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.
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).
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.
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).
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:
*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.