I managed to get my hands on a set of the new Signia Styletto Connect hearing aids and I think these devices are going to make a pretty big splash. Sivantos sent me a demo set and an iPhone for testing purposes (I don't have an iPhone, had one, my daughter killed it). Anyway, let's talk about the Styletto Connect.
Similar Form Factor
Firstly, the new Styletto Connect is built on the Nx platform and they will be available in the three levels of technology. They will also have the Own Voice feature that has been pretty successful for Signia. As with the original, the devices will be suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses mainly. Unlike the original, they are Bluetooth enabled Made For iPhone hearing aids. The Connect is slightly longer than the original Styletto, no more than about 5mm though.
Not Like Hearing Devices
First of all, I want to speak about the unboxing experience, a small but powerful thing. I think I said it about the original Styletto packaging, this ain't like any other hearing aid. The box is really pretty, it reminds you of an iPhone box or some other high worth mobile phone. When you slide the outer case up, the inner box is revealed with the charger and aids nestled in a moulded tray.
The whole experience is unlike any other hearing aid experience I have had with the possible exception of the Eargo. It feels good, and that is the point because the Styletto Connect like the Styletto before it, is unlike any other hearing aid. The hearing aids are small and quite discreet, they feel really light on the ears and hug the back of the ear just as well as the original.
The devices I am trialling are black with the brushed steel stripe down the back. I said it before, the case of the device has a nice quality feel to it and they look both modern and luxurious. As with the original, the receiver is fixed to the case and the case appears sealed pretty well.
The Charger Case
The charger case is a little bigger than the original so it can hold those four days of charge. Having said that it is easy to hold, still fits in the palm of your hand and will easily fit even in trouser pockets. They have changed the lid slightly with the hinge on the inside of the case rather than jutting out of the back and an easier opened catch. The original had a bit of a knack to opening it, the new one just opens as you would expect. I have said it before, Signia has a lot of experience with rechargeable hearing aids and their rechargers are some of the best in the business.
This charger is no different, it is an automatic charger which turns the hearing aids off when placed in it and on when they are taken out. It charges the devices in as little as three hours and it offers four extra charges. When you put the hearing aids into their charging ports, you can feel the magnet pulling them into place. There is no pushing, or pulling or twisting or bending, they slip in and slip out with ease.
The Original Market Research
Signia undertook market research around the Styletto when it was first introduced which seemed to show that it changed attitudes to hearing devices. In essence, they showed a group one range without the Styletto and one range with the Styletto included. The differences were a little startling. In the first group, 24% of the group did not choose a hearing aid.
When shown the second range with the Styletto included, the number of people who did not choose a hearing aid had reduced to 10%. That meant that nine in ten picked a hearing aid with many of them actually picking the Styletto.
I don't think the original Styletto lived up to the promise though. For me, the Styletto is a young and funky hearing aid most attractive to a younger demographic than the norm. The problem with that is that demographic want connectivity. The original Styletto couldn't deliver, the Styletto Connect delivers in spades. I think that the Styletto Connect may well be the roaring success that they hoped the Styletto would be.
The fact that these devices are Bluetooth enabled means that you will have access to calls and music streamed to your hearing aids. Even better, you will have access to the excellent Signia app and telecare. I like the app and I had a pretty excellent experience with the directionality feature with the Pure Nx. In the interests of science, taking one for the team and you dear readers, I might just have to go down the pub again to see if I can replicate it with the Styletto Connect, wouldn't be a true review if I didn't.
Pros and Cons
If you are worried about discretion this is a pretty discrete device when worn. More than that, it is a pretty device and is more reminiscent of modern high-end consumer electronics than a hearing aid. It's easy to wear, light on the ears and sits well.
Like the original, the receiver is fixed in the hearing aid and can not be replaced in the clinic, it will have to be a factory repair job. That means that you will need to take care of it to ensure it doesn't fail. Generally, people do not take care of their receivers, we see them failing all of the time through user negligence. They get full of wax and moisture and die.
This is your fault, let me be very clear if you don't clean your hearing aids and your receiver dies, that is your fault, no one else. Having said that, manufacturers have ignored this fact and just repaired them under warranty.
Double Wax Guard System
As I said about the original Styletto, Signia offers a pretty good wax management system. It comprises both a wax guard in the receiver and a grid guard in the tip. That's really double protection, so if you do kill your receiver with wax, you really have been negligent.
The devices will be launched in a couple of days to the market. I had a great experience with the Pure Nx, so I look forward to giving them a try. I have them for the next two weeks, don't worry Sivantos, I will give them and your uber sexy iPhone 5C back hahahhahahahahah. Keep tuned and in a couple of days, I will let you know how I have got on.
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