Signia Xperience Hearing Aid Review
Hearing What Matters to You
Signia has just released its latest range of hearing aids on its new premium hardware platform; Signia Xperience. Signia Xperience hearing aids promise to deliver a much more personalised sound experience for wearers.
People live active lives. Using new world’s first acoustic-motion sensor technology, Signia Xperience hearing aids are able 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 as their needs change.
In this review, we will be having a look at this new ground-breaking acoustic-motion sensor technology and how it is being used to give hearing aids a new sense. This is very much a paradigm shift in hearing technology so we will start by having a look at how current hearing aid technology adapts to wearers when their listening situation changes.
How hearing aids adapt to changing listening situations
For the hearing aid wearers, hearing can go from easy to virtually impossible in a matter of seconds as they move from one place to another. For example, for some hearing aid wearers hearing 1 to 1 conversation in quiet can be quite easy, however, hearing in a busy restaurant can be very difficult.
Like an automatic car that changes gears to adapt to the driver’s speed, all modern hearing aids are designed to operate automatically and adapt to the hearing aid wearer’s changing environment. They utilise a suite of technology (e.g. directional microphone and noise reduction technology) to enhance speech and reduce background noise when required. However, just like you don’t want your automatic car going into reverse as you are travelling down the highway at 100 km/h, it is important that the right hearing aid features are seamlessly activated and deactivated at the right time! Otherwise the sound quality of the hearing aids becomes unnatural and speech clarity is compromised.
In order to achieve this, modern hearing aids use an environmental classification system. They attempt to classify the environment based on its measured acoustics. Common classifications include “speech in quiet”, “speech in noise”, “noise only”, “music” etc. These classifications are used as a basis of what hearing aid features are turned on and off.
The limitation of traditional hearing aids
One limitation of traditional hearing aids is that they do not really know the needs of individual wearers. When a specific environment is classified, e.g. speech-in-noise, hearing aids adapt for all wearers in an identical way. They assume everybody in a specific environment has the same hearing needs. As we know, often this is not the case.
Imagine a busy city street with a lot of background noise. You could have two different people in the same environment with completely different hearing needs. Person One is walking down the sidewalk and crossing roads as they journey through the city. Their priority is good environmental hearing awareness, so they can safely navigate their journey (e.g. avoiding cars), rather than hearing the specific conversations of the people they pass by. Person Two is standing talking to their friend one-to-one on the sidewalk. Their priority is to hear their friend clearly and comfortably. To achieve these goals requires completely different hearing aid features.
World’s First Acoustic-Motion Sensor Technology
To better adapt to the hearing aid wearer’s needs, hearing aids need to understand more than just the acoustic environment they are in, they need to understand what the wearer is doing in that environment. The new Signia Xperience achieves this using new acoustic-motion sensors that gives the hearing aids a new sense. This information is the basis of a new approach to sound processing, Signia calls Dynamic SoundScape Processing.
Not only does Signia Xperience analyse and process more aspects of sound than ever before (to better understand the acoustic environment e.g. noise level, signal-to-noise ratio, direction and distance), it uses accelerometers to understand how the wearer is interacting in this environment (e.g. walking, running or standing). This information is used as the basis of better predicting the wearer’s hearing needs and ensuring the hearing aid provides optimal hearing support for these needs. Signia calls this YourSound technology.
In terms of audiological performance, the new Signia Xperience is market leading. It features Signia’s leading binaural sound processing technology, including its high-performance directional microphone system (narrow directionality and spatial speechfocus). This technology delivers outstanding sound quality and sound clarity in challenging situations with a lot of background noise.
Signia Xperience also features Own Voice Processing (OVP™) technology providing a more natural wearing experience. The benefit for the wearer is that their own voice sounds more natural without the audiologist having to turn the hearing aids down for all the other sounds the wearer wants to hear. This technology processes the wearer’s own voice, completely independent from all other sounds, including all other voices.
The new Xperience hearing aids can be remotely controlled via the free “Signia App”. This app is available free for Apple and Andoid phones. Like its predecessor the Nx platform, Signia Xperience features full wireless connectivity including “Made for iPhone” connectivity for direct wireless audiostreaming from Apple devices. Connectivity to other Bluetooth devices is achieved via the optional StreamLine Microphone. Wearers can also stream their television audio wirelessly into their hearing aids via the optional StreamLine TV accessory.
Hearing aid models
In the initial launch of Xperience, Signia is releasing two receiver-in-canal (RIC) models: Pure Charge&Go X RIC and Pure 312 X RIC.
Pure 312 X RIC
The Pure 312 X is Signia’s new slim-line fully featured RIC. It is highly versatile supporting four receiver powers (S, M, P and HP). Signia has advices that in December 2019, the Pure 312 X RIC can be upgraded with a telecoil allowing direct connection to look systems that are common in many public spaces e.g. cinemas.
Pure Charge&Go X RIC (available soon)
Pure Charge&Go X is Signia’s new lithium-ion rechargeable model with identical features to the Pure 312 X except it does not support the telecoil upgrade. For many wearers, Lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid technology is easier and more convenient to manage compared to disposable battery hearing aid models, as there is no need for weekly battery changes. The Pure Charge&Go X is charged in a supplied wireless (inductive) charger and takes 3-4 hours to fully charge. During the charging process the charger goes through a drying cycle to dehumidify the hearing aids.
The Pure Charge&Go X is 16% smaller than its predecessor on the Nx platform. In the past lithium-ion hearing aids were significantly larger than their disposable zinc-air battery counterparts. However, developments in lithium-ion battery technology means that they are now a similar size. In fact, even though Pure Charge&Go X is smaller, its battery capacity has been upgraded to now give wearers up to 23 hours wearing time.
We are very excited about the Signia Xperience range. Signia has delivered a number of audiological innovations over the last 5 years that have delivered significant benefits for wearers. In particular, their Own Voice Processing (OVP™) technology has significantly improved the wearing experience. We believe utilising motion sensor information will significantly improve how the hearing aids adapt to the wearer and further improving the hearing aids’ audiological performance. We are currently trialling the new technology with clients and will keep you updated on their progress.
Sounds of Life offers the Signia Xperience at Brisbane’s most affordable prices:
Premium – Pure 312 BT RIC 7X $3790
High-End – Pure 312 BT RIC 5X $2990
Mid-Range – Pure 312 BT RIC 3X $2190
Premium – Pure C&G BT RIC 7X $3990
High-End – Pure C&G BT RIC 5X $3190
Mid-Range – Pure C&G BT RIC 3X $2390
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