Great Hearing Aids, Impressive Sound, Love The Rechargeability
I was hugely impressed by the ReSound LiNX 3D last year, so I was eager to try out the latest model from GN ReSound. The LiNX Quattro has all the features and performance of the 3D but manages to surpass it in terms of speech recognition and sound quality. And, oh yeah, the Quattro is a rechargeable hearing aid, no more fiddling with batteries!
I've been writing on this site now for about 15 years (not enough recently, as Geoff would say) and even after all this time I am still surprised how hearing aid technology manages to improve year-on-year. When I tried the ReSound 3Ds last year they were pretty much perfect, I could hear wonderfully, Bluetooth phone calls were a revelation and I struggled to find fault with them. And here we are, a year on and I'm surprised again as the Quattro range improves on the 3Ds awesome feature set and allows me to hear more still.
This is great for me personally, I have a progressive hearing loss, i.e. it is getting worse all the time, so it's great that as my hearing gets worse the technology gets better and I'm still able to communicate well most of the time even though I have absolutely no useful hearing left with aids.
Rechargeable for Convenience
Any product with a rechargeable battery is only useful if it lasts a decent amount of time between charges, annoys the hell out of me that I have to charge my phone twice a day. The photo at the top of the page shows a pair of Quattro hearing aids sitting in their charging case, you can use the Quattro for 30 hours on a single full charge, so can easily wear them the whole day without having to worry about the battery dying on you.
If you stream via Bluetooth a lot (for phone calls or music) then the battery does drain a bit quicker but you'd still easily get a whole day of use out of them, worry-free. The case charges the hearing aids and the case itself is charged via a USB lead, the case can charge a pair of aids three times before it needs plugging in again.
The Quattro from GN ReSound is an impressive rechargeble hearing aid. The aids can be used for up to 30 hours between charges.
For me, not having to change the batteries and having worry-free 24 hour usage is great, but for people who might not be able to change hearing aid batteries easily, it might be the difference between being able to use hearing aids and not - the fiddly battery change might not be possible for people with arthritis or mobility problems in their hands.
How it works
Recharging could not be simpler: You take your aids out of your ears and place them into the charging box, that's it, done. When you put the aids into the box you see a line of green lights show up on the box, this indicates how much charge is in the aids, you'll also see a little green light flashing on each aid to indicate that it is charging, if you don't see a flashing light on the aid then move it a little to make sure it is sitting right in the hole.
Bluetooth streaming for phone calls, music and TV
The Quattro, like the 3D before it, is a Made For iPhone (MFI) hearing aid, which means that you can stream audio from your iPhone or iPad directly into your hearing aids with a very high quality. GN ReSound was one of the first to work directly with Apple on audio streaming, that experience shows as the Quattro delivers a rich and glitch-free sound.
I said this in the 3D review and I will say it again: having such great audio playing directly into my hearing aids has enabled me to make stress-free phone calls for the first time years, due to my severe hearing loss I just could not get enough volume or clarity on calls the normal way, streaming fixes that for me, I can answer a call in total confidence that I will be able to hear with ease.
There is no delay in streaming, when your phone rings, you hear the ring in your hearing aids, if you answer it then you are straight into the call.
An important thing when streaming is being able to still be aware of environmental sounds, you don't really want to walk out in front of a truck whilst listening to the latest Kanye track because you didn't hear the truck. Quattro strikes a balance of these sounds, environmental sounds are lowered quite a bit to make the streaming clear but it's still enough to be able to hear what's around you - this is also adjustable by your hearing aid provider and also via the smartphone App.
Made for iPhone - remote control
Another aspect of the phone to hearing aid connectivity is being able to control your hearing aids using your phone. ReSound have an App that lets you do a ton of stuff with your Quattro hearing aid, more of that in a bit, but because the Quattro is an MFI hearing aid, the integration with Apple iOS allows you to do some things outside of the App.
Your phone effectively acts a remote control, which is really nice if you want to change volume and don't want to be seen by people making strange-looking hand gestures around your head. A triple-press of your phone's home button takes you to a simple control panel where you can adjust the volume, switch between programmes and also use the "live listen" feature that turns your iPhone into a remote microphone. The short video below shows me making some quick adjustments (no sound).
GN ReSound Smart 3D App
GN introduced their Smart 3D App with the 3D range of hearing aids, the same App works with the LiNX Quattro hearing aids, the only difference is that the App automatically recognises that you have Quattro hearing aid and automatically switches on some new features.
This App is easy to use and gives you a lot of customization options - it is well designed in that it does not have any fiddly controls our options that require any deep knowledge of how the hearing aid works. App options are clearly labelled and easy to press, this App should be pretty easy for most users to pick up and use effectively.
You can, of course, switch between programmes via the App and change volume, the basic stuff - where this App really shines is the sounds customisation it gives you, these options can make a real difference to voice quality in particular environments, if you tweak these settings and find something you like you can save them so that you can select them again another time with a single button press.
You have three sliders that allow you to change bass/mid/treble, changing these make a huge difference to how the hearing aids sound, you have real control here, for example, boosting the mid and/or treble can help you to hear a very softly spoken person.
The ReSound Smart 3D App isn't a novelty that the company thought would be a good selling point ("Hey, we've got an App, how cool is that?"), it's a powerful tool that gives you fine-grained control over your hearing experience, allowing you to configure your own personal setup.
A comfortable and natural sound in everyday environments
Its all well and good a hearing aid having some cool Apps and snazzy features, the real proof of the pudding is how well you can hear as you go about your daily life.
The first thing I will say about the GN Quattro is: I've worn a lot of hearing aids over the years, fitted by a lot of different people and this is the only time that I have ever been completely happy with the hearing aid after the first fitting! Usually I go back to see the hearing aid professional a number of times to get things tweaked and tuned until I am happy with the sound - with the Quattro everything is right the first time, which I think is actually a big win for ReSound and us patients as people are used to things "just working" these days, you don't expect to have to fine-tune your TV after buying it, you turn it on and it is ready to go: I got my Quattro's fitted by Kate Ogden and they were just ready to go. That won't happen for everyone as people's brains need to get used to hearing new sounds and that can take time, but I'm mentioning it here as it's a first for me.
GN Resound says that the Quattro offers "more layers of sound" and I don't think that is an idle boast. I have noticed voices and music both having more detail to them, this, of course, makes voices easier to understand.
What I thought I would do in this review is list hearing-related problems that I have and talk about how the Quattro is helping me with those problems.
Hyperacusis and noise reduction
Hyperacusis is a sensitivity to loud noises. I suffer a bit from this and it is a very common problem, in the past, I have had real trouble with slamming doors, dog barks and even running water hitting a metal sink, my hearing aid at the time just couldn't bring these down to a comfortable level. Noise reduction in the Quattro gives me confidence that I won't experience any uncomfortably loud sounds - when the noise reduction algorithm does kick in it is fast and seamless and still allows for good speech recognition. I've found some aids to have too aggressive noise reduction and speech is also reduced too much but the Quattro strikes a good balance to block out unwanted noise and keep you in the conversation.
I have a constant buzzing in my right ear, sufferers often find that wearing hearing aids help to mask the tinnitus and reduce its annoyance - this has always been the case for me: no tinnitus when I'm wearing hearing aids but it flares up when I take them out. Exactly the same with the Quattro: does a great job of masking my tinnitus.
Speech Understanding and Recognition in Noise
I have been using the default programme on my Quattro, which is called "All Around", this works well for me in all environments, even pubs/bars and other noisy places. The Quattros do a remarkably good job focusing on the speaker(s) in your line of sight (you are usually looking at the person you are listening too), whilst still giving me a good sound from speakers to my side and back, I can comfortably listen to the people in front but am still aware of the other conversations - this works really well in a crowd.
I think the best thing I can say about these hearing aids is that they don't leave me feeling tired at the end of the day because listening is hard work. That might seem like an obvious thing to say but having a severe hearing loss and trying to keep in the conversation all day can be exhausting, with these aids I find it much less work.
Talking above about being able to focus on people in front of me but still being able to be very aware of chatting from other angles leads me on to the directionality features. This used to be a horrendous problem with older hearing aids, I could hear a voice but couldn't be sure exactly where it was coming from, this meant I would quickly lose the drift of groups conversations as by the time I'd worked out who was talking the next person would say something, so I was forever catching up.
A pair of Quattro's effectively work together to fix directionality issues, when you are wearing two aids they communicate with each other to locate sound sources and bring prominent voices to your attention. As I said above, the default "All Around" programme puts an emphasis on voices in front of you whilst keeping the full 360 degrees in your attention but you can alter setting using the app to put full focus in front of you or to give equal focus around the 360 degrees. The full focus at the front will work if you are in a very noisy bar or restaurant and you need full attention on the person in front an equal around 360 will work better if you are in a meeting or group where the conversation is darting around the group.
Directionality in the LiNX Quattro works brilliantly in the default mode but it is easy to alter it to suit specific environments either by using the App or getting your hearing care provider to set up different programmes for you to switch between.
Music sounded great with the LiNX 3D and I have streamed a lot of music, podcasts and audiobooks using them. The Quattro hearing aid goes even further than the 3D, it has the same clarity when streaming but the "more layers of sound" that Quattro delivers shines here, it does add to the sound quality of music and lets me hear a fuller sound and also small parts of songs that I may have missed before, a snare here, a beep there, a tonal change there - the Quattro enables me to hear the subtleties of the soundscape that I had been missing.
An addition to the Smart App that I really like is that the "wind noise reduction" option is available to use on the "All Around" default programme, this is a slider that lets you pick how aggressive wind-noise cancellation is - I've found this option very useful when I'm out walking the dogs. Wind noise is a very hard problem for hearing aid manufacturers to get right, ReSound does a great job with the Quattro. You can ramp up the wind reduction slider on the App until you feel comfortable and then reduce it when you are out of the wind, it helps a lot, wind noise is still there to some extent, you can still hear the wind blowing on the hearing aid's microphone, but it isn't overpowering and voices can be heard easily over the wind.
An excellent hearing aid
GN ReSound has done it again, I thought their 3D line was amazing but the Quattro is even better, it has all the great features of the 3D but adds superior sound quality, both when listening to everyday sounds and streaming music. Being rechargeable is the icing on the cake.
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Posted by Steve
I have been wearing hearing aids since I was five years old, when a mild hearing loss was first diagnosed - now aged 43, that mild loss has progressed to a severe one and I now rely on some pretty awesome hearing aid tech to be able to stay in the conversation. Total computer nerd. Addicted to running.
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