A Review of Day to Day Experiences With ReSound One Hearing Aids
I have been wearing the new ReSound One hearing aids for a couple of weeks now to get a clear idea about how they function and fit. I have tried both the LiNX 3D and then the Quattro and they delivered what I wanted on a daily basis and they were the first set of hearing aids I reached for. Using the ReSound One over the last couple of weeks has been excellent, they offer everything I am used to with excellent sound quality and even better localisation of sound. More than that, because of the shape and placement of the hearing aids they make it easier to take a mask off without flipping them across a car park. Their compatibility with Bluetooth LE Audio also means that when it arrives, I will have access to those fantastic abilities. It isn't all plain sailing though and I have a complaint, but I always do. Here are my experiences of the devices
Look, Feel & Wear
The ReSound One platform is a completely different shape than Quattro and the LiNX 3D before it. It is more angular in design than those devices and it uses a completely different receiver wire connection. This makes some changes to how the devices sit on your ear. The body of the aid seems to sit lower on the back of the ear than the Quattro would.
Comfortable, Easy To Wear
I found them very comfortable to wear and because of the lower position on the ear, very easy to wear with masks. Let me explain when I take a mask off, I use my index finger on the elastic at the top of my ear, lifting the elastic and sliding my finger over and around my ear to remove the elastic. This allows the inside of my index finger to keep my aid in place while removing the mask.
With most hearing aids I wear, my index finger is active in keeping my hearing aid on my ear. With the ReSound One, it isn't. It seems that the lower position on the ear appears to make it far easier to take off the mask without launching the hearing aid across the car park. A happy and fortuitous coincidence I think.
A Microphone in The Receiver
I wore ReSound One 9 rechargeables with the new M&RIE receivers. It is worth explaining again why that might matter. ReSound have designed two new types of receivers to be fitted with the ReSound One devices. The first type is basically a new version of the traditional receiver to fit the One.
The second type is their new M&RIE receiver which has a microphone on the receiver. With this type, it means that alongside the typical microphones in the case of the aid, they now have a third microphone in the receiver. Apart from just plain showing off, why have they done this?
More Natural Sound Cues
Because it's an ideal place to put a microphone because of the more natural sound cues you can expect to pick up there. The outer ear (Pinna) helps us to localise sound naturally, localisation is key for us to work out where the sound comes from. The ability to localise also helps the brain to ignore the sound you aren't interested in. That's why with normal hearing, we can hear pretty well in noisy situations.
All of the hearing aid brands know this and on their Receiver In Canal and Behind The Ear hearing aids, they use a feature or algorithm called the Pinna Effect to try and spoof those natural cues. In essence, it is an approximation of the effect of the pinna.
Spoofing Isn't Custom
There is an argument that it is an average, and doesn't deliver the natural sound cues to the brain so that it can achieve its natural localization and noise-cancelling function. I myself have mused why we don't do some sort of real-ear measurement in the clinic to actually customise the pinna effect and the head shadow effect to particular hearing aid wearers. I figure with the right placement of speakers and the right test signal, we could probably do it easily.
Obviously, smarter people than me at ReSound have been thinking about exactly this for some time. Although they came at it from a different angle. Place a third microphone in the canal and guess what, no need to measure any of that because you have it all being picked up by the microphone there.
Normalised is The Prize
That should equate to more normalised sound experience, a more normalised sound experience and even better performance in noisy situations. I have to say it does, and from my experience, it appears to work very well. I felt that the overall sound quality was improved and my spatial awareness and quality was greatly improved.
Unfortunately, the M&RIE receiver is only graded for people with up to a 65dB high-frequency hearing loss. With that in mind, it isn't for everyone, that is why there are two types of receiver. ReSound has introduced a new type of closed dome, which basically sits between their open dome and its power domes. In the wild, as it were, some professionals have been pushing that 65dB suitability to 75dB with these closed domes and with the use of custom tips.
Some have even pushed it more than that. There is something that you need to consider with that though. A closed dome may increase the sensation of occlusion (the physical and auditory feeling that your ears are stuffed up). Some people can handle this quite well, some people can't, for me, because I have regular nasal issues and shifting pressure in my middle ear, occlusion drives me nuts.
I was able to manage the closed domes quite well though, so I think many people will be able to do so.
The ReSound One rechargeable hearing aids use the outstanding charger case that they introduced with the Quattro. I really love this case, it fits in a coat pocket or bag easily and it provides three extra charges. It means that you just don't have to worry about plugging in your charger and I love that because I often forget. It also comes with a more typical wall charger, go for the case, you will thank me later.
The battery in the ReSound One rechargeable is just amazing, one charge will provide 30 hours of use. But more than that, it will provide 25 hours of streaming before going dead, what type of bizarre sourcery powers that is a mystery to me, but it is a combination of cell size and power management. It means that no matter what, I can't ever see you running out of charge on any normal day.
Hello, Customer Care!
I have a complaint though, I always do, the aids don't really drop into the charger that well, certainly not as well as the Quattro did. I never had any worries about the Quattro and the charger, I simply dropped the aids in without thought. It seems that because the receiver wires are different with the One, it's not quite as simple as that.
Push Them Aids Home!
Whenever I drop them in, the body of the aid doesn't necessarily drop deep enough to begin charging. I usually have to push the aids down a bit. I mean it isn't a huge issue, but if it isn't pointed out, it could lead to you expecting your aids to be charged and they aren't. That would be a big problem, but forewarned, is forearmed.
Nice & Discreet, A Good Fit
The new receivers appear to have a great shape for me, they held the aids in very well and the receiver wires sat very close to my face which made them almost invisible. They are easy to wear, as I said, they sat on my ears well and I had very little issue with the receivers slipping out of my ear. I wore the largest open dome at first and it fit my ears perfectly.
The open domes were not ideal for streaming, they sufficed for phone calls and even listening to audio-books and podcast where good fidelity and audio quality was not necessarily that important, but for music appreciation, they were not great, a conundrum I solved and will speak about later.
Amazingly Good For Masks
They very rarely interfered with my mask-wearing and the occasional time I wore my glasses there was no issue so physically, I was very happy with the aids and the comfort levels. As I said, it is almost like they designed them for wearing with masks, taking the mask off as I do rarely dislodged them or disturbed them in any way.
The New Directionality Modes
With the Ones, ReSound have introduced two new directionality modes. They call them "All Access Directionality and Ultra Focus". Several years ago Oticon introduced a new way to handle directionality with their Opn hearing aids. It really was interesting and wearing those aids was very different from the traditional beam-forming hearing aids that were available up until then.
Dare I Say an Open Experience
The All Access Directionality offers a very similar experience, it allows you greater awareness of your surroundings while ensuring that you still get the speech clarity you would expect in conversation. It also appears to help with conversation or speech interaction that isn't expected. Let me explain, I was having a conversation with someone at work the other day on a pretty busy shop floor. Then a third person approached from the side and immediately began to speak.
My awareness of that person's approach was excellent and I didn't miss the beginning of their statement. It meant that it was easy to respond and continue the conversation. My awareness of my environment is also obviously very good as is my spatial awareness. I can pretty much tell where sounds are occurring in space. It means that the directionality feature and the natural sound cues from the mic in the canal are delivering much of what I need for my brain to work it all out.
The Ultra Focus Setting is user-activated and it can be accessed in the smartphone app. The feature allows you to narrow the focus of the microphones to the person in front. It works very well, what was interesting though was that it still seemed that I had a decent awareness of surroundings while using it. I was pretty impressed with the results of this feature. In the app, in the Restaraunt setting is another feature called hear everyone that I was quite impressed by.
It seems to provide a high-frequency boost and open the directionality to all around. It actually delivers pretty good speech intelligibility for multiple companions although sometimes it felt a little loud. It's an interesting setting and I think I would use it quite a bit in that type of noisy situation if I was with a group with a tiny bit of volume reduction.
The sound quality from the One is outstanding, just as I would expect from a modern top of the range hearing device. It delivers the sound cues I need exceptionally well and I feel the input from the new M&RIE is well used to improve natural spatial awareness and localisation abilities. I really like these aids and they do pretty much everything I want them to do to help me hear better on a daily basis. On top of that though, is the power of the app!
The Smartphone App
I have always liked the smartphone app from ReSound and I felt it was one of the best designed and most powerful apps available for many years. It delivers so much power to the user in an easily accessible way. It allows you complete control of how your hearing aids sound in different situations and for people who don't want to dig down to the equaliser with more precise adjustment, it offers simple pre-sets in each programme to deliver a better experience.
Don't Be Afraid!
Don't be afraid of the app, get in there, poke around, push a few buttons, take it for a ride. You can't mess things up, that is the beauty of it. If you get somewhere you didn't want to go and can't work out how to get out, simply reboot the aids and voila, back to where you started. So much power at your fingertips, it is a sin not to use it.
You Don't Have To
I admit, you don't have to use the app, the automatic setting on ReSound hearing aids is pretty good. But the app just offers so much more to the experience it would be a shame if you were put off it because you were a bit frightened of tech.
As I said, I first wore the devices with the open dome and found them exceptionally comfortable and easy to wear. While the streaming audio was adequate with those domes, it wasn't what I would want for streamed music pleasure.
So I moved to the closed domes which aren't exactly closed and aren't exactly open. They improved my appreciation of streamed music immensely, but I found that one or two days I suffered from the cursed occlusion, so I did what I always do and cheated hahaha.
I had been using tips on my Quattros which were kind of a puffed tip with several vents cut into them and I had always found them a good balance. I can't remember which manufacturer makes them and I will be searching valiantly when I begin to run out of them.
The Bit Where I Rummage in my Ear
I don't recommend this to you necessarily though, these tips fit the aids but aren't made for them, so that means they could theoretically come off in my ear canals. For me this is just a little irksome, two minutes with a mirror and a forceps and voila, no longer an issue. That isn't quite a great solution, I am familiar with ears, I am familiar with mine, so rummaging about in there with a metal object isn't a problem, probably stupid, but not a problem.
Don't Do This At Home
It isn't something I would recommend to you though, so if the tip slips off in your ear, you will need to visit a professional. That in itself is an imposition. I think if you are serious about your music, perhaps when you are walking, exercising or just relaxing alone, well then ask your professional for some extra closed tips that you can switch to for your music. It will solve all the problems, allow you to wear an open fit day to day if you need them but also deliver a solution for good music appreciation.
Very Pleasant Music Experience
I have to say, the streaming audio from the devices is excellent once I moved to some sort of more closed dome, I get a sense of deep bass, lovely warm sound and quite nice zingy treble. I have always liked ReSound devices for streaming and when the Quattro was delivered I paired them to an Android Pixel 3a which met my streaming needs and my preference for Android phones, a match made in heaven really.
Made For Android
Which brings me onto the pairing of my new ReSound Ones to my Pixel 3a. My Pixel was recently upgraded to Android 11 and I was a little concerned about how it would manage the pairing with the Quattros and the Ones. I need not have worried, they paired easily and well.
I have had few problems with this set-up although I know some people have had issues with connection and Samsung phones. I haven't experienced any major issue other than the usual vagaries of Bluetooth that I would expect. To be honest, even far fewer of them than I would expect.
Bluetooth LE Audio
The One is also compatible with the new Bluetooth standard for hearing aids which will offer so much for so many users when it arrives on phones. It could mean completely hands-free calls with your ReSound Ones. I know some people really like that and I am quite fond of it myself.
I think ReSound is ain a really good position to offer an excellent system here. Their experience with Jabra headsets should really allow them to maximise the system and functionality.
This really rates a mention, the use of the mic in the receiver and the different positioning of the hearing aid case on the ear really makes a difference to wind noise. Wind noise could be a problem especially if it was really windy, now though it is much softer on the rare times I do hear it. That also appears to be only when the wind is directly behind me.
Working in Noise
Unfortunately, none of us is really getting into really complex sound situations at the moment. Having said that, I have been in several situations where I would call the acoustics complex at best. The first was a shopping mall, all hard surfaces and a very high glass roof, lots of people moving around and medium-high levels of background noise.
I found my experience was really great here, I could hear my companion very well while I still had a good awareness of my surroundings. Noise handling seems to be better than the Quattro, but that isn't saying it was bad on the Quattro, it wasn't. But I definitely perceive even less noise incursion with the One.
The second situation was in a very busy shop, it's a relatively wide-open space divided by rows of display shelves. While the shop wasn't packed, there were plenty of people spaced out around me and quite a bit of chatter and background music as well. The ceiling was higher than your home but not exceptionally high, for argument's sake we will say about ten feet.
I was able to hear my companion very well, even when they spoke to me from behind. I took the opportunity to use the Ultra Focus in this situation and I could really perceive it working. We were joined by two colleagues and I used the hear everyone feature on the restaurant setting and was quite impressed by it.
I have always liked ReSound aids, ever since the LiNX 3D, they have been pretty much my go-to aids with the exception of when I wanted to stream audio. The Quattro fixed that when the Made For Android feature came out and I got my Pixel 3a. The One definitely builds on the experience, offering benefits over the Quattro while delivering an even better sound experience. When you combine them with the Smart 3D app, you really have fantastic power. The forward compatibility with Bluetooth LE Audio means that they are future-proofed for that system when it arrives.
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