Signia Insio Charge&Go AX Hearing Aid Review

Signia Insio Charge AX Review – The convenience of lithium-ion rechargeability now in custom in-the-ear hearing aids

In a relatively brief period, lithium-ion rechargeability has become the standard battery power for hearing aids.  The reason for its popularity comes down to three major advantages over disposable, zinc-air batteries.

  • Ease of management – usage is much more convenient as there is no need for weekly, fiddly battery changes
  • Cost savings – no ongoing battery costs which can be significant when powering today’s high performance wireless hearing aids.
  • Reliability – integrated lithium-ion batteries, means the hearing aids’ housing is sealed, so there is less chance of dust/dirt and moisture ingress.

The majority of behind-the-ear (BTE) and receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids are rechargeable.  However, the vast majority of in-the-canal (ITC) hearing aids are still powered by disposable, zinc-air batteries.  In fact, until recently there was only one mainstream brand offering a rechargeable ITC; Starkey with their Livio ITC.  

 

In November 2021, Signia joined Starkey by offering a high-performance rechargeable ITC called Insio Charge&Go AX.  There are three major reasons why we believe Insio C&G significantly raises the performance bar in terms of ITC hearing aids.

 

 

Reason 1 – Insio C&G AX uses wireless or contactless rechargeability. 

This is the same technology used on the latest smartphones whereby to initiate charging, phones can simply be placed on compatible wireless charging pads. Similarly, Insio C&G AX wearers do not need to connect a charging cable or line up battery charging contacts, they simply need to place their hearing aids into the charger.   

Due to Insio C&G AX’s custom-made shape (individualised for the wearer), the hearing aids need to be pushed into a silicon cushion in the charger to ensure the hearing aids are orientated correctly for optimal charging.  

 

Another advantage of wireless charging is improved reliability.  Insio C&G AX’s lithium-ion battery is effectively sealed in the housing, meaning there is no battery compartment improving moisture resistance.  In fact, the Insio C&G AX has an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of 68 making it more water resistant.

 

Reason 2 – Insio C&G AX uses Signia’s latest Augment Xperience (AX) sound processing technology.

 

This processing is very different from the approach of traditional hearing aids which process sound in a single stream or track.  The hearing aids include two sound processing chips, each capable of processing a separate track or stream of sound. 

 

 

One stream is for in front of the wearer, Signia calls this the Focus Stream and one stream for around the wearer, they call this the SoundScape Stream.  Just like during movie production, in real time, the hearing aid analyses both the Focus Stream and the SoundScape Stream, then recombines them in a way that optimises speech clarity, while maintaining a natural ambiance. 

 

Reason 3 – The Insio Charge&Go AX hearing aids offer improved connectivity options, increasingly more important in today’s connected world. 

Insio C&G AX supports direct streaming from both compatible Apple (Made for iPhone) devices and Android (ASHA) devices.  Of course, wearers can still purchase the popular StreamLine TV and Streamline Mic solutions to further enhance the functionality of the hearing aids. 

 

In addition, the hearing aids are compatible with the free Signia app. The app offers not just remote control but a Signia Assistant which uses its AI deep neural network to offer immediate support whenever users need to adjust their settings.

 

 

Our Conclusion

In-the-ear custom hearing aids are popular with many hearing aid wearers.  It is great to see that wearers can now benefit from rechargeability in this style.  Since its launch Sounds of Life has fitted a number of Insio Charge&Go hearing aids with good results.  The hearing aids are fully featured and do not compromise on performance..  The only potential negative is the internal rechargeable battery module is larger than traditional disposable batteries.  As a result the hearing aids are built slightly larger than if they were using disposable batteries which may not be ideal for clients wanting optimal discretion.

 

The Insio Charge&Go AX range is currently available for sale at Sounds of Life.

Premium – Insio BT RIC 7AX – $3900

High-End – Insio BT RIC 5AX – $3450

Mid-Range – Insio BT RIC 3AX – $2690

 

About Sounds of Life

Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

  • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
  • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

 

 

If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

    Your Name (required)

    Your Phone Number (required)

    Your Message

    Additional pensioner discount available – call us for information

     

     

     

     

    Signia Styletto AX Hearing Aid Review

    Signia Styletto AX Review – Hearing aids have never looked so good

    In October 2021, Signia will be launching in Australia its 4th generation Styletto hearing aid; Styletto AX.  In addition to an upgraded design, improved connectivity, longer lasting rechargeable battery, Styletto AX uses Signia’s latest audiological processing engine Augmented Xperience (AX for short).   The Styletto AX hearing aids are available in three performance levels: Premium – 7AX, High-end – 5AX and Mid-range – 3AX. 

     

    In 2018, Signia redefined what hearing aids could look like with the release of the original Styletto and its new distinctive slim-receiver-in-canal (slim-RIC) design.  Designed with style in mind, and to appeal to a younger audience, Styletto was an attempt to change the image of hearing aids and reposition them as high tech earwear.  Styletto AX has come a long way since the original Styletto so let’s take a deep dive into the new Styletto AX.

    Signia Styletto AX

    Audiological Processing

    Styletto AX uses Signia’s latest sound processing engine; Augmented Xperience featuring new technology called Augmented Focus.  Discussed in detail in the review of Signia Charge&Go AX, this technology users two sound processing chips, each capable of processing a separate track or stream of sound to ensure speech is clear and the background soundscape natural. 

    Just like in the movies, where the sound engineer mixes different sound tracks to create contrast, so that both the dialogue and background soundscape are audible, so viewers experience the intended ambiance of the scene, Augmented Focus does a similar mixing and optimisation process.  The technology processes independently the audio stream from in front of the wearer; Focus Stream, from the audio stream for around the wearer; SoundScape Stream.  In real time, the hearing aid analyses both the Focus Stream and the SoundScape Stream, then recombines them in a way that optimises speech clarity, while maintaining a natural ambiance. 

    Rechargeability

    The rechargeable performance of Styletto AX has been improved over its predecessor.  Its lithium-ion battery can deliver up to 17 hours of use per charge.  There are now two charger options available with Styletto AX; Portable and Dry&Clean.

    The very popular Portable charger is small and designed to fit in the pocket or handbag.  Inside the Portable charger is a powerbank with the capacity to provide full three chargers of the hearing aids, before the charger itself needs to be recharged.  This can be done via connection to USB-C or via Qi wireless charging. 

    The Dry&Clean charger features a dehumidifying and UV sanitising functionality.  Very useful if the hearing aids are being used in challenging humid environments.

    Portable
    Dry&Clean

    Connectivity

    The Styletto AX hearing aids offer improved connectivity options, increasingly more important in today’s connected world.  In addition to supporting direct audio streaming from Apple (Made for iPhone) devices, it now allows direct streaming from Android devices that support the ASHA protocol (Audiostreaming for hearing aid).  Of course, wearers can still purchase the popular StreamLine TV and Streamline Mic solutions to further enhance the functionality of the hearing aids.  In addition, the hearing aids are compatible with the free Signia app. The app offers not just remote control but a Signia Assistant which uses its AI deep neural network to offer immediate support whenever users need to adjust their settings.

    Our Conclusion

    Sounds of Life has always been a fan of Styletto’s design – it does look cool.  However, in many ways the original Styletto put style ahead of substance, with many compromises in terms performance including no Bluetooth support.  This really impacted the popularity of the device particularly with the younger hearing impaired.  In our opinion, these performance compromises have been addressed over three iterations of Styletto and the latest Styletto AX is as fully-featured as any hearing aid on the market.  We believe Styletto AX is a fantastic option for anyone who is proud of their hearing aids and want to show off their high tech earware!

    The Pure Charge&Go AX range is currently available for trial at Sounds of Life.

    Premium – Styletto BT RIC 7AX – $3600

    High-End – Styletto BT RIC 5AX – $3150

    Mid-Range – Styletto BT RIC 3AX – $2390

    About Sounds of Life

    Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

    • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
    • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

    We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

    If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

    Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

      Your Name (required)

      Your Phone Number (required)

      Your Message

      Signia Pure Charge&Go AX Hearing Aid Review

      Signia Pure Charge&Go AX Review – Enhancing the wearer’s experience

      In May 2021, Signia launched in Australia the Pure Charge&Go AX hearing aid range on Signia’s latest sound processing engine; Augmented Xperience platform (AX for short).  The Pure Charge&Go AX hearing aids are available in three performance levels: Premium – 7AX, High-end – 5AX and Mid-range – 3AX.  Before we talk about the hearing aids, lets have a look at Signia’s new sound processing engine Augmented Xperience.

      If you regularly go to the movies, for most people the dialogue is always clearly audible.  No matter the scene of the movie, whether it is set in a nightclub, a busy street or even a war zone, you can always hear the dialogue.  This is no accident.  The filmmakers go to great lengths to ensure the dialogue is clearly audible.  This is done by recording multiple soundtracks.  A soundtrack with the dialogue and separate soundtracks for the background sound (e.g. background street noises), let’s call this the SoundScape. 

      During production, these separate soundtacks are re-combined with the dialogue soundtrack.  The volume of the dialogue soundtrack is then precisely set at a level relative to the SoundScape soundtracks, to create the perfect amount of contrast, so the dialogue is clearly audible.  Moviegoers can then clearly hear the dialogue as well as hear the SoundScape and experience the intended ambience of the movie scene.

      Signia’s new sound processing engine; Augmented Xperience adopts the same approach with a new technology called Augmented Focus.  The hearing aids include two sound processing chips, each capable of processing a separate track or stream of sound.  One stream is for in front of the wearer, Signia calls this the Focus Stream and one stream for around the wearer, they call this the SoundScape Stream

      Just like during movie production, in real time, the hearing aid analyses both the Focus Stream and the SoundScape Stream, then recombines them in a way that optimises speech clarity, while maintaining a natural ambiance.  For example, in less challenging situations, like hearing at a table in a quiet café, the hearing aids may provide equal amplification to the Focus Stream (speech form the table) and the SoundScape Stream (background noises in the Café) to create a natural experience for the wearer.  Alternatively, in more challenging situations, like conversing with a friend on a busy city street, the hearing aids may reduce the volume of the Soundscape Stream (busy street) relative to the Focus Stream (conversation partner), so the hearing aid wearer can hear their conversational partner clearly.

      This Augmented Xperience approach is very different from the approach of traditional hearing aids.  Traditional hearing aids process sound in a single stream or track.  Although such systems use advanced directional microphone and noise reduction technology to try to enhance speech in challenging situations, there is often much more of a compromise made, either by reducing or compromising audibility of the SoundScape, therefore reducing ambiance, or alternatively reducing or compromising speech clarity, therefore not understanding the conversation.

      Models

      Pure Charge&Go AX

      The Pure Charge&Go AX hearing aids are Signia’s smallest rechargeable hearing aids to date.  There are two Pure Charge&Go AX models; the small Pure Charge&Go AX and the slightly larger Pure Charge&Go AX T.  The Pure Charge&Go AX T features a higher capacity battery and a telecoil for connection to loop systems.

      Rechargeability

      With every generation, Signia improves the rechargeable performance of their hearing aids.  The Li-ion power cell of Pure Charge&Go AX delivers up to 24 hours of use on a single charge including 5 hours of streaming.  The larger Pure Charge&Go T AX delivers an impressive 36 hours of use on a single charge including 5 hours of streaming.

      In terms of charging options, there are three different models available: (1) Standard (2) Portable and (3) Dry&Clean

      Standard
      Portable
      Dry&Clean

      The Portable charger is small and designed to fit in the pocket or handbag.  Inside the Portable charger is a powerbank with the capacity to provide full three chargers of the hearing aids, before the charger itself needs to be recharged.  This can be done via connection to USB-C or via Qi wireless charging. 

      The Dry&Clean charger features a dehumidifying and UV sanitising functionality.  Very useful if the hearing aids are being used in challenging humid environments.

      Connectivity

      The Pure Charge&Go AX hearing aids offer improved connectivity options, increasingly more important in today’s connected world.  In addition to supporting direct audio streaming from Apple (Made for iPhone) devices, it now allows direct streaming from Android devices that support the ASHA protocol (Audiostreaming for hearing aid).  Of course, wearers can still purchase the popular StreamLine TV and Streamline Mic solutions to further enhance the functionality of the hearing aids.  In addition, the hearing aids are compatible with the free Signia app. The app offers not just remote control but a Signia Assistant which uses its AI deep neural network to offer immediate support whenever users need to adjust their settings.

      Our Conclusion

      Over the last three months, Sounds of Life has fitted a number of Pure Charge&Go AX hearing aids.  One area of feedback that is always interesting is the impressions of experienced hearing aids wearers upgrading to this new technology.  Based on their experiences they have reported that their Augmented Xperience hearing aids are delivering improved speech clarity combined with a more natural surround.  They also appreciate the improved rechargeable runtime with the portable charger being particularly popular. 

      The Pure Charge&Go AX range is currently available for trial at Sounds of Life.

      Premium – Pure C&G BT RIC 7AX – $3600

      High-End – Pure C&G BT RIC 5AX – $3150

      Mid-Range – Pure C&G BT RIC 3AX – $2390

      About Sounds of Life

      Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

      • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
      • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

      We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

      If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

      Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

        Your Name (required)

        Your Phone Number (required)

        Your Message

        2021 Hearing Aid Buying Guide – Download for FREE

        2021 Hearing Aid Buying Guide – Download for FREE

        The 2021 Hearing Aid Buying guide is a valuable resource for consumers who are considering purchasing hearing aids.  If you are considering getting your first set of hearing aids or perhaps upgrading your current hearing aids, this free guide will assist you in ensuring you get the most appropriate hearing aids for your individual needs and lifestyle without spending a fortune.  Download the guide below:

        2021-Hearing-Aid-Buying-Guide-eBook

        Although audiology is a highly specialised field, every day more and more Australians are seeking hearing services. This trend is set to continue with the relative prevalence of hearing loss increasing with Australia’s aging population.

        As a result of a growing market it is not surprising that corporate chains, including manufacturers, have taken an interest in the Australian market.  In fact 90% of hearing clinics in Australia are either owned by a hearing aid manufacturer or part of a corporate chain which deals with only a limited number of hearing aid brands.

        The implication of this for the consumer is that they may not be getting the best technology, as clinicians do not have access to all available technology.  In addition, these corporate entities are often set-up to provide incentives to push the more profitable product lines, blurring the line between care provider and sales person. In fact, in March 2017, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) released a report “Issues around the sale of hearing aids” to encourage the industry to reconsider commissions, disclosure and sales practices in the context of the Australian Consumer Law.

        This guide was developed by a group of independent audiologists that are passionate about audiology and achieving great outcomes for clients. Central to our philosophy is that we believe that great outcomes are only achieved when the client can make educated decisions about their hearing health after considering their individual preferences, needs and values.

        If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

        Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

          Your Name (required)

          Your Phone Number (required)

          Your Message

          About Sounds of Life

          Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

          Oticon More Hearing Aid Review

           

           

           

           

          Oticon More Hearing Aid Review – Giving a new perspective on natural sound

           

          This month was the global launch of Oticon’s new premium hearing aid range called: More.  Oticon More uses a new chip called Polaris and is marketed as the world’s first hearing aid that uses a deep neural network (a type of artificial intelligence) to deliver a more personalised and natural experience for wearers.  Oticon has a well-earned reputation for producing high quality hearing aids that deliver a natural sounding wearing experience.  Oticon continues this pursuit for natural sound with the new Oticon More.

           

          So, what is a deep neural network?

          Before we answer that question, lets have a look at how most hearing aids currently operate.  People with hearing loss have more difficulty hearing in challenging situations (e.g. background noise) than people with normal hearing.  Therefore, to adequately compensate for hearing loss, hearing aids need to not only amplify sound, but to enhance target speech relative to background sounds i.e. to improve contrast or what audiologists call signal-to-noise ratio.  This is no easy task, as many situations are acoustically complex and an individual’s listening environment is constantly changing.

          Current hearing aid technology manages this by adapting their features based on algorithms.  An algorithm is a set of pre-defined instructions, like a recipe, designed to deliver a specifically programmed outcome.  If the hearing aids detect and classify a specific situation (or set of circumstances), an algorithm will be activated.  For example, a simple algorithm might be that if background noise volume is detected and it reaches a certain level, the hearing aids’ directional microphone is switched on to enhance the target speech.  However, for those of you who are amateur cooks, know that by having the recipe certainly does not guarantee success!  For example, you may select the incorrect ingredient(s) or the incorrect amount of ingredient(s).  This also applies to hearing aids.  Using the same example above, the hearing aids may have incorrectly classified the acoustic situation (ingredients) by assuming the increased volume was background noise, when it in fact was simply the target speaker increasing the volume of their voice.

          We all know that successful cooking requires more than having the recipe and the correct ingredients.  MasterChefs hon their skills over many years through trial and error to perfect their dishes.  This is where artificial intelligence and deep neural networks come in.  A deep neural network does not only work according to algorithms but can also predict a solution for a task and make conclusions using its previous experience.  So, like a MasterChef, the hearing aids learn over time and with experience get better!

          Oticon More™ Is The World's First Hearing Aid To Let You Hear All Relevant Sounds Thanks To An On-board Deep Neural Network

           

          Oticon More is designed to replicate normal natural hearing by giving wearers access to the full sound scene with clear contrast and balance.  To achieve this Oticon trained the More hearing aid’s deep neural network with 12 million real-life sound scenes.

          During operation, the hearing aids scan the environment 500 times per second and then precisely organise the sounds around the user utilising the Deep Neural Network’s vast training.  Oticon believes this process delivers a more natural sound experience that creates contrast and balance between the sounds in the environment.

           

          It should be noted that the Deep Neural Network used in Oticon More is not a live system i.e. it does not use the real-life experience of the individual wearer to further enhance the hearing aids’ performance.  Currently there are two manufacturers on the market that do offer such a “living” artificial intelligence system: Signia (Signia Assistant) and Widex (SoundSense Learn).  If wearers are not happy with their hearing aid setting, they can use Signia Assistant or SoundSense Learn to recommend a setting based on the up-to-date collective experiences of many users around the world who were in similar situations.  Using an App that connects in real time to a portal, recommended settings with proven success are then programmed into the wearers hearing aids and they are given the opportunity to test then rate their success with these new settings, further enhancing the accuracy of the system.

          Oticon More miniRITE R

          At launch Oticon More will be initially available in one model only: miniRITE R, across three levels of technology (Premium More 1 & More 2 and High-end More 3).  The miniRITE R is a stylish and discreet rechargeable receiver-in-canal device.  It features a double-push button to control the volume and adjust programmes.

          Key Features:

          Oticon More | Give your clients access to all relevant sounds

          • Expanded Bluetooth Connectivity – Wearers can enjoy a a range of connectivity possibilities, like streaming music, talking on the phone, and using the Oticon ON App to control the hearing aids. Wearers can directly stream audio from Apple devices (supporting the Made for iPhone standard) and selected Android devices (supporting the ASHA standard).
          • Lithium-ion Rechargeability – Wearers can fully charge their hearing aids in just 3 hours.  Wearers can expect a full day’s use from their hearing aids.
          • Water and dust resistant – the hearing aids are IP68-certified to be dust tight and protected against ingress of water, which means they are designed to be worn in all daily life situations

           

          Our Conclusion

          Oticon has a well-earned reputation of producing high quality hearing aids that deliver a natural sounding wearing experience.  In March 2019 Oticon launched an upgrade to its successful “Opn” hearing aid range (released back in 2016) called “Opn S”.  Oticon continues this pursuit for natural sound with the new Oticon More.  We continue to be impressed with Oticon Opn S’s sound quality.  We expect this to be enhanced further with Oticon More.   However, for clients where speech clarity is the main priority, we have found that competitive systems (e.g. Phonak Paradise and Signia Xperience) using narrow directionality provides better overall speech clarity.

          Sounds of Life is currently looking for volunteers to trial the new Oticon More.  It is expected that Oticon More will be released in Australia in January 2021.

           

          About Sounds of Life

          Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

          • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
          • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

          We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

           

          If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

          Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

           

            Your Name (required)

            Your Phone Number (required)

            Your Message

             

             

            Phonak Paradise Hearing Aid Review – Delivering a Blissful Hearing Experience

             

             

             

             

            Phonak Audeo Paradise Hearing Aid Review – Delivering a Blissful Hearing Experience

             

            In September 2020, Sounds of Life will be releasing Phonak’s new high performance hearing aid range named: Phonak Paradise Audeo.  Phonak Paradise is the successor to the hugely popular Phonak Marvel hearing aid range.  In fact, during the first 12 months of release, Phonak Marvel sold over 1 000 000 units worldwide.   Its popularity was not surprising to us.  In our previous review of the Phonak Marvel we highlighted how it is rare for a hearing aid company to be offering leading technology in all three key technology areas:

             

            1/ Bluetooth connectivity

            2/ Audiological performance

            3/ Rechargeability

             

             

            Phonak Paradise further improves on these key areas, however as a successor to Marvel it can really be viewed as as more of an evolution rather than a revolution.  Lets have a look at these improvements in detail starting with Bluetooth Connectivity.

             

            Bluetooth Connectivity

            Phonak Paradise hearing aids, like its predecessor Marvel, feature Universal Bluetooth connectivity.   They can wirelessly stream audio (to both hearing aids) to and from any device capable of streaming audio via Bluetooth.   This includes any of the following:

            • iPhone and iPad
            • Android, Windows, Blackberry, and other Bluetooth-enabled phones and tablets
            • Mac, Windows, Linux, and other Bluetooth-enabled computers
            • Any other device with Bluetooth audio streaming

             

            This “Made for All” technology is still unique in the industry due to the fact it required the internal development of a new special wireless chip called SWORD (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital).  In Phonak Paradise, this chip has been upgraded to a new chip called Prism (Processing Real-time Intelligent Sound Management).   Direct streaming in other hearing aids is currently limited to Apple devices (Made-For-iPhone technology) with two exceptions, ReSound and Starkey who support direct streaming from selected Android devices supporting the ASHA standard.  It should be noted that it is expected that Widex and Signia will be releasing ASHA compatible hearing aids early 2021.

            In Paradise, the wireless functionality has been upgraded further and can now support pairings to up to eight devices with active connections to two devices (e.g. you can stream music from a computer and if a phone call comes through you can simply answer the phone and immediately hear the audio).  One of the nice things about taking phone calls, is that the caller’s name can be set to be announced (as per the listing in the phone) through the hearing aids.

            Like its predecessor Marvel, Paradise offers hands-free phone calls.  This means the wearer does not need to speak into the phone.  The wearer’s voice is picked up by the hearing aids’ microphones and sent through the smartphone (other hearing aids require the phone to be held up and the voice picked up by the microphone on the smartphone).   This hands-free experience is improved further in Paradise with the new tap feature.  By simply double tapping (the ear/hearing aid) the phone call will be answered.  When done with the call, the double tap will hang the call up.

             

            For television watching, wearers can experience high quality audio wirelessly streamed directly from Bluetooth-enabled TVs into their Phonak Paradise hearing aids, transforming them into wireless headphones.   For non-Bluetooth TVs, an optional Phonak TV Connector accessory can be purchased and connected to the television.

            Phonak has also updated its myPhonak smartphone app.  The app can be used to adjust basic hearing setting such as change programs and volume.  In addition, wearers can create their own custom programs for specials situations.  The app also supports remote care whereby wearers can allow their hearing care professional to fine-tune their hearing aids remotely, when they are away or unable to come to the clinic.

             

            Audiological Performance

            Phonak Paradise uses an upgraded sound processing technology Phonak calls AutoSense OS 4.0.  This technology identifies and automatically adapts to the various situations (and varying acoustic environments) wearers experience in their everyday life.  Relative to Marvel this technology has been updated and now includes motion sensors.  This enables the hearing aids to determine whether the wearer is moving or not, to better adapt the technology to meeting the wearer’s hearing needs.  For example, when a wearer is walking the hearing aids will provide more awareness of the surroundings.  Paradise also features an updated speech and noise management system including the new features; speech enhancer and dynamic noise cancellation.   These new features further enhance the hearing aids’ noise suppression and speech enhancement capabilities.  Combined with a new adaptive compression system, Phonak Paradise hearing aids deliver outstanding speech clarity in challenging situations with background noise.

             

            Rechargeability

            Phonak offers a lithium-ion rechargeable model option called the Audeo P-R.  The Phonak Audeo P-R  offers wearers the convenience of not having to regularly change batteries.  At the end of the day, wearers simply need to put their hearing aids in the charger case and over night they will be fully recharged (a full charging cycle takes approximately five hours).  After charging, when the hearing aids are removed from the charger case they conveniently turn on automatically.

            Phonak offers three charging case versions:

            • The Phonak Standard Charger Case (pictured)
            • The Phonak Mini Charger Case  which is a compact charger
            • The Phonak Charger Case Combi which is a charger, drying kit and protective hard case, all in one.  A Phonak power pack can be attached to the Charger Case Combi enabling recharging on the go (no need for a power connection).

            In terms of battery life, with no Bluetooth streaming, wearers can expect the Audéo P-R to last 24 hours on a single charge. With Bluetooth streaming (4 hours of TV streaming plus 4 hours of Bluetooth streaming), wearers can expect 16 hours of total use time.  The rechargeable battery is expected to last around 6 years before it will need to be replaced.

            .

            Models

            Phonak Paradise is currently available in both standard and rechargeable receiver-in-canal (RIC) models: Phonak Audeo P-312, Phonak Audeo P-13 and a Phonak Audeo M-R (rechargeable).   The Phonak Paradise RIC hearing aids are available in four performance levels (P90/P70/P50/P30) from Sounds of Life and are priced from $1490 each.

            Non-Rechargeable (size 312 and Size 13)

             

            Premium – Audeo RIC P90 $3400 
            High-End – Audeo RIC P70 $2990
            Mid-Range – Audeo RIC P50 $2190
            Entry-Level – Audeo RIC P30 $1490

             

             

            Rechargeable (Lithium-ion)

             

            Premium – Audeo RIC P90-R $3600 
            High-End – Audeo RIC P70-R $3150 
            Mid-Range – Audeo RIC P50-R $2390
            Entry-Level – Audeo RIC P30-R  $1695

             

             

            Our Conclusion

            Phonak Paradise is a successor to Marvel, and although it can really be viewed as more of an evolution rather than a revolution, we believe it delivers industry-leading performance in the key areas of audiological performance, Bluetooth connectivity and rechargeability.  Over the last two years, Sounds of Life has fitted hundreds of Phonak Marvels with excellent results.  Phonak has listened to its customers with further audiological and usability improvements and we believe Phonak Paradise will provide outstanding results for wearers.

             

            About Sounds of Life

            Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

            • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
            • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

            We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

             

            If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

            Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

             

              Your Name (required)

              Your Phone Number (required)

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              Signia Styletto X Hearing Aid Review

               

               

               

              Signia Styletto X Review – From Stigma to Statement

               

              Sounds of Life got the opportunity to be one of the first clinics in Australia to test Signia’s third-generation Styletto hearing aid technology called “Styletto X”.  The Styletto X uses Signia’s latest sound processing platform called “Xperience”.

              Like its predecessors, Styletto X is designed to transform the image of hearing aids from medical devices that people reluctantly wear, to high-tech HearWear that people desire!  To achieve this Styletto X has focused on three important areas that people desire in all their consumer electronic devices these days: (1) Good design (2), Connectivity and (3) Rechargeability.

               

               

              Good Design & Styling

              The Styletto X design concept incorporates a unique slim-RIC shape which is a significant shift from traditional hearing aid styling and shaping.  This is made possible by the use of a rod-shaped rechargeable lithium-ion battery which enables Styletto X to be much slimmer and sleeker than traditional hearing aids.

              Compared to previous generations, the overall design of Styletto X hearing aids have not changed substantially, however there are some minor improvements.  Firstly, unlike its predecessors where the receiver was fixed to the housing, Styletto X has a detachable receiver.  There are three advantages to this.  Firstly, it means Signia is able to offer more flexibility in terms of receiver (wire) lengths (increases compatibility with different sized ears).  Secondly, the Hearing Care Professional has the possibility to connect different receiver powers ( S, M and P) depending on the wearer’s hearing loss.  This means Styletto X is suitable for hearing aid wearers with mild to severe hearing loss.  The third advantage is that the hearing aids are easier to repair.  The most common failure in hearing aids is the receiver.  If this occurs, the receiver can easily be removed and replaced in the clinic, without having to send the entire hearing aid off to Signia for an “open case” repair.

              Signia’s portable rechargeable case has also received a small design update.  The lid has been redesigned to make opening easier and to improve the  visibility of the LED lights which indicates the hearing aids’ charging status.

               

              The Styletto X’s colour range has also been expanded relative to its predecessors from three to five colour combinations: Black & Silver, Cosmic Blue & Rose Gold, Snow White & Rose Gold, Two-tone Black and Two-tone White.  These colours are delivered with a beautiful high-quality brushed-metal finish with the Signia logo embossed into the housing.

               

               

              Connectivity

              The Styletto X features the same Bluetooth connectivity technology as its predecessor, Styletto Connect.  For hearing aid wearers that regularly use the phone or enjoy listening to audio from their mobile devices, wireless connectivity to consumer electronic devices, like smart phones, is a highly desirable feature.   The Styletto X features Made for iPhone “low-energy” Bluetooth connectivity for direct wireless connection to Apple iPhone and iPads.  When using this technology, the hearing aids become virtual wireless headsets enabling wearers to stream audio wirelessly into their ears.  This means wearers can experience phone calls without having to hold the phone up to their ears.  In addition, they can enjoy watching movies and listening to music as if their hearing aids were wireless headphones.

               

              For non-Apple users, wireless audiostreaming to their Styletto X hearing aids is also possible, but requires the purchase of an additional accessory called StreamLine Mic.  The StreamLine Mic facilitates a “Classic” Bluetooth connection to virtually any Bluetooth device and then wirelessly streams audio to the hearing aids using a proprietary “low-energy” Bluetooth connection.  One of the other advantages of the Streamline Mic is that it can be turned into a remote microphone.  If wearers need to listen to a speaker at a distance e.g. at a lecture, they can give the Streamline mic to the speaker and it will be able to wirelessly stream audio directly into the hearing aids at a distance of up to 15 metres.

              Another useful accessory that Styletto X wearers can purchase is the StreamLine TV.  StreamLine TV connects to the television and streams high quality Dolby digital audio, wirelessly into wearers’ Styletto X hearing aids.  For wearers that watch television regularly this is a must have accessory.  Streaming can flexibility set-up with a variety of options.  For example, it can be set-up so it streams TV audio only (with the hearing aid microphones muted) or streams TV audio with the hearing aid microphones active (so the wearer can hear both the television and environmental sounds).

               

              Rechargeability

              Styletto X  is powered by an integrated lithium-ion battery providing 19 hours of wearing time per charge (16 hours if doing 5 hours of Bluetooth Streaming).  The Signia Styletto X uses a cleverly designed portable carry case with an integrated lithium ion power bank.  It is designed for portability in mind for people “on the go”.  The carry case is so small it can be put in the wearer’s pocket while it recharges their Styletto X hearing aids.  To recharge Styletto X, wearers simply need to insert their Styletto X’s into the carry case and they will be fully charged in 3 hours.  If wearers are running low and do not want to do a full charge, a quick 30-minute charge will provide wearers 5 hours wearing time (3 hours if streaming).  The carry case’s internal lithium-ion battery provides enough capacity to offer three full charges of Styletto X before itself needing recharging. This means that if wearers are going on a short camping or business trip, they can have up to four full day’s autonomous “plug-free” use (do not need to carry extra cords or a power supply).

              In addition to the design improvements mentioned above, the charging case now supports wireless charging via the Qi standard.  So if wearers already have a charging pad for their mobile phone supporting Qi, then they can simply place the Styletto X charging case on the pad and it will charge.  Alternatively the charging case can be charged via USB C.

               

              Signia Smartphone App

              Styletto X hearing aids are designed to be fully automatic.  They adapt their settings in different sound environments to ensure wearers experience natural and clear sound.  However, most wearers do desire the ability to adjust the settings of their hearing aids in certain situations.

              Unlike most hearing aids on the market, the Styletto X does not feature any physical controls on their housings.  This decision was made obviously to keep their design sleek and slim.  Instead Styletto X has been designed to be operated remotely.  This can be achieved by purchasing the optional miniPocket remote control or downloading for free the Signia Smartphone App.  The Signia App is compatible with both Apple phones as well as selected Android phones.  Compatibility with Android phones is limited.  A list of compatible devices can be found here: https://www.signia-hearing.com.au/signia-app

              The Signia App allows wearers to remotely control features of their Styletto X hearing aids.  Wearers can remotely change basic features such as volume, treble as well as access different programs for different situations.  In addition, in challenging and special situations, wearers can access and control advanced features like the direction they want the hearing aids’ microphones to face, as well as how directional they want the microphones.  This functionality is highly beneficial in very noisy situations where speech understanding is challenging.

              The Signia App also features a new digital assistant technology called “Signia Assistant”.  Signia Assistant is a tool hearing aid wearers can use to personalise their hearing aids, when they are away from their Hearing Care Professional.  In specific situations where the hearing aid wearer feels they are not hearing optimally, they can use the Signia Assistant to guide them to better hearing.  This is done immediately at the time and at the place they are having difficulty hearing.

              Using the Signia Assistant, the wearer simply needs to select the problem they are having.  The assistant will then analyse the acoustic environment they are in, to better understand their listening needs.  The assistant will draw on information from cloud about successful solutions, to similar problems, in similar environments, from the experiences of thousands of users worldwide.  Then using the power of “machine learning”, the Assistant will propose a solution that is most likely to solve the wearer’s problem.  Wearers can simply apply this solution using one click in the Signia App, at which point their hearing aids will be updated.  They also have the option to “improve further”,  to increase the degree of change proposed by the Signia Assistant.  Alternatively, if they feel the proposed setting was not effective, they have the option to “discard” these new settings.

               

              Performance

              Styletto X uses Signia’s latest “Xperience” sound processing platform (“X” for short).  Wearers can expect outstanding sound quality and speech clarity even in challenging situations.  The main new innovation with this new platform is Signia’s integration of motion sensors into the sound processing chip.  The motion sensors complement a comprehensive range of acoustic sensors that enable Styletto X hearing aids to not only analyse the wearer’s current acoustic environment, but also how they are interacting within this environment.  This information is used to better understand the wearer’s listening needs (and what matters to them) and dynamically adapt the performance of the hearing aid to meet the wearer’s changing needs.

              Styletto X supports full binaural sound processing using a full wireless audio link between bilateral hearing aids; left and right.  This binaural processing delivers some very useful features include:

              Own Voice Processing – the Styletto X’s can detect when the wearer is speaking and automatically adjust its sound processing, so the wearer perceives their own voice more naturally (less “boomy” or “echoey”).

              Narrow Directionality – in situations with a lot of background noise, the Styletto X’s adapt their directional microphones to focus in on the speaker to the front.  In challenging situations with a lot of background noise, the Styletto X’s can provide extremely narrow directionality.  This technology is highly effective at reducing background noise.  In fact, the speech understanding of wearers with moderate hearing loss have been shown to outperform normal haring in noisy “cocktail party” like situations*. This feature operates automatically, but wearers can also control the width and direction of the beam via the Signia smartphone App (described above).

               

              Conclusion

              Styletto X is a very exciting hearing aid.  Stigma is a significant issue preventing a lot of people with hearing loss wearing and benefiting from hearing aids.  Styletto X’s stylish and fashionable design will likely appeal to many people that may have been reluctant previously to wear hearing aids due to their look.  While possibly addressing the reluctance of many people from wearing hearing aids, the Styletto X’s do not compromise on performance.  They feature the very latest high performance audiological features as well as full Bluetooth connectivity.  In addition their design is highly practical design (with portable lithium-ion rechargeability) which will appeal to active people “on the go”.

              Styletto X come in three performance levels: Styletto 7X (Premium), Styletto 5X (High-End) and Styletto 3X(Mid-Range).  Sounds of Life’s pricing for Styletto X can be found here.

               

              If you are interested in a free trial of Styletto please contact Sounds of Life on:

              1300 744 432

               

              About Sounds of Life

              Sounds of Life audiology is a member of Audiology Australia and Independent Audiologist Australia. We adhere strictly to Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics.   We pride ourselves on:

              • Being fully independent – We are not owned or operated by a hearing aid manufacturer or large chain.
              • Ethical Practices – We are focused on providing the highest level of care and do not pay commissions.

              We also follow the Australian Government Hearing Services’ protocol for hearing services.

               

              If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

              Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

               

                Your Name (required)

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                Your Message

                 

                *Two independent clinical studies have shown that binax can even exceed normal hearing in certain challenging hearing situations (University of Northern Colorado, 2014; Oldenburg Hearing Center, 2013): Speech Reception Thresholds (SRT) in cocktail-party situations improved up to 2.9 dB for wearers with mild to moderate hearing loss using Carat binax or Pure binax hearing aids with narrow directionality, compared to people with normal hearing.

                Widex Moment Hearing Aid Review

                Widex Moment Hearing Aid Review

                Pure Natural Sound

                Widex has just released its latest hearing aid range on its new premium hardware platform; Widex Moment.   The Widex Moment is the successor to Widex’s Evoke hearing aid range.  The main unique selling point of the Widex Moment hearing aid range is that it offers wearers an improved wearing experience by significantly enhancing the hearing aid’s sound quality.

                One of the challenges for wearers of hearing aids, particularly first time wearers, is that the hearing aid wearing experience is not like normal, natural hearing.  Although the hearing aid significantly improves speech clarity, for many wearers, the sound can be a little artificial.  The main reason for this artificial sound, is that sound processed through the hearing aid (processed sound) hits the eardrum slightly later than direct sound that has bypassed the hearing aid (unprocessed sound), e.g. sound that has come through the air vent or around the hearing aid.

                It is the combination of this processed and the unprocessed direct sound that causes a detrimental effect to sound quality.  Essentially the wearer is hearing the same sound twice, but with a slight time difference between the two (in the vicinity of 20-30 milli-seconds).  Although the slight difference between these two sounds is not significant enough to be perceived as a echo, it is still perceived as a distortion.  Hearing aid wearers will often comment that their hearing aids sound slightly distorted and/or metallic.  This effect is particularly noticeable for first time wearers.

                How do you make a hearing aid not sound like a hearing aid?

                The simple answer to this question is to make sure that the delay between the processed sound and the unprocessed sound is zero!  The concept is easy to understand, but extremely difficult to achieve.  Widex took up this challenge with their Moment hearing aid range.  They developed an ultra-fast processing path in the hearing aid chip that processes sound in less than 5 milli-seconds.   The end result is significantly improved sound quality, particularly in less challenging situations e,g, listening to speech and music in quiet situations.

                This ultra-fast processing is available to wearers in a dedicated program called PureSound.  The PureSound program is recommended for first time wearers and for experienced wearers in specific situations where optimal sound quality is desired.  However it should be noted that to achieve this ultra-fast processing, some advanced features such as directionality have had to be deactivated.  It is therefore expected that in some challenging situations (e.g. challenging, noise places), wearers would need to access their normal (standard processing speed) programs to get the benefits for the required advanced features (e.g. directional microphones).

                Watch the video below to learn more about the Widex Moment PureSound technology.

                Connectivity

                The new Moment hearing aids can be remotely controlled via the free “Moment App”.  This app is available free for Apple and Andoid phones.  Like its predecessor, the Widex Evoke range, the Moment App supports SoundSense learn.  This is a machine-learning technology that assists wearers to fine-tune and optimise their hearing aids in real-time in the situations they are having difficulty hearing.  This technology was explained in our detailed review of the Widex Evoke two years ago.

                The Moment features full wireless connectivity including “Made for iPhone” connectivity for direct wireless audiostreaming from Apple devices.  However it is rumoured that with a future software update, the Moment hearing aids will support direct Bluetooth audiostreaming with selected Android phone supporting the ASHA standard (Audiostreaming for hearing aids)  

                The Moment Hearing Aid Range

                The Widex Moment has been released across a number of RIC and custom styles, including: (1) mRIC D – lithium-ion rechargeable (pictured),  (2) RIC 10 – micro size RIC with 10A battery and (3) RIC 312 D – standard size RIC with 312 battery).  It should be noted that only the RIC 312D and mRIC D support “Made for iPhone” direct Bluetooth streaming.  This is denoted by the “D” in the product description.

                The new Moment mRIC D is Widex’s first lithium-ion hearing aid.  In fact, it is the smallest lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid on the market.  Lithium-ion rechargeability has been hugely popular with wearers, making the hearing aid wearing experience much easier and more convenient for many wearers as they do not have to do regular, fiddly battery changes.

                Our conclusion

                Since the development of the first digital hearing aid over 20 years ago, Widex has had a good reputation of releasing hearing aids with good sound quality.  Widex has taken this to a new level with the release of the Widex Moment.  We believe that these hearing aids will be very beneficial for first-time wearers or wearers that have previously rejected hearing aids because they did not sound natural.  It is also great to see that Widex has finally released a Lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid option.

                Sounds of Life offers the Widex Moment at Brisbane’s most affordable prices:

                Moment Lithium-ion Rechargeable Range

                Premium – Moment 440 mRIC R $4250 
                High-End – Moment 330 mRIC R $3500 
                Mid-Range – Moment 220 mRIC R $2500 
                Entry-Level – Moment mRIC R $1990

                Moment Standard 312 Battery Range

                Premium – Moment 440 RIC 312 $3990 
                High-End – Moment 330 RIC 312 $3250 
                Mid-Range – Moment 220 RIC 312 $2250 
                Entry-Level – Moment 110 RIC 312 $1750

                Moment Micro 10 Battery Range

                Premium – Moment 440 RIC 10 $3990
                High-End -Moment 330 RIC 10 $3250 
                Mid-Range – Moment 220 RIC 10 $2250
                Entry-Level – Moment 110 RIC 10 $1750

                Moment Custom Range

                Premium – Moment 440 ITE/ ITC $3990
                High-End – Moment 330 ITE/ ITC $3250
                Mid-Range – Moment 220 ITE/ ITC $2250
                Entry-Level – Moment 110 ITE/ ITC $1750

                About Sounds of Life Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands including Siemens, Signia, Phonak, Starkey, Unitron, Resound, Bernafon, Oticon and Sonic Innovations. Contact Us today on 1300 744 432

                Extending the life of hearing aid batteries

                Extending the Life of Hearing Aid Batteries

                Most hearing aids on the market today are powered by disposable zinc-air batteries.  For hearing aids to work properly, wearers need to replace their zinc-air batteries regularly, which can be quite costly over time.   In this article, we will discuss how to extend the life and get the best performance from zinc-air hearing aid batteries.

                Why do hearing aids use zinc-air batteries?

                There are two main reasons why zinc-air batteries are used in hearing aids.  Firstly, they have high energy density.  As hearing aids are designed to be small and discreet; it is important that they use batteries that are also small, but with enough capacity to run the hearing aid.  The energy requirements of a hearing aid far exceed that of other body-worn devices such as watches.  The second reason is that zinc-air batteries are relatively inexpensive to produce.  Given that zinc-air batteries often need to be replaced weekly, this is an important consideration.

                Currently there are four main sizes of zinc-air button-sized batteries on the market.  These batteries have a coloured sticker tab which represents the size of the battery.  These sizes and colour coding are standard in the industry.  The most common size used globally is size 312 (brown).

                How do zinc-air batteries work?

                Zinc-air batteries work differently from traditional AA or AAA batteries that may be lying around the house. Not only as they much smaller, being “button” sized, they have a different battery chemistry that requires air to operate.  They work by oxidizing zinc with oxygen from the air.

                You will notice that all zinc-air batteries have four fine holes on their positive side for this purpose.  Oxygen slowly passes through these holes once the sticker tab is removed.  As air enters the holes on the battery’s surface, the battery generates its power (see picture).

                Optimising the performance of zinc-air batteries

                There are several things you can do the optimise the lifespan of your zinc-air batteries.

                Firstly, only use fresh batteries, i.e. ensure batteries are used within their “use by” date.  Fortunately zinc–air batteries have a long shelf life if sealed to keep air out.  They can be stored for up to 3 years at room temperature with little capacity loss if their seal is not removed.  The performance of zinc-air batteries degrades significantly if past their use-by date.

                Secondly, allow enough “air up” time.  After the sticker tab is removed, allow the battery to sit for one minute before inserting the battery into the hearing aid.  This allows enough time for air to get into the battery.  Taking the tab off and immediately putting the battery in the hearing aid, limits the amount of air it is exposed to.  The consequence of this is that the battery may not work properly, as the voltage has not reached a level sufficient to power the hearing aid’s digital circuit.  If this happens, allow air to enter the battery (increasing its voltage) by opening the battery door.  After one minute, close the battery door.

                Battery Life Expectancy

                The expected life of a hearing aid battery in days, can have high variability depending on how often the hearing aids are used, the wearer’s hearing loss and what hearing aid features are being used (for example, Bluetooth streaming uses a lot of power).

                In summary wearers can expect

                Size 10:   3 – 10 days

                Size 312:   3 – 12 days

                Size 13:   6 – 14 days

                Size 675:   9 – 20 days

                For hearing aid wearers that like to test their hearing aid batteries, please be aware that although the package states a specific voltage (e.g. 1.45 volts), the tabbed voltage will be much lower (e.g. 1.1 – 1.3 volts).  After un-tabbing, voltage will rise enough to power a hearing aid.  The cell may need several hours to rise to maximum voltage.

                Best Value Hearing Aid Batteries in Australia

                At Sounds of Life we offer the best value hearing aid batteries in Australia.

                Check out our great prices on the premium Power One batteries.  We offer special bulk pricing of $27.50 for ten cards (sixty batteries).

                Batteries can be ordered directly from our website with free postage.

                https://www.soundsoflife.com.au/shop-online/

                Australia’s top-selling hearing aid battery brand, Power One is manufactured in the world’s largest and most up-to-date hearing aid battery plant in Ellwangen, Germany.  Power One batteries offer the highest quality and reliability, with an extremely long lifespan.

                If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

                Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

                  Your Name (required)

                  Your Phone Number (required)

                  Your Message

                  About Sounds of Life

                  Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.

                  Are Your Hearing Aids Working To Their Potential? The Importance Of Real Ear Measurements

                  ear measurements brisbane

                   

                   

                   

                  Are your hearing aids working to their potential?

                  The Importance of Real Ear Measurements

                   

                  The goal of a hearing aid fitting is to provide customised sound amplification that compensates for an individual’s hearing loss.  The basis for determining this customised amplification is an individual’s audiogram (hearing test).

                  For most individuals with hearing loss, the degree of their hearing loss varies across the different frequencies (pitches).  Consequently, a hearing aid needs to be programmed to provide the correct amount of amplification at each individual sound frequency to precisely compensate for the hearing loss.  For example, for age-related hearing loss, hearing will often be worse in the higher frequencies compared to the lower frequencies.  In such cases, a hearing aid would need to be programmed to provide more high frequency amplification.

                  First Fit

                  When setting up a hearing aid for the first time, the audiologist will do an initial programming of the hearing aids using the hearing aid manufacturer’s software.  This initial programming is called a “first fit” and uses the individual’s hearing thresholds (audiogram) to determine a predicted target amplification response and the hearing aids a programmed to match this target.

                  As the name suggests the “first Fit” is just the initial set-up.  To ensure the hearing aid is providing the correct amount of amplification at the individual’s eardrum, there are additional factors other than the individual’s audiogram that also need to be considered.  These factors include the physical characteristics of how the hearing aid is coupled to the individual’s ear (e.g. ear mould), as well as the physical properties of the individual’s ear canal (e.g. shape).

                   

                  Everybody’s ears are different and both the ear mould and ear canal shape can significantly influence amplified sound.  An accurate hearing aid fitting needs to consider all these factors so that the hearing aid provides the exact amount of amplification at the ear drum.  To do this an audiologist should conduct real ear measurements (also called probe microphone measurements or insertion gain) and fine-tuning.

                   

                  Real ear measurement and fine-tuning

                  real ear measurementsFollowing the “first fit”, audiologists should measure the hearing aid’s amplification in the ear canal close to the ear drum.  This involves placing a tube called a probe-tube, deep into the ear canal, approximately 12 mm from the ear drum (tympanic membrane).  This tube is connected to a sensitive microphone and has the role of measuring sound levels near the ear drum.  With the hearing aid inserted and turned on, the audiologist can then make accurate measurements at the eardrum of how much the hearing aid is amplifying sound across the range of frequencies. Based on these real ear measurements, the audiologist can then fine-tune the hearing aid to provide the optimal amplification response to optimise speech clarity and wearing comfort.  Further fine-tuning may also be done based on the individual’s personal sound preferences.

                  Real ear measurements are an important procedure to ensure that hearing aids are precisely programmed and customised to account for both an individual’s hearing loss and their physical anatomy.   Unfortunately to save time, many hearing clinics do not use real ear measures and simply rely on the “first fit” in the hearing aid manufacturer’s software.   If you are in the process of getting hearing aids make sure you request your audiologist use real ear measurements.

                  At Sounds of Life Audiology we quite regularly see clients who have purchased hearing aids elsewhere who are unhappy with their performance.  One of the first things we will do is conduct some real ear measurements to see what the hearing aids are doing.  Often these measurements reveal that the hearing aids were not programmed properly for the client.  By simply reprogramming and fine-tuning the hearing aids based on the real ear measurement results we are often able to solve the client’s problems without them having to invest in a new set of hearing aids.

                  At Sounds of Life we believe in providing hearing aids that are fully customised and optimised for wearers.  We use real ear measurements as a standard procedure for every hearing aid fitting.  It is only by doing this can we be sure we are making the most of the impressive hearing aid technology that is available today.

                  If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.

                  Contact us today on 1300 744 432 or via our contact form below:

                   

                    Your Name (required)

                    Your Phone Number (required)

                    Your Message

                     

                    About Sounds of Life

                    Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist.  We offer transparent and affordable hearing aid pricing on quality hearing aids (including virtually invisible hearing aid technology) from the world’s leading brands.