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.

 

Connectivity

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.

 

Connectivity

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

 

Oticon Opn Hearing Aid Review

 

 

Oticon Opn Review

oticon opn hearing aid review

 

 

Oticon has a well-earned reputation of producing high quality hearing aids that deliver exceptional sound quality.

Opn™ is Oticon’s latest generation of hearing aids built on its new Velox™ sound processing platform and includes two new innovations: a new sound processing approach called “open sound” and direct audio streaming with internet connectivity.

 

 

“Open sound” 

Opn™ employs a new sound processing approach Oticon calls “open sound”.  The new 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.  Over the years directional microphone technology has improved and today offers excellent performance in challenging situations.  In fact research has shown that the speech understanding of wearers with hearing aids featuring narrow directionality (used in Siemens binax hearing aids) was significantly better than even normal hearing people in challenging environments*

Opn™ 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.   See below video for more information.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=971ZqMF_2HM&t=24s

 

Direct Streaming

appOpn™ 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™ 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

Opn™ is the first hearing aid that can connect to the emerging “internet of things“. Opn™ connects to the Internet via If This Then That (IFTTT.com), a web service that automates other web-based functions to make life easier. Users can connect to a wide range of IFTTT-enabled devices used in everyday life such as door bells, baby monitors, and thermostats. Opn™ provides wearers with a solution that will enable them to use their hearing aids with a growing number of IFTTT-compatible products and services as they become available.

Our Conclusion

Our experience with our clients fitted with Opn™ is overall sound quality is excellent.  In challenging situations for most clients it does provide a good balance of speech clarity and sound quality whilst maintaining situational awareness.  For clients where speech clarity is the main priority, we have found that competitive systems (e.g. Phonak Belong and Signia Primax) using narrow directionality provides better overall speech clarity.  The direct streaming capabilities of the Opn™ are excellent with reported high stability and excellent sound quality.

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

Oticon Opn™ is currently available in receiver-in-canal models across three performance levels: 1, 2 and 3. Opn™ 1 is the premium model (released in Australian in May 2016). Opn™ 2 and 3 are high-end/mid range models (released in Australia in November 2016).

 

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

  • Premium: Opn™ 1 – $3690
  • High-end: Opn™ 2 – $2990
  • Mid-range: Opn™ 3 – $2100

 

 

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

 

 

*Two clinical studies have shown that binax provides better than normal hearing in certain demanding environments (University of Northern Colorado, 2014; Oldenburg Hörzentrum, 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.