We have been quite slovenly of late, the current madness has kept both Steve and I a little loopy. That combined with the hearing healthcare business being on hold for several months has meant that we haven't been doing very much on Hearing Aid Know. That will change this month as things are starting to move along globally. Anyway, while I was hiding under my bed, I missed a few things about the KS 9 hearing aids from Costco. Firstly, they have added a telecoil option to the range, which is great news for people with hearing loss in the states. Secondly, there is talk about them getting a new software upgrade which appears to be similar in nature to the Marvel 2.0 upgrade.
The telecoil option is available in the aptly named KS 9.0 T and it appears to be the same price as the version without telecoil. The telecoil is a great addition, it may be old technology, but it is a great technology. Modern Loop systems are pretty outstanding and they are growing in ever-increasing popularity in the US with advocates driving their installation in more and more places.
Put simply, the telecoil gives you access to better hearing in auditoriums, churches, cinemas, and anywhere else one is fitted. You can read more about telecoils and why you should consider them here.
I noticed on the hearing aid forum that there was discussion about a new firmware update for the KS 9 devices which was introduced at the end of May. One user asked the following:
"I understand that ks9 have had a recent firmware update (end of May) which will allow you to pair to two devices and connect to one. Does anyone have experience of the upgrade?"
Another user responded that they had heard about the upgrade and made an appointment to have it applied and they would get back to them. He did, and this is what he said:
"Following up - I got the firmware update. I now can connect to both of my cell phones but not at the same time. The old app no longer works so I now use the MyPhonak app. This app allows for more options to control the HAs. I had to re-pair to my TV connector but that only takes seconds."
I have reached out to Costco for confirmation in relation to the firmware update, but in essence, it sounds like the Kirklands have got a firmware upgrade that is very similar to the Marvel 2.0 update. The fact that the user was able to connect his Kirklands to the new myPhonak app would appear to confirm it. So if it is similar, what will it offer?
It appears that the KS 9 hearing aids will now be capable of pairing two Bluetooth audio devices at the same time. This is a really useful upgrade, if you own two mobile phones or mobile phone and a tablet, you can now pair them to both to your KS 9s. It means that you will be able to stream audio from either one without the hassle of unpairing and pairing.
With the optional TV Connector, you can also stream high definition audio from their TVs directly to both hearing aids while keeping two Bluetooth slots open for their other devices
A New App?
Phonak launched a fully comprehensive, updated myPhonak app that was designed to give wearers a more enhanced and personalized hearing experience. It was a really great update and it featured more advanced customization options including noise reduction, speech focus and more. The user refers to it in his comment and he is currently using it, which surprised me a little.
I would have thought that there would be a new upgraded Easyline remote released with the firmware update. I would imagine there probably will be and it will offer much of the functionality of the myPhonak app. For now, it appears you will be able to use the myPhonak app to deliver all the great power.
It makes me wonder are the KS 9s now capable of remote care in the same way that Marvels are? They might be, but even if they are, that is no guarantee that Costco will deliver that as a service.
Since 2013, Roger® technology has become known as the gold standard for assistive technology. Roger devices help to bridge the understanding gap in loud noise and over distance by wirelessly transmitting a speaker’s voice directly to the listener. The Roger Direct system is outstanding and is only available with Marvel 2.0. Again, with the new firmware update to KS9s, will they be able to access Roger Direct devices? I don't know, but I have asked the question.
When and if I get an answer, I will surely let you know. Like us on Facebook by clicking the button below to keep up with our latest articles. Alternatively, sign up to our mailing list to keep informed.