and control the hearing aids via a streamer. So, you need to be clear about what you are buying. In fact, this type of set-up may well be the best set-up. The connection is always stable and the audio quality is excellent. So think carefully about what you want. 

Bluetooth hearing aid streamers

All of the hearing aid brands have Bluetooth compatible hearing aid streamers. As I said before, streamers are the unique devices built by each hearing aid manufacturer to ensure stable, low energy, wireless streaming of audio to their hearing aids. Usually with outstanding audio quality. Why would you not want them?

Made For iPhone Hearing Aids

Originally, both Made For iPhone hearing aids were Receiver In Canal hearing aid types. GN Resound updated their LiNX with the LiNX 2 platform which was a full range of hearing aids including In The Ear and Behind The Ear hearing aids. While the platform had ultra small CICs, they weren't, in fact, compatible with iPhone connection, so you could say it was a bit of a con. Starkey upgraded their platform as well, launching the Halo 2. They kept to RIC devices only this time around. 

MFI Hearing Aids Very Popular

The thing was that MFI hearing aids caught the imagination of the wider tech community and users. They are popular hearing solutions, in fact, they seem to have seeped into the wider consciousness. Inevitably, the other hearing aid manufacturers began to take notice. Oticon, Signia and Widex have all launched their own Made For iPhone hearing aids. Phonak have at the time of writing this just announced that they are going to introduce their own Made For iPhone hearing aids in the near future. 

What Makes a Made For iPhone?

There is a real difference between MFI hearing aids and Made For Android, MFI hearing aids are designed to work very closely with Apple's operating system. They will connect directly to Apple Phones and iPads without the need for any intermediary device. In other words, audio from the phone or the tablet can be directly streamed to the hearing aids, that means phone calls, music, audiobooks and podcasts in stereo and to both ears. 

iPad hearing aid compatibility

Basically, any hearing aid that is billed as Made For iPhone, will be iPad compatible. But you need to ensure it is truly Made For iPhone like the LiNX 3D, the Halo 2, The Signia Pure BT etc. 

Why are Made For Android Hearing Aids Different?

Made for android hearing aids are not integrated into the Android system, the developers of Android have not invested time into hearing aid integration. Unfortunately, until they do, it will be impossible to stream audio from an Android phone to a hearing aid without an intermediary streamer. That is the real difference between MFI and Made For Android, while the features are always similar, as are the apps for both operating systems. Connection to Apple is direct, connection to Android always needs an intermediary streamer. 

Phonak Made For Any Phone Hearing Aids

Phonak (one of the biggest hearing aid brands) has spoken about introducing MFI hearing aids for a while. They felt some pressure from shareholders to do so and spoke about moving forward with the devices last year. The rumour mill worked really hard on this one, and it said that the devices might not be just Phonak's first ever MFI technology, it was expected to be the first ever Made For Android hearing aids? . That indeed proved to be the case, but it isn't quite that simple, it is, in fact, the world's first ever Bluetooth hearing aid. Don't worry, I will explain in a little while. 

Are Made For iPhone / Bluetooth Hearing Aids any Good?

Yes, no, maybe. Sorry, I am actually writing an article on just that and I will post the answer when I have done. I will say, that some Made For iPhone hearing aids have some problems with connectivity. In fact, they drop their connection quite a lot, therefore irritating users and causing some real problems for hearing aid manufacturers. The real problem is that Bluetooth is inherently unstable, or at least it was. It has got better, but it can still be problematic. The other factor is that the connection to the hearing aids is managed by the Apple system, which can be a bit rubbish. 

It appears that the iPhone 7, in particular, is causing huge problems for any Bluetooth hardware manufacturer including hearing aid brands. Many of the latest Made For iPhone hearing aids are having real problems with connection to the iPhone 7. While this problem seems to be Phone hardware related, it may also be software related. We have heard of people with iPhone 6 devices who are having problems with some of the hearing aids. This may be to do with the IOS version that is being run on them. Hopefully, a soon to come IOS update will reduce the problems for everybody. 

Use A Damn Streamer!

My own bias is towards hearing aids that can connect via a streamer device. I know the streamer is a pain in the ass, but, it will supply an outstanding and stable connection. You really have to hear your favourite music via a Com Dex and a set of Widex Uniques to believe the quality. Although the LiNX 3D is apparently no slouch delivering the very same through a Phone Clip. I tested a set of Halo 2 devices recently with an iPad and some favourite music and to be honest, I was pretty impressed. More on that later in the blog. 

In finishing, Made For iPhone is pretty damn cool, however, there are some issues with dropped connections. Resound and Starkey don't seem to have as many problems with that. With some manufacturers, it seems to be more of an issue. Wireless hearing aids are just as cool and the connection tends to be more stable. That there is the facts, choose your own weapon of choice, let's take a look at what is available: 

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Unitron

Moxi All Hearing Aids

Moxi All

Rechargeable Made For Any Phone

Moxi AllLike their stablemate Phonak, Unitron has chosen to offer a hearing aid that will connect to any mobile phone with Bluetooth using a headset protocol. However, in a very smart move, they have decided to make the device's rechargeable. If you are considering the purchase of any direct connection hearing aid from any of the hearing aid brands, well then thinking about a rechargeable option makes sense.

Made For iPhone or Made For Any Phone systems are quite power hungry devices. Going for a rechargeable option makes financial sense here. The rechargeable system that Unitron is using seems to be the Z Power system that Unitron went with for the rest of their devices.

Five Different Price Points

The Moxi All will be available in five different levels of technology, so that means five price points. In other words, there should be one for everyone. 

No Streamer, Headset Functionality

The Made For Any Phone concept delivers pretty revolutionary hearing aids that changes Bluetooth wireless connection to a mobile phone forever. The Moxi All connects to any Bluetooth® enabled mobile phone, directly without a streamer. It offers true hands-free calling. 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.

One Ear Only

I believe that the Moxi All will only offer mobile phone streaming to one ear only. However, we will know more as the launch date approaches. 

No Music Streaming

While these hearing aids will stream phone calls from iPhones and Android phones, they are not typical Made For iPhone hearing aids. They do not have quite the same features and abilities, for instance, they will not stream music or audiobooks from your phone.

Unitron TV ConnectorTV Connector

They will, however, stream audio from any sound source that you connect to their new TV Connector. The device will stream high-quality audio to both of your Moxi All hearing aids. I have spoken to a few people who have experienced the audio streaming via a TV Connector and they have all been exceptionally happy with the experience. 

Like the Audeo B-Direct from Phonak, you need to think a little carefully about the Moxi All before you buy them. However, because of the way many Unitron features work, there is no loss of benefits or features because of the new Bluetooth chip, unlike the Audeo B-Direct.

Read More About Unitron Hearing Aids

Made For iPhone Hearing Aids For Severe To Profound Hearing Loss From Resound

Resound Enzo 3DResound Enzo 3D Hearing Aids

Resound have just launched their latest hearing device for people with severe to profound hearing loss. They have updated Enzo Made For iPhone (MFI) hearing aids with their new 3D platform which brings all of the benefits of that new system to this market. Those benefits include better spatial awareness and much better speech understanding in noise. With Made for iPhone® technology, you can stream phone calls, music and more from your iPhone, iPad® or iPod touch® directly to your hearing aids. If you have an Android or any Bluetooth-enabled phone, you can still stream calls, music and more with a discreet ReSound Phone Clip+ wireless accessory. 

Connect directly to Apple products with the Enzo 3D

Vibrant and crystal clear sound

Like the LiNX 3D range from ReSound, Enzo 3D hearing aids come with the superior sound quality of Surround Sound by ReSound. They work together, continuously exchanging data about your sound environment for optimized performance. The hearing aids are available in three levels of technology, the top of the range 9, the 7 and the 5. 

Enzo 3D Prices

We would expect the range to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA. Just to be clear, we don't set prices here and they differ from Practice to Practice across the World so our expectations aren't binding, they are just a guess and some research. Always remember, we all like to shop around, but always be clear about what is being delivered. You will need care and support, make sure you will get it. You will also need your hearing aid validated or verified to get the best experience, paying a little more to ensure your experience is good, is not wasted money. That's our price rant for the day over, let's talk about the devices. 

Two Models, Huge Power

The Enzo 3D BTE 88 and the BTE 98 side by side

There are two hearing aid models in the range both of which are Behind The Ear hearing aids and both of which are extremely powerful. The BTE 88 is the smaller of the two and takes a size 13 battery. The BTE 98 is larger but takes the 675 battery that many people with this hearing loss are used to.

The 98 is also more powerful than the 88, although not by much. However, Resound say that the 98 will get twelve days of use on the 675 battery, that's fantastic battery life for a smart hearing aid.

Resound

Enzo 3D ET-88

Resound Enzo 3D 88 ReSound ENZO 3D ET-88 is the smaller of the two hearing aids but it is a complete super power hearing solution. It provides high levels of amplification without feedback. It offers exceptional clarity and sound quality, and balances improved hearing in noise with preserved access to environmental sounds.

The Smart Range C platform in ReSound ENZO 3D supports their 5th generation of 2.4 GHz wireless technology. This allows ear-to-ear communication along with direct connection to the ReSound Smart 3D™ app and lets the hearing aids connect wirelessly to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and select Android phone models via Bluetooth 4.0.

It also includes the industry-first ReSound Assist, which offers you fine tuning and hearing aid update opportunities remotely via secure cloud technology. ReSound ENZO 3D HP BTE hearing aids are iSolateTM nanotech coated for optimum durability and meet the IP58 classification for ingress protection.

Enzo 3D ET-88 Prices

We would expect the ET-88 to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.

Resound

Enzo 3D ET-98

Resound Enzo 3D 98ReSound ENZO 3D ET-98 is the larger of the two hearing aids but it does offer a more traditional 675 battery super power hearing solution. It provides high levels of amplification without feedback. It offers exceptional clarity and sound quality, and balances improved hearing in noise with preserved access to environmental sounds.

The Smart Range C platform in ReSound ENZO 3D supports their 5th generation of 2.4 GHz wireless technology. This allows ear-to-ear communication along with direct connection to the ReSound Smart 3D™ app, and lets the hearing aids connect wirelessly to iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and select Android phone models via Bluetooth 4.0.

It also includes the industry-first ReSound Assist, which offers you fine tuning and hearing aid update opportunities remotely via secure cloud technology. ReSound ENZO 3D HP BTE hearing aids are iSolateTM nanotech coated for optimum durability and meet the IP58 classification for ingress protection.

Enzo 3D ET-98 Prices

We would expect the ET-98 to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA. $

Resound Assist

Resound Assist iconResound Assist is the really big news for both Providers and Users. Resound Assist will allow your provider to adjust your hearing aids remotely. That means if you want adjustments on the go, they can be provided without you having to attend the clinic. The system is really easy to use and is quite intuitive. This might not be for everyone, but this feature will be a godsend for the people who love it. It will allow them complete freedom over their experience, over their customer experience. 

Find out more about the Resound Assist Service here

The App, Resound Smart 3D

Speech enhancer iconThe accompanying app also allows you personalise your hearing experience in a deeper way. It has been re-designed to be more intuitive and easier to use and it offers real control. When more clarity is needed, patients can increase speech focus, reduce noise and even reduce wind noise. Again, this might not be for everyone, but for those who want it, it will enrich their experience. This has to be seen as an excellent thing.

Read More About Resound Hearing Aids

Phonak

Audeo B-Direct

Audeo B-Direct hearing aid

Phonak Delivers Made For Any Phone

Phonak have just introduced a device called the Audeo B-Direct. This is a revolutionary hearing aid that changes Bluetooth wireless connection to a mobile phone forever. The Audeo B-Direct connects to any Bluetooth® enabled mobile phone, directly without a streamer. Even better, it offers true hands-free calling. 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. 

Not Quite Made For!

While these hearing aids will stream phone calls from iPhones and Android phones, they don't fall within the same feature concept as the Made For iPhone hearing aids discussed here. They do not have the same features and abilities, let's take a look at what I mean, but first, the big question, price?

Audeo B-Direct Hearing Aid Prices

We would expect the range depending on the technology level, to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1200.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1200.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.

True hands-free calling is now a reality

The hearing aids offer real hands-free voice calling. 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 a wireless headset.

No Music Streaming

Unfortunately for people who like to stream music or audio books from their phone, this hearing device isn't the answer. While it delivers astonishing new power over 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.

Hearing aids that double as wireless TV headphones

They have also 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 for an immersive audio experience. 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

Feature Comparison LiNX 3d Audeo B-Direct
Direct Wireless Connectivity To iPhone Yes

Yes

Direct Wireless Connectivity To Android No

Yes

Stream Phone Conversation Yes

Yes

Answer Phone With Hearing Aid No

Yes

Handsfree Calling No

Yes

Phone Conversation in Both Ears Yes

No

Streaming of Audio From Phone Yes

No

Use iPhone as Remote Microphone Yes

No

Find Lost Hearing Aid Feature Yes

No

Remote Fine Tuning of Hearing Aids Yes

No

Tinnitus Therapy Feature Yes

No

Audeo B-Direct

The device is a receiver in 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. That isn’t bad, I would say though real-world experience will 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 no entry level device this time around. Although that was to be expected based on the introduction of the rechargeable devices.

Read More ABout Phonak Hearing Aids Here

 

Resound

LiNX 3D Hearing Aids

The Latest Made For iPhone Hearing Aid Platform

The Resound Linx 3D hearing aids are the very latest Made For iPhone hearing aid technology from GN Resound. They offer the pinnacle of Resound technology and will deliver outstanding results even in very complex sound situations. The LiNX 3D will also offer a whole new way to experience hearing care. The original ReSound LiNX allowed users to adjust their own settings as they went, but with the new LiNX 3D, they can request assistance wherever they are directly from their mobile app, and their hearing professional can make all the adjustments necessary. It is the very first large-scale introduction of Telecare in the Audiology sphere. Let's take a high-level view of the Resound LiNX 3D range

The ReSound LiNX 3D includes GN Hearing's 5th generation 2.4 GHz wireless technology and 3rd generation binaural directionality. They say it will provide users with "clear, natural sound, exceptional speech understanding and the best sense of where sounds are coming from." There are eleven different hearing aid models in three levels of technology.

Linx 3D Prices

We would expect the range to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA. Just to be clear, we don't set prices here and they differ from Practice to Practice across the World so our expectations aren't binding, they are just a guess and some research. Always remember, we all like to shop around, but always be clear about what is being delivered. You will need care and support, make sure you will get it. You will also need your hearing aid validated or verified to get the best experience, paying a little more to ensure your experience is good, is not wasted money. That's our price rant for the day over, let's talk about the devices. 

Resound Linx3D

  • It is up to 50% better at identifying speech across various environments
  • It enables users to hear up to 80% more of the sounds around them, and
  • It enables users to understand up to 40% more speech in noise

When connected to the brand new apps that have been designed for iPhone and Apple Watch, users will be able to access custom control features for the hearing aid. There is also built-in guidance steps to understand both the hearing aids and the software, there is also coaching assistance to get the most out of the hearing aids. When compared to competitors, the company said that the ReSound LiNX 3D and companion app are up to 50 percent better at identifying speech across various environments, enable users to hear up to 80 percent more of the sounds around them, and enable users to understand up to 40 percent more speech in noise.

Linx 3D Features

The overall feature set of the LiNX 3D technology levels is as follows, each hearing aid may not have the full range of features here as the features are both model specific and technology level specific.

  • 17 channels
  • Environment Optimiser
  • Binaural Directionality II
  • Spatial Sense
  • Directional Mix Processor
  • Adjustable Directional Mix
  • Natural Directionality II
  • Synchronised Soft Switching
  • Autoscope Adaptive Directionality
  • Binaural Environmental Optimizer II
  • Noise Tracker II
  • Low-Frequency Boost
  • Amplification Strategies (WDRC, Semi-linear, Linear)
  • Expansion
  • Sound Shaper
  • DFS Ultra III with Music Mode
  • Auto DFS
  • Acceptance Manager
  • Tinnitus Sound Generator
  • Ear To Ear Communication
  • Direct Audio Streaming (Made For iPhone)
  • Compatible with all Resound Wireless Accessories like the Micro Mic, Multi Mic etc.
  • Resound Control App (if you have a Phone Clip+)
  • Resound Smart 3D App
  • Compatible with Resound Remote Assist
  • Will take remote hearing aid updates

Read More About Resound Hearing Aids

Signia Made For iPhone Hearing Aids

Signia is another hearing aid brand who has introduced a Made For iPhone hearing aid to their line-up. They started out with the Pure Primax 13 BT which was a very interesting device and it represented some real firsts for the hearing aid industry. It is based on the Pure RIC hearing aid types. It was the first ever Made For iPhone hearing aid that uses the sensors on the iPhone.  Signia now also offer a more in-depth telecare system which allows live finetuning of hearing aids and video calling to your professional. Signia has expanded their Made For iPhone options across their newly released Nx platform. Let's take a look at them  

Three Models, Three Levels of Tech, One New Platform

As I said, they have just released their new Nx platform which has three models initially available across three levels of technology. As is the norm with their tech levels naming system, the levels are the premium 7, the mid-range 5 and the entry level 3. The models themselves are two Receiver In Canal devices and a BTE.

Signia NX models

Pure 13 NX

This device is an updated version of their Pure 13 BT, it offers the new system which separately processes the wearer’s own voice. It comes with superior connectivity with direct streaming and the myControl App. The hearing aid has a rocker switch which allows programme changes and volume changes. It is IP68 rated and can be fitted with the four levels of receiver power making it suitable for most hearing losses.Signia say that users will enjoy the longest wearing time in its class while streaming. It also has access to the full live remote support via TeleCare 3.0.

Pure 13 Nx

Pure 312 Nx

This device is a very svelte Pure (RIC) device using a 312 battery, again it offers the new system which separately processes the wearer’s own voice. The hearing aid has a rocker switch which allows programme changes and volume changes. It is IP68 rated. It can also be fitted with the four levels of receiver making it suitable for most hearing losses. It comes with superior connectivity with direct streaming and the myControl App. It also has access to the full live remote support via TeleCare 3.0.

Pure 312 Nx

Motion 13 Nx

This device is a BTE device using a 13 battery, again it offers the new system which separately processes the wearer’s own voice. It also comes with superior connectivity with direct streaming and the myControl App. It also has access to the full live remote support via TeleCare 3.0. The device also offers the rocker switch for programme and volume control changes. This is a pretty versatile device which offers a telecoil option with the simple switching of the battery door. The device is IP67 rated for dust and moisture. 

Motion 13 Nx

The New Stuff

OVP, Own Voice Processing

Signia have made a very big deal of the OVP or Own Voice Processing, in essence, this is the first ever device to process the user's own voice differently from everything else. In fact, they have dedicated a completely separate processor on the platform to facilitate that. They say that the strategy will increase the acceptance of a user's own voice dramatically. For new users of hearing aids the sound quality of their own voice can be off-putting, but it is usually something that they get used to. However, as Signia point out, used to does not mean happy with. This system promises to deal with the issue.

Direct Connection

They have expanded their Bluetooth system across this range, offering direct connection with the RICs and the BTE. Their original offering, the Pure 13 BT was well received, the system was innovative in that it used the sensors on the iPhone to assess the forward movement of a user. This allowed the hearing aids to change how they were processing sound. This system and feature set has now been expanded across the new range.

Telecare 3.0

This is a really interesting development, Signia has made the Telecare service a live service. They were initially the first to offer Telecare with a limited fine-tuning option although Resound quickly followed with the launch of the LiNX 3D and their Remote Assist which had more functionality. Signia though quickly expanded that fine-tuning option and added video calling to the system. Now they have enabled full live remote tuning with video support which is a pretty huge breakthrough.

The new service means that you can set-up a video call with your hearing professional and explain the issue you are having in the situation you are having it in. While you are connected, your hearing professional can tweak your hearing aid’s settings live and you can quickly assess if they are better.

So for the first time ever, it’s possible to have for a provider to fine-tune your hearing aids while you are in the listening environments that matter to you. It will be interesting to see how many providers offer and use the service. It will also be interesting to see how it is offered. 

Signia

Pure 13 BT Primax Hearing Aids

The Signia Pure® 13 BT px is their first ever Made For iPhone hearing aid technology. They say that it delivers uncompromising sound, industry-leading connectivity, and revolutionary remote hearing care, along with great battery life. Wearers will be fully connected to their environment, each other, their iPhone® and to their hearing care professional. The devices will be introduced worldwide in May 2017, they are based on the Primax platform and will be available in the usual three levels of technology. 

The devices represent a few firsts for the industry, they will be the world’s first telehealth-supported hearing aid with iPhone audio streaming capabilities, the first hearing aid to use iPhone motion sensors to improve hearing in certain situations and the first hearing aid to provide both “high-definition binaural hearing” and Bluetooth® audio streaming (from a connected device). The devices will be powered by a size 13 battery which is good news for users, the 13 battery combined with the low energy use should mean fewer battery changes. 

Pure 13 BT Primax Prices

We would expect the range to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA. Let's talk about the devices. 

Signia Pure 13 BT

As with all Made For iPhone hearing aids the Signia Pure® 13 BT will stream audio directly from iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices. It will use the Bluetooth® low energy (LE) standard. This will enable high fidelity stereo streaming with reduced energy consumption. Signia have also retained their own wireless radio on the devices, which means that when you are streaming audio, you don't lose the benefit of the ear 2 ear communication. This is important for the user, Signia’s ear-to-ear (e2e™) wireless system is used to provide better spatial awareness and speech understanding.

Motion Detection

People frequently move while they are speaking, and Signia think that their hearing aids should react dynamically and adjust to their changing listening situation. The Pure® 13 BT is the first hearing aid to utilize the iPhone motion sensors to deliver input that allows adjustments in sound processing based on your activities. Signia say that the devices understand when a user is in motion and for the first time ever this data will allow them to deliver optimal hearing in that situation.

Pure 13 BT Connectivity

Essentially when a wearer is walking, running or driving, the hearing aids understand they are in motion, and will automatically adjust to better hear a conversation partner at their side or from the back while maintaining awareness of environmental sounds like sirens, approaching vehicles, or pedestrians. Signia claims that motion detection will make their environmental classification system even more robust, by adding a valuable data point. I can not fault them here, it is an outstanding idea and a sign of real innovation. 

Signia AppCompanion App

The new myControl™ App is made specifically for Pure 13 BT hearing aids. It offers a range of advantages beyond direct streaming of audio. It acts as a remote control for quick and easy changes to settings like volume and programs, and delivers advanced adjustment options to the user for personalization of sound. 

The new app will allow you to make personalized adjustments to programs, volume, microphone directionality, and treble/bass, during audio streaming. Pure 13 BT hearing aids will help users look after their hearing health. Similar to a fitness tracker, they create a personal sound profile over time based on noise exposure, so you can protect your hearing health.

The app tracks your daily noise exposure and displays the information in an easily readable way. This is an interesting little datum point, it will allow you to understand what levels of noise you are exposing yourself to on a daily basis allowing you to understand the possibilities of damaging your hearing through noise exposure. 

Telecare 2.0

The Pure® 13 BT is the first Signia hearing aid to utilize TeleCare 2.0. This upgrade introduces additional capabilities such as advanced data logging, secure end-to-end encrypted data transfer, and improved remote hearing aid adjustments. The professional can now adjust your hearing aids remotely across four frequency bands (previously only gain and tone control were available to providers). The user will interact with your provider via the Signia myHearing App, which is available for both iPhone and Android smartphones. 

Signia tele-care

You can read more about Signias outstanding Telecare innovation here

Widex

Beyond Hearing Aids

Widex Beyond Hearing Aid

The Beyond is the very latest addition to the Widex Line-up, it is their first ever Made For iPhone hearing aid. It is a slightly changed Fusion device based on the Unique technology, and it has three different radios onboard, the one for Widex Link, a telecoil and the new radio for direct iPhone connection making it possible to stream music and conduct phone calls directly to the hearing aid without any intermediary device. Widex Products are famous for their sound quality, according to all of the reports, even from rival manufacturers, the sound quality here is outstanding. The device is slightly longer than the original Fusion but it is thinner, it also has a new button. We have recently written an article outlining some problems that Widex are having with the Beyond, it can be read at Beyond Fusion, Not So Made For iPhone

Beyond Hearing Aid Prices

We would expect the Beyond range to be sold at prices from £800.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1000.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1000.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.

User Fine Tuning?

Widex have also introduced a smartphone app with the Beyond which is currently available on ios and will soon be available on Android. The Beyond app seems to have the usual features that are available with Made For iPhone devices generally, you can set geo locations for different sound programmes and make changes to how the hearing aids are working on the go. However, there also seems to be an element of self fine-tuning on the app, whereby users can actually change the frequency response of the hearing aids. They are calling this feature the Preference Control and it seems to break down frequencies into three bands, Bass, Middle and Treble. It is interesting to see manufacturers begin to hand over this type of control to users. It means that you can have some control over how the hearing aid actually works as you change the sound settings.  

Beyond App personalisation

While Widex has now introduced a 2.4ghz BlueTooth radio to the Beyond for the connection to the smartphone, it has retained both the WidexLink and a telecoil on the hearing devices. 

Beyond from Widex

Widex Link

Retaining the Widex Link makes sense for several reasons. The first being, that it is still, without doubt, the single best system available for streaming high-quality audio. The second is that it will mean that any Widex users who upgrade their devices to the Beyond will still be able to use their Dex accessories. Retaining a T-Coil also makes some sense, the T-Coil system is making a huge resurgence in the United States and many in the UK and Ireland are used to using the T-Coil in public places. 

As we discovered retaining the WidexLink radio also ensured that all of the inter-ear features that Widex has become famous for also continue to work even if you are streaming audio to the hearing aids. The inter ear features, in particular, the inter-ear compression ensure that Widex hearing aids work as well as they do and sound so natural. 

The Beyond at present appears to be only a Fusion type hearing aid and it has been introduced as part of the Widex Unique family, however, it will be interesting to see how and if Widex expands the range beyond just the initial offering. The Beyond is available in a 440, 330, 220 and 110 version in line with their usual technology level offers. You can read more about the Widex Beyond story here.  

Read About The Widex Beyond 440 Here

Read About The Widex Beyond 330 Here

Read About The Widex Beyond 220 Here

Starkey

Halo 2 Hearing Aids

Halo 2The Halo 2™ is Starkey's latest wireless hearing solution with their all new Synergy® platform. Synergy is the only platform to feature quad core twin compressor technology and the first to provide supreme precision for audibility and the ultimate optimisation for listening enjoyment. Synergy, in combination with Acuity OS, their new high-definition operating system, enables speech and sounds like music to be processed uniquely for the first time ever.

Delivering advancing speech audibility and listening enjoyment of music in all environments. So, I have never been mad about Starkey, don't really like them as a company. However, I have been wearing a set of Starkey Halo 2 recently and I have to say I am impressed. More on that later. 

Synergy also incorporates 900sync Technology, our patient preferred wireless technology, delivering a pristine audio experience that is made to aid unilateral loss with our new Halo 2 CROS System as well as improve phone understanding with our new ear-to-ear phone streaming.

Technology Levels

The Halo 2 is available in three levels of technology

You Can Read About The Premium i2400 Here

You Can Read About The Advanced i2000 Here

The Standard i1600 

We would expect the range to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1400.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.

Let's Talk Styles

The Halo 2 range comes in two styles

Halo 2 RIC 13Starkey Halo 2 RIC 13

Wireless RIC (receiver-in-canal) device, small, ultra discreet but powerful hearing solution. With push button and multiflex tinnitus therapy (size 13 battery). A relatively discreet option that offers good battery life from the size 13 battery. Here's the full Android compatibility list: Compatible with Google Nexus™ 6P, Google Nexus™ 5X, Samsung Galaxy S® 7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S® 7, Samsung Galaxy S® 6 Edge Plus, Samsung Galaxy S® 6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S® 6, Samsung Galaxy S® 5, Samsung Galaxy S® 4, Samsung Galaxy Note® 5, Samsung Galaxy Note® 4, Samsung Galaxy Note® 3, HTC One® M8 and HTC One® M7. And for Apple users, here's the Apple compatibility list: iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini 3, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation) and Apple Watch. Use of Apple Watch requires iPhone 5 or later.

Halo 2 RIC 312Starkey Halo 2 RIC 312

The new Halo 2 RIC 312 allows people to benefit from a small, nearly invisible Made for iPhone hearing aid. The Halo 2 family also benefits from all of the new and improved features of Acuity OS 2. Small, ultra discreet but powerful hearing solution. With push button and multiflex tinnitus therapy (size 312 battery). The smaller battery will mean sacrificing discretion for battery life. Here's the full Android compatibility list: Compatible with Google Nexus™ 6P, Google Nexus™ 5X, Samsung Galaxy S® 7 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S® 7, Samsung Galaxy S® 6 Edge Plus, Samsung Galaxy S® 6 Edge, Samsung Galaxy S® 6, Samsung Galaxy S® 5, Samsung Galaxy S® 4, Samsung Galaxy Note® 5, Samsung Galaxy Note® 4, Samsung Galaxy Note® 3, HTC One® M8 and HTC One® M7. And for Apple users, here's the Apple compatibility list: iPhone 6s Plus, iPhone 6s, iPhone 6 Plus, iPhone 6, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5, iPhone 4s, iPad Air 2, iPad Air, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini 3, iPad mini with Retina display, iPad mini, iPod touch (5th generation) and Apple Watch. Use of Apple Watch requires iPhone 5 or later.

Halo 2 Hearing Aids Features

The features of the Halo 2 are as follows:

  • Channels: 24 channels
  • Directionality: Across 24 channels
  • Bandwidth: Up to 10kHz
  • 900 Sync: Yes
  • TruLink:Yes
  • 900 Wireless Streaming: Spatial Streaming
  • Speech Compression: Full Acuity Speech Optimisation
  • Environment Manager: Level 4 across 7 environments
  • WhistleFree Feedback Manager: Standard
  • Frequency Lowering: Standard
  • Multiflex Tinnitus Tech: Standard
  • Surflink Accessories: Yes 
  •  

Music Optimisation:

  • Music Memory: Standard
  • Music Adaptation: Level 4
  • E2E Music Adaptation: Full

Ear To Ear Technology:

  • E2E Wind Noise Management: Level 4
  • E2E Machine Noise Adaptation: Level 4
  • E2E Directionality: Standard
  • E2E Phone Streaming: Standard

Oticon

Opn Hearing Aids

Oticon's Latest Most Advanced Premium Solution

Oticon has just introduced a new groundbreaking hearing device range. They are so small they are practically invisible and come in a range of shades and bright colours. The internet-enabled Oticon Opn comes with a number of additional features because it can connect to devices via the internet and Bluetooth. The hearing aids will connect directly to your Smartphone so you can make phone calls and listen to music without any intermediate streaming device. They are also water resistant to 1m. The Oticon Opn has been exceptionally well received, no one seems to be able to explain how their new directionality system works to my satisfaction. The point is, it really seems to work well. Users are pretty much blown away by it. Oticon began copying Widex in relation to processing sound a few years ago. they will deny it, but they did. So, sound from Oticon hearing aids is pretty damned good. 

The devices can be connected to any device that has a Bluetooth connection. This means that the hearing aids can also be connected to things like doorbells, appliances, or even baby monitors. Then when the doorbell rings, for example, the person gets a small 'ring' in their ear to let them know.

Open Up A Closed World

Open up a closed world

20%

Less listening effort – reducing the load on the brain in noisy environments

20%

More capacity to remember – freeing up mental resources, enabling the user to recall more in noisy environments

30%

Better speech understanding – even in the noisiest environments, without suppressing surrounding sounds through narrow directionality

One open sound experience
Three levels of BrainHearing™ support

BrainHearing™ support is delivered by a unique combination of technologies working together to reduce listening effort and provide the brain with better conditions to perform in. The Oticon Opn range has now been expanded into three levels of technology, Level 1 which iod top of the range, level 2 and level 3. 

Opn hearing aids technology levels

All three members of the Oticon Opn™ family provide the open sound experience that is proving so popular. However, each model gives the brain a different level of assistance – a different level of BrainHearing™ support. Oticon have not stopped at that though, they have also expanded the fitting range of the Opn devices and they can now fit even profound hearing losses. 

Oticon Opn Prices

We would expect the Oticon Opn range to be sold at prices from £1200.00 to £2200.00 in the UK depending on the Practice and location. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from €1400.00 to €3000.00 in Ireland. We would expect the range to be sold at prices from $1500.00 to $3200.00 in the USA.

Features

  • Acoustic notifications Provides notifications and warnings to assist and support confidence in daily use, e.g., start-up jingle, low battery warnings, etc.
  • Adaptation Management Adapts in 3 steps for gradual user acclimatization to a new hearing aid
  • App & Remote Control Discreetly adjusts volume, switches between programs or controls connectivity sources with Remote Control 3.0 or the Oticon ON App
  • AutoPhone Automatically activates a phone program in the hearing aid for telephones with a dedicated magnet
  • Bass Boost Controls compensation for bass leakage in open fittings when streaming audio
  • Binaural Coordination Coordinates program and volume settings between the two hearing aids
  • Binaural Processing Continuous data exchange between two hearing aids about the sound level at each ear to better maintain the difference in input between the ears
  • Clear Dynamics Expands the dynamic input range, processing sounds up to 113dB SPL, to preserve sound quality even at loud input levels
  • Data Logging Logs volume control usage, program usage and total use time
  • Feedback Analyzer Analyzes the risk of feedback with the prescribed gain and chosen acoustics in Genie 2
  • Feedback shield LX Employs an ultra-fast and effective feedback management system that prevents feedback without compromising sound quality or audibility
  • Fitting Channels 16 fitting bands for a precise fit and more fine-tuning options for client fittings
  • Fitting Formulas Include VAC+, NAL-NL1, NAL-NL2
  • Made for iPhone® Indicates compatibility. ‘Made for iPhone’ means that the hearing aid and accessories have been designed to connect to iPhone, and have been certified by the developer to meet Apple™ performance standards.
  • Multiple Directionality Options Enables conventional directionality settings in addition to OpenSound NavigatorTM transition settings
  • NFMI Near-Field Magnetic Induction – Improves speed of communication and bandwidth between two hearing aids with very low power consumption
  • OpenSound NavigatorTM Provides listening support by continuously analyzing the environment, balancing sound sources so focus sound is clear and competing sounds are not too disturbing. Finally, it attenuates remaining noise to provide a more accessible sound environment.
  • Oticon Firmware Updater Enables you to update VeloxTM-based hearing aids and connectivity solutions, adding new and improved features quickly in your office.
  • Phone Program Optimizes hearing aid for telephone conversations using the hearing aid microphone
  • Processing Channels Data is analyzed and processed in 64 channels, 100 times per second
  • REM AutoFit Enables more personalized fittings by taking individual ear acoustics into consideration
  • Soft Speech Booster LX Applies an individual amount of soft gain to increase soft speech understanding
  • Binaural Noise Management Optimizes listening in asymmetrical, noisy situations
  • Spatial SoundTM LX Uses binaural compression to provide precise spatial awareness that helps users identify where sounds are coming from
  • Speech GuardTM LX Preserves the dynamics of speech by combining the benefits of linear and non-linear compression Page 17 Stereo Streaming Streams audio input in stereo
  • Transient Noise Management Protects against sudden loud sounds with fast recovery to preserve audibility; offers four different levels for fine tuning, including ‘off’
  • TwinLinkTM Combines two distinct radio technologies in an innovative wireless communication system; features one technology to support seamless, energy-efficient binaural communication between two hearing aids (NFMI) and one to support communication with external electronic and digital devices (2.4 GHz)
  • Wind Noise Management Protects against the discomfort of wind noise
  • YouMaticTM LX Accommodates personal listening preferences and sound perceptions in the prescription of gain and automatics

Oticon Opn new fitting range

OpenSound Navigator

Less stress. Remember more. Better hearing.  Oticon Opn™ introduces groundbreaking technology that is fast enough to support the brain. With precision and accuracy, it analyzes the acoustic environment and differentiates between the individual sounds. The result is a significant improvement in the ability to understand speech in complex environments while, at the same time, preserving mental energy – ultimately empowering users to Open Up to the World. Users are provided with more accurate information making it easier to locate and separate sound sources so they can focus on what they find important. This happens so quickly it facilitates the listener’s ability to change focus when desired.

This is the premium hearing aid in Oticon’s range which uses their new Velox Sense processing chip. This range is a completely new way of processing sound and is suitable for more demanding listening environments.

Oticon Opn is available in a compact, newly designed miniRITE that sits discreetly on the ear. Oticon Opn offers a wealth of new features and functionalities all incorporated in a sleek and modern 312 battery-based design.  The Opn is available in a range of colours.

Oticon

Opn Mini RITE: wireless slimline 'Mini-Receiver-In-Ear (miniRITE)' hearing aid using a 312 battery

Oticon Opn rechargeable hearing aids

Oticon

Opn Mini RITE Rechargeable: wireless slimline Rechargeable 'Mini-Receiver-In-Ear (miniRITE)' hearing aid using a rechargeable Silver Zinc 312 battery (can also use disposable hearing aid batteries). All Oticon Opn miniRITE hearing aids sold since the introduction last year and going forward can be retrofitted to be rechargeable.

Oticon Opn Mini RITE-t

Oticon

Opn Mini RITE-T: The sleek and discreet miniRITE-T (which you can see above) features a telecoil and double pushbutton for easy volume and program control

Oticon Opn BTE 13-PP

Oticon

Opn BTE13 PP: The powerful and compact BTE13 PP fits hearing losses up to 105 dB SPL to benefit people with severe-to-profound hearing loss. The plus power solution features a telecoil, a tactile double pushbutton for easy volume and program control and a two-colour LED indicator to monitor hearing aid status for both users and caregivers.

Oticon On App

The Oticon ON app lets you adjust volume, switch programs and check the battery level. The app also offers convenient 'find my hearing aid' search feature, counselling advice and links to user instructions. The app is also where the connection to the IFTTT network happens. 

A World of Possibilities

Oticon Opn is the world's first hearing aid that connects to the internet via the If This Then That network (IFTTT.com)

If you want your lights to turn on automatically when you switch your hearing aids on or want to be notified by your hearing aids that someone is at your door then these are a few of the limitless possibilities available using ifttt. Oticon has introduced their own recipes that can be easily downloaded, however, it is easy to make new recipes for action. 

The Oticon Opn seems to have really caught the imagination of both professionals and users alike. It is a particularly popular aid and the feedback from users is excellent. It seems that the Opn may be a real winner for Oticon. 

Read More About Oticon Hearing Aids

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