Signia Styletto Connect Review – High tech, stylish and now with Bluetooth connectivity
Late last year, Signia launched a new hearing aid concept called “Styletto”. Currently social stigma is one of the main reasons many people with hearing loss avoid getting hearing aids. Styletto’s revolutionary modern, stylish and fashionable slim-line design was an attempt to transform the image of hearing aids from a medical product, that people avoid, to high-tech hearwear that people desire (or at least accept wearing). Since its launch, Styletto has proved very popular particularly for first time wearers. However, Styletto’s lack of wireless Bluetooth audiostreaming functionality limited its appeal to people that regularly use mobile phones in their everyday life. This limitation was addressed with the launch of the Styletto Connect in 2019.
Styling & Design
The Signia Styletto Connect design concept is almost identical to that of the first Styletto. Like Styletto it has a unique slim-RIC shape which is a significant shift from traditional hearing aid styling and shaping. This is possible as the hearing aids do not use standard batteries, but rather use a rod-shaped rechargeable lithium-ion battery. This enables Styletto to be much slimmer and sleeker than traditional hearing aids. Its look and feel are very similar to the Styletto incorporating a beautiful high-quality brushed-metal finish with the Signia logo embossed into the housing. However, compared to the original Styletto, it features much more rounded edging which we believe refreshes the look.
Available in three colour combinations: Black & Silver, Cosmic Blue & Rose Gold and Snow White & Rose Gold (shown)
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. Styletto Connect supports Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The Styletto Connect 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 Connect 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 device that Styletto Connect wearers can purchase is the StreamLine TV accessory. StreamLine TV connects to the television and streams high quality Dolby digital audio, wirelessly into wearers’ Styletto Connect 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).
The Signia Styletto Connect uses the same recharging concept as the standard Styletto. The charger itself has been cleverly designed to be part of the carry case. It is designed for portability in mind for people “on the go”. It is the smallest hearing aid charger in the industry. The carry case is so small it can be put in the wearer’s pocket while it recharges their Styletto Connect hearing devices.
Styletto Connect’s lithium-ion battery gives the wearer up to 19 hours of wearing time per charge (16 hours if doing 5 hours of Bluetooth Streaming). In order to support Bluetooth streaming, Styletto Connect uses a higher capacity battery compared to Styletto.
To recharge Styletto Connect, wearers simply need to insert their Styletto Connect’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 Connect before itself needing recharging (via a USB connection or mains power). 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).
There are several design improvements on the charger. In addition to the obvious colour change from “granite” to “white”, the charger’s LEDs (indicating the hearing aid charging status), have been moved from the front of the charger to the top (next to the charger inlays where the hearing aids sit). This is a much more intuitive design.
The Styletto Connect hearing aid is designed to be fully automatic. They adaptively adjust 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 Connect does not feature any physical controls on their housings. This decision was made obviously to keep their design sleek and slim. Instead Styletto Connect has been designed to be operated remotely. This can be achieved by purchasing the optional miniPocket remote control or downloading for free a smartphone App called the Signia MyControl App. The myControl 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/mycontrol/
The myControl App allows wearers to remotely control features of their Styletto Connects. 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 aid’s 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.
Styletto Connect uses Signia’s latest “Nx” audio processing chip so wearers can expect outstanding sound quality and speech clarity even in challenging situations. The Signia Nx chip supports 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 Connect’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 Connect’s adaptively adapt their directional microphones to focus in on the speaker to the front. In challenging situations with a lot of background noise, the Styletto Connect’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 MyControl smartphone App (described above).
Styletto Connect 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 Connect’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 Connect’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 Connect is available in one power version suitable for hearing aid wearers with mild to moderately-severe hearing loss. They come in three performance levels: Styletto Connect 7 (Premium), Styletto Connect 5 (High-End) and Styletto Connect 3 (Mid-Range). Please note Styletto Connect is only available in a binaural kit with charger. Sounds of Life’s pricing for Styletto can be found here.
If you are interested in a free trial of Styletto please contact Sounds of Life on:
1300 744 432
Check out Signia’s Styletto Connect global launch video
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:
*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.