Really Good Hearing Aids, Really Great Support System, Crap Box
I decided a couple of weeks ago that I liked the conceptual thinking behind Lexie Hearing and their offering. I decided I wanted to try them out and the company sent a pair for me to have a go at. I have been using them for over a week now and they are as I would expect. In essence, they are a pretty good hearing aid offering real support for different listening situations. They delivered what I need and as I switched through different sound programmes I could clearly perceive the different strategies being used to support me for differing sound environments. I would have no issue recommending the hearing aids to anyone who feels this is the model for them. The hearing aids are good, the support system and onboarding system is excellent, the price model I would imagine is acceptable to many and finally, the outlined plans for ongoing upgrades to the system and the hearing aids look great. There was a road bump or two, but nothing that wasn't easily sorted, oh, and I have a complaint about the packaging, but I always do right? So let's talk consumer experience with Lexie Hearing.
The package arrived promptly and the delivery system kept me informed of dispatch and expected delivery time. The morning the package was to be delivered I got a prompt message informing me of impending delivery. I like that because it reduces any sense of uncertainty if you have purchased the devices. It's a small but valuable thing.
Inside the package was several packs of batteries, the Lexie Lumen hearing aids box and a handwritten styled personalised note welcoming me as a customer, nice touch. So to my pet peeve, the packaging, the box was well designed and I can understand the cues they have taken from traditional consumer electronics companies.
How the contents of the box were put together was intelligent and they have packed a lot into a small box. I felt they let themselves down with the quality of the material used. The cardboard used is stiff, but flimsy and I felt it let down or diminished the design and thought process.
I know that this sounds a bit stupid to many of you, but I think Lexie has done a great job with the design of their delivery model and programme and even the box. To cause some cognitive dissonance with a consumer at the beginning of the journey with sub-par packaging materials is senseless. Considering how good the aids and the greater experience is, I would hate the packaging to put you off. I have given feedback to the company, so my views won't come as a surprise to the.
In The Box
You can see a video above from our friend Mark Truong of an unboxing of the hearing aids, I was too lazy to do one, sorry. Anyway, in the box is your Lexie Lumen hearing aids, a user manual, a quick start guide, a travel box for storing your hearing aids and an accessory kit.
Basically, everything you need to get set up and going. The aids come with size 2 thin tubes and medium tulip domes fitted. That's a good choice because that is relatively average for most people. There is an ear measurement tool in the box and extra sizes of tubing so that you can measure and select the correct tubing for you. Some assorted domes covering the bulk of different hearing losses and ears that they could expect to be fit to are also included.
There is also some drying tablets, ideal for you if you live in a humid environment. The best way to use these is to get yourself an old tablet container with a screw-top preferably, but a good tight push-fit will do. Drop the drying tablet in it and secure it, then every evening, simply screw off the top, drop the aids in and secure the top again. Voila, hearing aid drying case extraordinaire!!!
Use The Damn Quick Start
The quick start guide is really cool, it will talk you through everything you need to be familiar with and everything you need to do to get started. Of course, the first thing you should do is download the Lexie app. Then work your way forward from there. For me, the size 2 thin tubes and the tulip tips were fine, so I didn't need to change them. Having said that, changing them is easy, so don't be worried if you need to. The manual, while larger, is also worth your perusal at leisure to become familiar with the aids and the app.
The aids are a mini BTE (Behind The Ear) that use a thin tube. That's a good choice because it means they should be pretty reliable in the long term. The thin tube means the speaker is in the body of the hearing aid and less exposed to wax and moisture. They have dual microphones, the basis of directional microphone technology, a programme button, which they call an environment control button and rocker-type volume control.
The aids are powered by a 312 battery, which is a decent choice. It balances battery life with size. Finally, the aids have a telecoil onboard which means access to loop systems and telecoil aftermarket accessories. All round, the aids have decent build quality and a nice enough finish. They sit well on my ear, giving a pretty discrete fit.
I had the usual issues with the tips coming out of my ears during the day, but that is the shape of my ears and it is a problem with most hearing aids for me. If it happens to you, just shove em back in, works for me.
My Sound Experience
So, firstly, let's talk about what they aids offer, the aids offer different environments (what we call programmes) designed to offer different things in different situations. They are as follows:
- Everyday: an everyday programme designed to help you hear better in many sound environments
- Indoor Noisy: As it says, it offers some noise suppression and directional microphones to handle noisy situations
- Outdoor: yes you guessed it, for outdoors, offers some wind noise protection
- Music, need I say more?
- Telecoil: this is the telecoil programme to be used with loop systems or any telecoil enabled accessories
- Companion Mic: use if you have purchased the companion mic accessory
These are manual programmes, so you need to change them as you go. There is no automation, however, the app makes this really easy to do. The same with volume changes if needed. My experience with these programmes was good, it was in fact, a little better than I expected.
The sound was crisp and clear, the noise suppression and directional microphones worked as expected. The music programme handled music quite well. Outdoors, did pretty much what it said on the tin. I am not trying to detract from these aids in the least, but at the price point they sit, I was expecting less than I got. They performed much better than I thought I had any right to expect.
Setting Them Bad Boys Up
Probably doing this a little arseways, talking about the aids and experience before set-up, but here we go. The set-up was simple but presented me with one or two issues. None of which were insurmountable or amounted to anything other than damn Bluetooth.
I installed the app, then began the pairing and testing process. The app asks you safety questions before it starts to understand if you may have a problem beyond their scope. I like this, every process should be like this as it is designed with customer safety in mind.
If you answer affirmatively to the questions, it tells you that you should contact a professional. Again, safety built-in. Initially, the app connected to both aids, but then stubbornly refused to test my hearing on one aid. I restarted my phone, something I usually do whenever I install a new hearing aid app, but hadn't here.
After the restart, everything went swimmingly, the app connected to both aids and brought me through the testing process to a conclusion. The app is easy to use and has clear explanations for the functions included. It is a simple enough process and even if you are not familiar with apps, I think it is self-explanatory.
The app is the centre of your experience and you can see the home screen above. It shows everything at a glance including the programme you are in, battery state, the volumes you are set etc. It also has the different areas of the app that are important to your experiences such as the rewards programme, the support feature, your device settings and some in-depth and helpful faqs in the help section.
In my next article, I will explore the app and the consumer experience offered. It is worth dedicating a singular article to that. To end this article, I will say, I thought these would be decent enough aids backed up by an interesting customer experience. I was not wrong, the aids sound good and considering the price point, they offer more than I expected.
They are a manual hearing aid, having said that, the app makes it easy to make discreet changes on the go so that isn't a big issue. The sound experience, in general, was very good, I was very happy with the support they gave me in the different situations that I found myself in, admittedly, not down the pub, unfortunately.
On my sound experience alone, I don't think I would hesitate to recommend these to someone. The subscription model also makes it easy for the unsure consumer just to give them a good try. They don't offer everything I would want from a hearing aid, no Bluetooth audio streaming apart from their remote microphone. The app doesn't offer me in-depth control of my sound, having said that, I was happy enough wearing them.
I will follow up with an article on the app and the Lexie experience. Just a quick heads up, I thought both were pretty damn good. For some of you out there, it may seem strange that I am supportive of concepts like Lexie Hearing considering my stance on professional hearing care and Real Ear Measurements. In fact, I will remind you of that stance when I sign off.
I do believe the best way forward for you is a professional fit and best practice hearing care. I am honest enough to realise that many hearing aid users aren't getting it. I also believe that we need to address consumer needs and find a way to help them in the manner that suits them. Lexie Hearing is the first of the providers I have seen trying to do that safely.
They don't have all the answers yet, but you can believe they have thought about the questions. I think as they and their system evolve they will incorporate more technology to ensure the best consumer experience, and for that, I am happy to support them.
More than that, it is not for me to tell you as a consumer what you can and can't have access to, or how you have that access. I believe it is my job to arm you with the best, honest advice so that you can make the decisions yourself. With that in mind, I hope it is clearer why my opposing beliefs are not quite a dichotomy.
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