Starkey S Series: A review of its features
I’ve been wearing a pair of Starkey’s new S Series hearing aids for about a month now. I have the in-the-canal (ITC) model. On Starkey’s website they list the S Series’ main features. I’ve written a bit below about how each feature is working for me.
PureWave Feedback Eliminator
I have not had a single squeak of feedback. The feedback-elimination program was run when I had the aids fitted and they’ve been perfect since.
Acoustic Scene Analyzer
Speech is definitely clearer and easier to understand with the S Series. Voices are not so deep sounding and are less muffled. I quite often walk along next to a busy road during the day and the noise of the cars passing used to muffle the voices of the people I walk with – the S Series helps a lot to reduce the road noise and keep the focus on the voices.
I’ve written before about this feature, I think it’s a great idea. I don’t have it set up at the moment as I do not have a touch-tone mobile phone. The standard S Series gives your audiologist the ability to switch between T² or volume control via an on-the-shell knob – it is possible to have both the T² and volume-control option together but you need to ask for it before the aids are sent to Starkey for building.
The thing that most impresses me about the S Series is that I am can now localise sound much easier – i.e. I now know where voices are coming from! Meetings at work which had more than 4 or 5 people in used to be a nightmare for me because I could hear that someone had spoken and in most cases hear what they said but often I wasn’t able to quickly work out who said it because I didn’t know which direction the voice was coming from. The S Series has really helped to pinpoint voices for me – I’ve really noticed a difference, especially when more than one person is talking at once.
The noise reduction is good. This is really the first time I have used noise reduction so I don’t have anything to compare it against. As I’ve said before, road noise is now reduced but voice clarity remains – it’s easier to hear people when I’m travelling in the car with them. The noise reduction is sometimes noticeable when it changes, it is not a always completely seamless thing – if there’s a noise then it’s loud for a second and then your hear it reduce when the reduction kicks in. Having said that, I don’t find the noticeable reduction a problem and it’s not that often that it occurs.
Wind noise is still a problem for me. Not as bad as it used to be but I still have a problem understanding people in strongish winds.
The inbuilt indicators do a good job – most of them feature a voice rather than just a beep. You get someone in your ear telling you that your battery is low. Your audiologist can also program them to tell you when they are due for a service or you are due for a checkup, which is an easy way to remember. As you turn up the volume there’s a beep to let you know that you’ve gone up to the audiologist’s recommended volume setting, a good way to avoid over-amplification. You get a voice telling you which programme you have selected when you switch.
Last but not least the S Series has a self check feature – if you open and close the battery door 3 times the aid will self test and then tell you whether it is working correctly or not.
Automatic Telephone Response
There is a telephone programme that the aids switch to as you put the phone to your ear. I have found that voices are now clearer and a bit easier to hear with the S Series but I do still struggle, but considering the extent of my hearing loss this isn’t surprising.
Music & Television Processing
Can’t say I’ve noticed any major difference when watching TV or listening to music.
I’ve been really pleased with my S Series, they help me to hear better in a number of different situations. I haven’t tested them on different programmes yet, I always use the default setting – next time I’m at a party or a pub I’ll try out the programmer for that. I really want to try out the T² feature as well. I’m going to write another article about other things I’ve noticed with the S Series but here I wanted to try and give a user’s perspective on whether Starkey’s buzzword feature list make a difference – they do.