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:


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:

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    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.

    Signia Xperience Hearing Aid Review




    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.


    Audiological Performance

    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.


    Our conclusion

    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

    Starkey Livio AI Hearing Aid Review




    Starkey Livio AI Hearing Aid Review


    Do you remember when a mobile phone was just a phone, only used to make phone calls and to communicate?  Then smartphones came along, including popular models like the Apple iPhone, transforming the way people used their mobile phone.

    Today, mobile phones are used not only to make and receive phone calls, but also, for endless other applications including web browsing, photo/video recording, personal navigation, music and video streaming.  Many of these functions are the result of the smartphone’s significant computational power, their range of sensors (e.g. magnetometer, gyroscope and accelerometer) and their support for wireless technologies (such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi) for connection to the internet and other devices.

    The new Starkey Livio AI hearing aids (released in Australia in early 2019) are being promoted by Starkey as the hearing aid equivalent to the smartphone.  Like smartphones they are designed to be multifunctional devices, transforming what hearing aids currently do, by offering more than just better hearing.  In addition, to offering the latest hearing aid amplification technology, they also support a broad range of functionality, particularly in the area of general health.

    The Starkey Livio AI hearing aids use a brand-new chipset with embedded sensors.  These embedded sensors are used to monitor the wearer’s movement and the hearing aids use   this information to support several interesting features:

    Health Monitoring

    The Starkey Livio AI also uses the embedded sensors to monitor wearer’s physical activity.  The hearing aids come with a free app health app called the Thrive App. The Thrive App is downloadable from the Apple App Store of the Google Play store.  The appt is designed to measure both physical and cognitive health through two measurements; Body score and a Brain score.

    The Body score is calculated through a combination of activity, steps and overall movement. This information is tracked daily and accessed easily in the Thrive app.   The Brain score is calculated through a combination of hours of hearing aid use, social engagement and the tracking of active listening.


    Fall Detection

    The Starkey Livio AI also uses the embedded sensors to be able to detect falls.  Falls are a significant problem with the elderly.  When the hearing aids detect a fall, a notification is sent (via the mobile phone) to a pre-set loved one, so they know that the hearing aid wearer has taken a fall.


    Other New Features

    In addition to offering innovative features like Activity/Health Monitoring and Fall detection, the embedded sensors are also used to make the general management of hearing aids easier.  Normally when wearers want to adjust their hearing aids (e.g. adjust the volume), they must manipulate small controls (like switches) on the hearing aids.  This can be quite challenging for elderly users.  Starkey utilises these embedded sensors to offer a new feature called Tap Control.  Wearers can control their hearing aids by simply tapping the hearing aids.  This makes management a lot easier for wearers.

    The Starkey Livio AI also offers real-time language translation through the Thrive app.  When communicating to someone in a foreign language, the person needs to simply ask the person to speak into the phone.  The Thrive App will then translate the language and then the translated audio will be streamed into the wearer’s hearing aids.   Currently this feature is only supported on Apple phones and when we tested it, it seemed quite buggy and unreliable.



    Like most modern hearing aids, Starkey Livio AI support 2.4Ghz communication between the hearing aids and smartphones.   This includes offering “Made for iPhone” technology, where wearers can directly wirelessly stream audio into their hearing aids.  This is useful for taking phone calls or streaming music.  However, this technology is only available on Apple phones.  Android users will require an optional remote microphone accessory.  The accessory acts like a relay station to facilitate audio-streaming from any device supporting classic Bluetooth.  In addition, wearers can purchase a television streamer, to directly stream the audio from their television, wirelessly into their hearing aids.


    Available Models

    Starkey Livio AI is currently available in four models

    RIC R – Rechargeable Lithium-ion receiver-in-canal model

    RIC 312 – 312 battery powered receiver-in-canal model

    RIC 13 – 13 battery powered receiver-in-canal model

    BTE 13 – 13 battery powered behind-the-ear model


    Our conclusion

    We think it is exciting to have a hearing aid that does more than just improve people’s hearing.   The Starkey Livio AI offers several new and innovative features that are attractive and useful for some wearers e.g. fall detection.  However, ultimately people wear hearing aids to improve their hearing.  It is therefore crucial that hearing aids deliver the best sound quality and sound clarity in all situations including challenging situations with background noise.  Although Starkey Livio AI has some interesting and novel technology, we feel that in the area of audiological performance it lags behind Phonak, Unitron and Signia.  This is particularly evident in their directional microphone technology, which is particularly important for hearing clearly in challenging, noisy situations.


    Sounds of Life offers the Starkey Livio AI at Brisbane’s most affordable price:

    • Premium: Starkey Livio AI 2400 – $4800

    Lithium-ion rechargeable model is available (extra cost)


    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


    Oticon Opn S Hearing Aid Review




    Oticon Opn S Review


    Oticon has a well-earned reputation of producing high quality hearing aids that deliver exceptional sound quality. In March 2019 Oticon launched an upgrade to its highly successful “Opn” hearing aid range (released back in 2016) called “Opn S”.

    Opn S is available in three levels of technology (Premium Opn S 1 & Opn S 2 and High-end Opn S 3) across four hearing aid models/styles:

                • Opn S Mini RITE
                • Opn S Mini RITE T (includes t-coil)
                • Opn S 13 BTE
                • Opn S Mini RITE-T Li-ion (lithium-ion rechargeable)


    Oticon’s “Open sound” Approach

    Like its predecessor, Oticon Opn S uses Oticon’s Velox™ sound processing platform and employs a sound processing approach Oticon calls “open sound”.  This approach attempts to improve both sound quality and speech clarity whilst maintaining situational awareness in challenging situations where there are multiple speakers in background noise (e.g. holding a conversation with a group at a table in a busy restaurant).

    Traditional hearing aid technology delivers speech understanding in such situations by focusing on one speaker using directional microphone technology.  Directional microphones focus on speech coming from the front while suppressing the rest of the sound environment.  This improves speech clarity from the front, however can adversely impact situational awareness as well as speech from other directions.

    Opn S focuses on delivering both speech clarity and natural sound experience in challenging, complex situations.  The goal being to enable wearers to hear speakers they want to hear (no matter where they are located relative to the wearer), while suppressing unwanted background noise so its audible but not disturbing.  It is understood that Oticon uses high-speed processing with a clever combination of directionality and noise reduction processing.

    One of the upgrades of the Opn S over its predecessor is dramatically improved feedback cancelling.

    What is feedback?

    Feedback is the whistling noise that occurs when sounds from your hearing aids escape and are re-amplified by the hearing aid (can occur if wearers put a phone to their ear or give someone a hug).  Oticon hearing aids have in the past struggled with feedback, however, the Opn S range did reduce the problems.  See below video for more information.


    Direct Streaming

    appOpn S supports direct wireless audio streaming technology enabling wearers to wirelessly connect directly to their iphone without the need for an intermediary device hanging around their neck.  Phone calls are clearer since the sound goes straight into their ears and background sound is automatically lowered.  Wearers can also listen to televisions, stereos and basically any device that has Bluetooth.

    Oticon also offers the free downloadable Oticon ON App that allows wearers the ability to discreetly control their Opn S hearing aids. The app is simple and elegant and can be used to control hearing aid volume and other useful features including:


    • Remote microphone – wearers can use their phone’s microphone instead of their hearing aids’ microphones. In situations where the wearer is at a distance to the sound source, the phone can be placed near the sound source (e.g. during a lecture their phone could be placed near the lecturer for improved speech clarity)
    • Management Features Wearers can check the current battery level of their hearing aids.  In addition they can access hearing aid instructions as well as a “Find my hearing aid” feature should they misplace them


    Our Conclusion

    We continue to be impressed with Oticon Opn’s  sound quality.  We expect this to be enhanced further with the improvements made to the Otion Opn S’s feedback management system. However, for clients where speech clarity is the main priority, we have found that competitive systems (e.g. Phonak Marvel and Signia Nx) using narrow directionality provides better overall speech clarity.  The direct streaming capabilities of the Opn S are excellent with reported high stability and excellent sound quality.  The new new lithium-ion rechargeable option ;Opn S Mini RITE-T Li-ion, is a great addition to the Oticon range.  In our experience, the lithium-ion rechargeable models are the easiest hearing aids for wearers to manage in the industry.

    Sounds of Life would recommend the new Opn S to anyone who is active and regularly find themselves in challenging listening situations and who also require direct audio streaming capabilities.



    Sounds of Life offers the Oticon Opn S at Brisbane’s most affordable prices:

    • Premium: Opn™ 1 S – $3790
    • High-end: Opn™ 2 S – $2990
    • Mid-range: Opn™ 3 S – $2300

    Lithium-ion rechargeable models are available (extra cost)



    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


    Free hearing aid trial service



    Take advantage of Sounds of Life’s FREE hearing aid trial service.  Don’t be stuck with hearing aids that don’t meet your needs!


    There are no arguments about it, good hearing aids are not cheap.  Hearing aids are a significant investment.  However, this investment can be life-changing!

    How do you ensure your hearing aid investment works for you, so you are not stuck with hearing aids that don’t meet all your needs? 

    subsidised hearing aids pensioners

    At Sounds of Life we offer our clients the opportunity to trial for free, a range of recommended hearing aids.  This “trial before buy” approach gives you the opportunity to not only trial hearing aids in your real world (not just in the clinic), but also to experience the benefits of different features and functionality available across a range of hearing aid models.

    During your first appointment, Sounds of Life will comprehensively assess your hearing and work with you to understand your personal needs and preferences.  Sounds of Life will then recommend several hearing aid models that meet your requirements.  You will then have the opportunity to trial these different hearing aid models for a period for free, so you can determine which model best matches your unique needs and lifestyle.

    At Sounds of Life you only pay for the hearing aids when you are 100% satisfied that are meeting your expectations and requirements.

    Why are hearing aid trials important?

    Before making the important decision to purchase hearing aids, it is critical that wearers are confident that they can successfully wear hearing aids, and that the hearing aids are meeting all their hearing needs.

    prices of new hearing aids

    1. Trials provide wearers the opportunity to experience the true benefit of hearing aids in their real world (not in the sterile clinic which is normally very quiet). Wearers can test all the features and functionality of their hearing aids to ensure the hearing aids are successful in improving their hearing challenges.
    1. Trials provide wearers the opportunity to acclimatise to their hearing aids to ensure that the sound quality is optimal, and the hearing aids can be worn comfortably without irritation.  For most people, their hearing has declined gradually over many years, so the initial experience of hearing aids can be a little surprising, so a period of regular use is required to achieve a level of acclimatisation to sound amplification.





    Contact us today on 1300 744 432 

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      Fully-Subsidised Hearing Aids For Pensioners



      Do you know eligible pensioners can access fully-subsidised hearing aids


      pensioners hearing aids brisbaneDid you know that if you are an Australian pensioner and have a hearing loss, you may be eligible for fully-subsidised (no gap) hearing aids under the Commonwealth Hearing Services program?

      Eligible pensioners receive

      FREE hearing assessments

      FREE hearing rehabilitation

      FREE digital hearing aids, or SUBSIDISED advanced digital hearing aids

       Are you eligible?  Ring Sounds of Life on  1300 744 432


      Sounds of Life Special for Pensioners!

      Sounds of Life is offering the very latest Signia digital hearing aids free-of-charge (fully-subsidised) for eligible pensioners.

      Recently released, the new Signia 1 primax is loaded with the latest advanced hearing aid technology and is available free-of-charge for eligible pensioners through the Australian Government’s Office of Hearing Services Program.

      The Signia 1 primax RIC uses breakthrough technology that is able to focus in and single out the person’s voice you are trying to listen to while reducing unwanted voices and background noise. It is invisible to the eyes when worn and has a comfortable fit – you’ll forget you’re even wearing hearing aids.

      Normally only available as a partially-subsidised (top-up) hearing aid, Sounds of Life is offering the Signia Pure 1 primax FREE (fully-subsidised with no gap) for eligible pensioners

      To find out more ring Sounds of Life on  1300 744 432


      The Sounds of Life Difference

      subsidised hearing aids pensioners

      Sounds of Life is a leading independent hearing care provider with four locations across South-East Queensland (Toowong, Caboolture, Clayfield and Fortitude Valley).

      We are accredited to provide hearing aids under the Commonwealth Hearing Services program.  We offer our clients:

      • Access to all leading government-funded hearing aid technologies across all brands
      • The ability to trial both fully-subsidised (free) as well as partially subsidised (top-up) hearing aids
      • Highly personalised service where you will see the same audiologist for every appointment

      Being independent means Sounds of life has access to the best technology, no matter the brand.   We are therefore able to offer you the best available hearing solution for your individual preferences and circumstances.  If your priority is for your hearing aid to be discreet and unobtrusive we have virtually invisible hearing aid options.  If your priority is ensuring you achieve the best possible hearing in challenging situations (e.g. when you are out and about) we have hearing aids with latest directional microphone technology.

      Sounds of Life Audiology is a leading, independent hearing aid specialist with clinics in Brisbane and now in Caboolture.  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 

        Your Name (required)

        Your Phone Number (required)

        Your Message

        Will Hearing Aids Help My Tinnitus (Ringing In The Ears)?

        hearing aid clinic brisbane



        Will hearing aids help my tinnitus (ringing in the ears)?

        tinnitus brisbane


        “Can you hear that ringing?”

                        “What ringing?”



        You’re not imagining things and you are definitely not alone!  Up to 20% of Australians experience tinnitus, a sensation of internal noise when no external sound is present.  It is most often described as a ringing, humming, buzzing or whistling.  While tinnitus is not a disorder itself, it is an indication of something amiss in the hearing system – somewhere between the ears and brain something is not right.

        For most people, tinnitus does not greatly affect their lives in any physical way, but can have extensive psychological effects.  Annoyance or irritation at constant noise can increase stress levels, trouble falling asleep from intrusive noise can lead to sleep disturbances and the noise can be a distraction from tasks, especially where it is a new phenomenon.

        When tinnitus is a new symptom, it’s a good idea to be assessed by a qualified independent audiologist to rule out any significant medical causes.  Sometimes it will be temporary – such as a build-up of wax or following exposure to extremely loud noises (concerts are a common culprit!) – but sometimes it will be permanent or associated with another medical condition, such as Meniere’s disease.

        If the tinnitus is likely to be permanent, the focus will be on managing the condition, rather than any specific treatment.  Your audiologist may advise you to avoid excessive noise, cease certain medications (only under medical supervision, of course) or stimulants (coffee can worsen tinnitus in some people), or practice stress management techniques that focus on diverting attention away from the tinnitus.

        Where simple management techniques are not enough, you may need more assistance.  One way is through the use of hearing aids that have a special program designed to mask or balance the internal sounds you perceive.  A properly fine-tuned hearing aid will reduce the strain of trying to listen over the sound of internal ringing and can amplify external sounds that compete with the internal noise.

        While tinnitus is often associated with hearing loss, this is not always the case.  An experienced audiologist will be able to assess your hearing and discuss the impact that tinnitus is having in your life.  A simple hearing aid can make a tremendous difference in reducing the negative impact of tinnitus, regardless of whether you have any hearing loss at all.


        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

        Hearing Aid Controls – Automatic Or Manual?

        automatic of manual hearing aids



        Do you prefer automatic or manual hearing aid controls?


        automatic hearing aid controls brisbane

        Just like people have preferences for automatic or manual transmissions on their cars; hearing aid wearers also have preferences on how they want to interact with their hearing aids.  This article looks at the automatic and manual control options available on modern hearing aids.

        The idea of an automatic hearing aid is that its “wear and forget”; the wearer simply puts it in their ear, turns it on and then the hearing aid does all the hard work, ensuring good speech clarity and natural sound in every situation the wearer encounters (whether its watching television, talking to a friend in a noisy restaurant, enjoying music or even talking on the phone).




        Almost all hearing aids have technologies that to some degree make them “automatic”. However there is a wide range of technologies available from very basic (meaning that you probably need to manually adjust the hearing aids regularly) to highly sophisticated (meaning that you rarely need to manually adjust the hearing aids).  The two main core technologies that support this are:

        1/ Multi-channel Compression – standard on all hearing aids these days, compression adjusts the amount of volume (or as audiologists call it “gain”) of the hearing aid, depending on the environmental sound level.

        The impact of compression is that for soft sounds, like soft speech, the hearing aid increases its volume.  For loud sounds, like loud speech, it decreases volume.  Compression acts like an “automatic volume control” adaptively adjusting the volume of the hearing aid depending on the loudness of the situation.

        Multi-channel compression means the compression is acting independently in multiple frequency areas (known as channels or frequency bands).  More channels generally mean a more natural listening experience.  Basic hearing aids will use only 4-6 channels, while the most advanced will use over 20 channels.

        2/ Automatic situation classification – it is one thing to adapt to the loudness of the sound in the environment, it’s another thing to adapt to the specific type of acoustic environment the wearer is in.  Most hearing aids these days will classify the situation the wearer is in and turn different hearing aid features on and off to improve speech clarity and sound quality.  For example, if a noisy situation is detected the hearing may turn on automatically noise reduction processing and the directional microphone system.

        Basic hearing aids with automatic classification will be able to automatically detect basic situations such as “quiet”, “noise”, “speech in quiet” and “speech in noise”.  More advanced hearing aids will be able to detect more complex situations such as “music” and “in the car”.  In addition, more advanced hearing aids will have access to higher performance features for better speech clarity and sound quality.

        A good automatic classification system will not only be able to accurately detect specific situations but be able to activate beneficial features as fast and as smooth as possible to ensure a natural listening experience.

        Manual (over-ride) control:

        Although good quality modern hearing aids are designed to work automatically, research indicates that approximately 50% of hearing aid wearers still want to possess control over their hearing aids via manual controls.  Wearers have access to manually controlling a wide range of features in many different ways.

        Most hearing aids will provide the wearer with the ability to manually adjust volume and programs (different settings the audiologist has programmed into the hearing aids).  More advanced hearing aids will provide wearers manual access to a whole lot of additional features such as muting,  treble, bass and different types of directionality.  These features can be accessed in a wide variety of ways including physical controls on the hearing aids, dedicated remote controls and even via smart phone apps.

        One emerging hearing aid technology that is increasing in popularity is “learning” technology.  The hearing aid learns the wearer’s individual preferences for settings and features based on their manual adjustments over time.  Learning technology combines the benefits of both automatic and manual controls to achieve a highly personalised setting.  Learning technology is available in more advanced hearing aids.


        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




        Phonak Virto B Titanium – Sounds of Life Reviews Phonak’s Smallest Ever Custom hearing aid

        phonak virto b reviews


         Sounds of Life reviews the Phonak Virto B Titanium


        phonak virto b pricesThis month Phonak launched its new ultra-discreet, micro hearing aid range called Titanium.  The Titanium range is available in both a completely-in-the canal (CIC) hearing aid style and the smaller invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aid style.  The name Titanium refers to the fact that the new shell material Phonak is using to manufacturer the hearing aid is titanium.

        Traditional custom hearing aids use an acrylic shell.  These shells are made using a 3D-printer from a 3D image of the wearer’s ear canal.  To achieve smaller designs, such as CIC and IIC styles, manufacturers have had to build the shells to be thin so all the electronic components could fit in.  Unfortunately, this has resulted in a reduction in robustness.  For many users of IICs they often find their shells break (or crack) regularly requiring repair.


        Instead of acrylic, Phonak has chosen to use medical grade titanium as the shell material.  The titanium material addresses the above issue, so that the hearing aids can be both ultra-discreet and robust.  Like traditional acrylic, the Phonak Titanium shells are manufactured by a 3D printer from images of the wearer’s ear canal.  However, the shells are far more durable and lightweight than acrylic.  By using titanium, Phonak can achieve a much thinner shell while increasing durability.  In fact the new titanium shell is half the width of traditional acrylic shells, yet 15 times stronger.  In addition, the Phonak Titanium hearing aids have achieved an IP68 rating for resistance to both water and dust.

        In addition to this new shell material, the Phonak Titanium uses smaller electronic components.  The combination of having a thinner shell and smaller components not only means the overall hearing aid design is smaller, but there is also more room for venting.  For most hearing aid fittings, adequate venting is critical to eliminate the “occlusion effect”, the blocked up feeling that occurs when hearing aids are worn, particularly common in wearers with high frequency hearing loss.  Phonak claims that using smaller components and the new titanium shell material they can reduce the size of their IIC hearing aid by up to 26%.



        The new Phonak Virto B Titanium is being released on Phonak’s latest generation platform: Belong.  The Belong platform features Phonak’s new AutoSense operating system.  According to Phonak, the new AutoSense OS analyses the soundscape every 0.4 seconds and adaptively manages an array of features to create 200 distinct settings to manage different sound environments.   Users also have the option of manually adjusting programs via a program change control integrated into the battery door.

        Sounds of Life’s Phonak Titanium pricing

        The Phonak Titanium is a fantastic hearing aid solution for clients wanting a discreet, virtually-invisible hearing aid solution.  Currently it is available at two performance levels: Premium B90 and High-end B70.  As an introductory special, Sounds of Life is offering the Titanium at the following prices:

        Premium- Titanium CIC/IIC B90 $3890

        High-End- Titanium CIC/B70 $2990

        Fitting and follow-up consultation fees apply: Binaural $380/Monaural $280

        The product come standard with a three-year warranty and 3-year free care package from Sounds of Life.

        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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          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.



          Does Hearing Loss Cause Brain Function Decline?

          hearing loss side effects


           Does hearing loss cause brain function decline?


          hearing loss clinic brisbane

          Hearing loss can have a number of social and health impacts including reduced quality of life and well-being.

          According to a study by Assistant Professor Lin at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, older adults with hearing loss are also more likely to develop problems thinking and remembering than older adults with normal hearing.

          Using repeated cognition tests over six years, researchers at John Hopkins School of Medicine found that cognitive abilities of subjects with hearing loss declined 30 percent to 40 percent faster than subjects with normal hearing. The levels of this cognitive decline were correlated to the degree of hearing loss.

          “Our results show that hearing loss should not be considered an inconsequential part of aging, because it may come with some serious long-term consequences to healthy brain functioning,” says Assistant Professor Lin.

          In another study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, the impact of using hearing aids on cognitive decline was investigated.  The study showed that adults with hearing loss who wore hearing aids experienced less cognitive decline than those who did not wear hearing aids.  If fact the hearing aid wearers performed as well as adults with normal hearing.

          Although more research is needed to determine the degree in which hearing loss impacts cognitive decline, these studies highlight another potential impact of untreated hearing loss.


          If you feel hearing loss is impacting your life contact Sounds of Life.  For the month of March, Sounds of Life is offering FREE hearing screenings for adults over the age of 50 years.

          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.

            Johns Hopkins Medicine. Hearing Loss Accelerates Brain Function Decline in Older Adults. 2013 

            Amieva et al (2015) Self-Reported Hearing Loss, Hearing Aids and Cognitive Decline in Elderly Adults: A 25-year Study. Published in The American Geriatrics Society