Stupid Name, Amazing Hearing Aids
Phonak has today (19/08/2020) announced that they are bringing a new hearing aid platform to market that they are calling Paradise. Stupid name, but believe me, a fantastic hearing aid. I have been wearing them for a week now and I am impressed, more about that in another article. As with the last few platforms, the initial launch will be of their Audeo Receiver In Canal (RIC) hearing aid range. The Paradise aids are entirely new, both inside and out. Phonak say they offer unrivalled sound quality, personalised digital solutions and universal connectivity. What does all that mean? Let's talk about Paradise.
New Shape New Processor
The outer case has been changed slightly from the Marvel, but it will take a keen eye to notice it. The bottom of the case has been rounded off somewhat, the microphone ports have been changed, and the push button is slimmer than it was. While the outer changes are purely cosmetic, the significant changes are on the inside, with a brand-new chipset they have called Prism and the addition of motion sensors in some styles. Before we talk about the features, let's talk about the models that will be available.
As I said, Phonak will launch their Audeo Paradise Reciever In Canal range first. The styles eventually available will be the Audeo P R, The Audeo P R-T, the Audeo P 312 and the Audeo P 13 T. The rechargeable hearing aid styles will be the only styles introduced to have the motion sensors onboard. Those motion sensors are essential for some of the features I will discuss later. Let's look at each model.
The Audeo P R is the smaller of the rechargeable models available, it's a discrete device which can use several power levels of receiver meaning that it will cover hearing losses from mild, all the way to severe to profound. This model will have the motion sensor onboard. The model will be available in the usual four levels of technology from Phonak, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.
The Audeo P R T is the larger of the rechargeable models available because it has a telecoil onboard. It's still a discrete device which can use several power levels of receiver meaning that it will cover hearing losses from mild, all the way to severe to profound. This model will have the motion sensor onboard. The model will be available in the usual four levels of technology from Phonak, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.
The Audeo P 312 is the smaller of the traditionally powered models available. The 312, which takes a 312 battery, is a discrete device which can use several power levels of receiver meaning that it will cover hearing losses from mild, all the way to severe to profound. This model will not have the motion sensor onboard. The model will be available in the usual four levels of technology from Phonak, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.
The Audeo P 13 T is the larger of the traditionally powered models available, again because it has a telecoil onboard. While larger, the 13, which takes a 13 battery, is still a relatively discrete device. It can also use several power levels of receiver, meaning that it will cover hearing losses from mild, all the way to severe to profound. This model will not have the motion sensor onboard. The model will be available in the usual four levels of technology from Phonak, the 90, the 70, the 50 and the 30.
Slightly more Gain and Output
Because of the new prism chip, Phonak have been able to squeeze a little more power out of the receivers. For instance, the UP (ultra Power) receiver now offers 71 dB of gain and a max power output of 132. That is 4 and 2 dB respectively over the Marvel. The P (Power), M (Medium) and S (standard) get a 1dB boost in gain.
Rechargeable and Battery Life
A fully charged Paradise aid should be able to deliver 16 hours of use. That number is based on 8 hours of listening, 4 hours of audio streaming via Bluetooth classic (so from your phone, be it calls or music etc.) and 4 hours of TV Connector streaming. If you aren't streaming, you can be expected to get 24 hours of battery life from them. Unfortunately, Phonak have not gone with the Recharger case system for the Paradise, that's a pity. Where other hearing aid brands have gone with it, it is an excellent system.
What Happens if The Battery Dies?
It's a horror event right, you suddenly have been roped into a late-night, but you are panicking about your battery dying. Because of the fast charge system with Phonak aids, a quick recharge will give you extra power. So, different lengths of emergency charge will provide you with spare time. For instance:
- 30 minutes charging will deliver 6 hours of use
- 60 minutes charging will provide 12 hours of use
- 90 minutes charging will provide 19 hours of use
- 3 Hours of charging will provide 24 hours of use
Phonak say that the Paradise will deliver unrivalled sound quality, so what's new to bolster that claim? First highlights, then a rundown.
- Brand New Sound Processing Chip
- New Motion Sensor powers Motion Hearing
- New AutoSense OS 4.0
- New Feature, Speech Enhancer
- New Feature, Dynamic Noise Cancellation
It is really time for them to upgrade the chipset they have been using, it has been around in one form or other since the introduction of the Venture platform in 2015. The new chipset offers more memory and power which is used to boost some of the features and powers the new ones.
New Motion Sensor
Phonak are not the first to put motion sensors in their hearing aids. The concept makes sense as understanding the actual motion of the user, will allow better feature management decisions to happen in the processor. It should mean that the hearing aids will work much better in walking or running situations where you are trying to converse with a partner. They are also using it to manage the new Tap Control feature which I will discuss a little later. The new feature will only be available on the rechargeable models in the 90, 70 and 50 ranges.
New Autosense 4.0
AutoSense is the name that Phonak use for the operating system in their hearing aids. In essence, it is the management system that governs how the hearing aid works and tells it when to change and adapt features and presets. The latest AutoSense software takes into account all of the data they have collected about users wants and needs in the field, it also manages the new features.
The Speech Enhancer feature works to make the very softest sounds in speech more audible. The feature is an interesting one, it only works in quiet situations, which makes sense because it is in more peaceful locations that people tend to speak softly. This new feature will only be available in the premium 90 range.
Dynamic Noise Cancellation
Dynamic Noise Cancelation is a new noise suppression system that will allow Phonak hearing aids to work even better in noisy situations. The feature can be set by your hearing professional, and it can also be activated, decreased and increased from the app. It will give up to an extra 4dB signal to noise ratio boost. The new feature will only be available in the premium 90 range.
- Connects to smartphones, TV and more
- MFA Made For Any Phone
- Multiple Bluetooth Connections
- New Tap Control for easy access to Bluetooth Functionality
Increased Bluetooth Connections
The Paradise offers 8 slots for the pairing of devices. You pair to the device once, and it is stored. While 8 slots sound like a lot, many of us will probably have four or more Bluetooth devices we want to pair to. For me, it's my laptop, my Tablet and my primary phone and backup phone. So, you can see, as technology changes, we will probably want the connection to more and more devices.
It also offers two active Bluetooth Classic connections which means that you can be connected to two separate devices. For instance, you could be connected to your Tablet and phone, while you are streaming audio from your Tablet, you can still answer any calls on your phone without any fuss or fanfare. The same can be said for two phones, say you have a work phone and a personal phone, with the Paradise you can be simultaneously connected to both, taking calls from each with no effort. This is a great feature and during my trial, it worked quite well, sometimes too well, again, I will explain in my review article.
Paradise introduces the ability to hear ringtones from your phone and verbal announcements of caller names if enabled. It means that you should be able to quickly recognise the tone of the phone or the person that is calling. That's a handy feature, it allows you to be relatively sure of who is calling without looking at your phone.
This is truly fantastic, hahahaah I loved it. The Tap Control feature makes Paradise more functional and easier to use. Using simple taps on the back of the hearing aid will control your Bluetooth devices. Tap Control allows you to accept and end calls, pause and resume streaming and activate the voice assistant on your phone such as Siri etc. You can set your taps in the manner in which suits you in the myPhonak app.
Using your voice assistant is really easy, and it offers so much functionality. Voice is the future, and the tap control allows you to access it easily. The tap control offers even more functionality to the user without confusing button presses. As I said, I really loved this feature. Tap control will be only available on the rechargeable models in the 90 and 70 ranges
I have been really impressed with these aids in the last week.The functionality is excellent, the connectivity has been really stable and the tap feature is outstanding. The devices will be launched in the UK and the US tomorrow. I have been reliably informed that they will begin shipping on August 24th. As I have said, I will be undertaking a follow up article outlining my experiences during the next day or so.
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