Most of the stuff we will talk about here was actually introduced in 2015, but they will be the top selling hearing aids in 2016. There has been some hearing devices launched in 2016 and we expect some more to be launched over the course of the year. Let's take a look at the companies and hearing aid platforms that will probably dominate 2016.
Phonak & the Venture Range
Audeo, Bolero & Virto hearing aids
They didn't settle for just that either, they have also introduced CICs with directional microphones. In fairness the devices are a little larger than the standard CIC, but and it is a big but, they aren't huge and the extra size is probably worth it for the functionality.
CICs with directional microphones, a first for Phonak, a first for the industry
The technology in the Venture range is outstanding and Phonak have been careful to equip each of their technology levels with class leading hearing aid features. I would expect these hearing aids to be exceptionally popular this year, the feedback from consumers has been excellent so far and it looks likely that Phonak will only increase their reputation as the go to Premium hearing aid range.
A new super power aid from Phonak
Phonak is just about to introduce a replacement super power hearing aid for the Naida Quest. The new hearing aid will be based on the Venture chip, there is a bit of excitement around this launch. Phonak have been hinting at some ground breaking features for people with profound hearing loss. The Naida is probably accepted as the go to hearing device for people with profound hearing loss so any launch of a new one is usually hotly anticipated. I will be at the launch, so I will report back on what I find out.
Phonak did launch the new Naida Venture range and it is quite a step forward, smaller and more powerful than its predecessor it offers a host of outstanding features for people with profound hearing loss. You can read about the Naida hearing aids here.
Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Phonak didn't stop there, in September 2016 they launched the Belong range with a rechargeable option. Based on Lithium Ion battery technology they promise to give you twenty four hours of battery life on one three hour charge. This is the first time that Phonak have ventured into the rechargeable hearing aid market. Many believe it is a sign that rechargeable hearing aids are finally ready to go main stream.
Widex & the Unique Range
Unique 440, 330, 220 & 110
Widex have always been known as a premium hearing aid manufacturer, it is a title that they very much deserved. They have always done things a little differently than any one else within the hearing aid industry. In fact they are famous for it. There have been some major changes within the company over the last few years with a huge shake up at corporate management level. A new CEO was put in place who for the very first time was not a member of the families who own Widex.
With all of the changes that were happening, people across the industry (manufacturers) and the profession (hearing health professionals) were interested to see what would happen with their new release. It seems that they have stayed true to their roots. The Unique range is another fantastic hearing aid platform from Widex. The Unique range comes in their usual four technology levels, the 440, 330, 220 and 110. Like the other manufacturers they have retained many of their top level features across the range. However, their 110 hearing aid is definitely not class leading in it's technology level.
Industry leading wind noise reduction
New Wind Reduction Feature
They have introduced a new wind reduction feature which they say is the best available. Widex do not make claims lightly, so if they say it is so, it probably is. Early feedback from consumers seems to back up the claim. However, that feature is only available in the top of the range 440.
Widex also introduced a new hearing aid to the Unique family, the Fashion Mini. It is a mini BTE, discrete but powerful and an ideal option for people who want the discretion of a RIC but can't wear one. You can read about the Fashion Mini hearing device here.
In late 2016, Widex introduced a new Made For iPhone hearing aid range the Beyond. The device is based on their Fusion device and will be launched late 2016 early 2017. You can read about the Widex Beyond Made For iPhone hearing devices here.
GN Resound & The Linx2
Linx2 9, 7 & 5
GN Resound were first to market with a Made For iPhone hearing aid and in our opinion delivered the best. They quickly followed it with The Linx2 which enlarged the range and for the first time offered custom hearing aids. It has been a while since they launched but we have included them here because they are still un-beaten in the Made For iPhone field.
The range is available in three levels of the technology, the 9, the 7 and finally the 5. Resound have really made sure that they kept their feature set really high across the technology levels. The 7 is almost as good as the 9, but there are clear reasons why the 9 is a better hearing aid. The same with the 5 and the 7. No matter what level of technology you buy here, you are getting an outstanding hearing aid.
Bluetooth connectivity, no streamer needed!
Simple connectivity that sets them apart
The aids connect to smart phones and tablets run by both Apple and Android softwares with ease. They deliver an outstanding integration with all of the apps that you use and the conversations you have with simple ease.
No streamer, just Bluetooth ready hearing aids
What really sets them apart though is that you need no in between device, no streamer. They simply connect via Bluetooth on your device.
This is not a definitive list but we think these are probably the best hearing aid ranges available at the minute for the reasons we have discussed. However, other manufacturers like Siemens, Unitron and Starkey all have hearing aids worthy of inclusion here. In another article we will cover the technology available across the market in an in-depth way.
We have general details about Hearing Aids, their types and technologies in our consumer hearing aid advice guide. It also details technology levels and features of hearing instruments in clear and easy to understand language.
Posted by Geoff
Geoffrey (Geoff, anything else makes him nervous) Cooling is an Irish hearing aid blogger and has been involved with the hearing aid industry since 2007. He has worked in private practice dispensing hearing aids and as a manufacturer's rep. He has written two books and they are both available on Amazon. He loves technology, passing on knowledge and is legendary for many other things, primarily the amount he curses, his dry and mischievous sense of humour and his complete intolerance of people who are full of themselves. Please feel free to connect with him.
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