About twice a year, the top hearing aid manufacturers have new product releases.
It is important for Audiologists to stay up-to-date on the new products so they can offer the best solution to their clients and their suppliers will notify them of each new product release. This cometition between the manufacturers to lead in their technology is what provides top-of-the-line devices which can improve hearing and quality of life for people with hearing loss. To the audiologist the changes in technology often solve problems that they may have with thier clients.
To keep up with the changes in technology, the audiologist must make sure they are trained and knowledgeable about each new product release. It can take a lot of effort, especially if you use products from multiple manufacturer’s. As a hearing aid user, you may or may not be told when a new product comes out. Your audiologist may notify you the next time she sees you, or you could get a newsletter about the new updates.
Typically, if you have recently purchased a hearing aid, you are likely to purchase a new one just because of some new feature. However if that new feature would improve the users expierience, then it should be a consideration. It is important not just to look at the brand of hearing aid, but also at the way their features would infuence the users experience.
Oticon has released what they call “The next generation of BrainHearingTM Technology”. Brainhearing technology is said to give an improvement in soft speech intelligibility and better hearing in noisy or challenging environments.
This new “BrainHearing Technology” is available in their new performance line of hearing aids, the Alta2, Nera2, and Ria2. This hearing aid line is now available in their new smaller miniRITE design, as well as in their RITE, BTE, and custom styles, all the way down to a wireless IIC style.
Oticon has also added their Tinnitus SoundSupport in their premium Pro products for management of tinnitus.
Phonak has launched a new digital chip technology called Venture. It’s claimed to deliver twice the processing power with a 30% reduction in battery drain.
Venture is available in 4 technology levels to help meet budget demands. It is available in their Audeo RIC models and their Bolero BTE models. Their Tinnitus Balance noise generator is also available in all levels.
The biggest change in this new Venture platform is the AutoSense feature. It is used to help seamlessly blend the users changing listening environments.
Phonak also has a full range of wireless accessories, with their new EasyCall II connecting hearing aids to any Bluetooth-enabled cell phone.
In addition to their new ownership and soon-to-be name change to Sivantos, Siemens has claimed “the world’s first technology that outperforms normal hearing”, called the binax.
With binax hearing aids, they claim to allow wearers to understand speech in demanding listening enviornments even better than people with normal hearing.
Their new OneMic directionality offers advanced automatic directionality for hearing aids with only one microphone, such as their new Insio binax CIC (completely-in-the-canal).
Their new BTE style, the Motion binax, covers more severe hearing losses in a more compact housing, with improved directionality and rechargeability.
All binax products now also have adaptive streaming volume and the ocean wave tinnitus therapy signals available.
Starkey recently introduced one of the first Made for iPhone hearing aids, the Halo. At the time of release, it was only available in a RIC style. Now Starkey has released Halo in a BTE style. It still has all the great features of the original Halo, with two style choices, RIC and BTE.
In addition, the Halo is now compatible with select Android phones such as the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and S 5.
Starkey also recently launched their Z Series, which features their BluWave 4.0 operating system and the 900sync Technology. This technology allows for a more robust wireless system that is virtually drop-free connectivity, with increased streaming range and less susceptibility to interference.
Their two new features, Spatial Streaming and Stream Boost for enhanced wireless audio performance.
Widex’s newest line of hearing aids, the DREAM series, have got a few additions. They introduced the ultra small DREAM CIC Micro aid, one of the smallest CIC hearing aid styles on the market. Even with it’s small size, it still has all the processing capabilities of the other DREAM hearing aids and it can connect to an FM device.
Widex also recently released they new Power BTE hearing aid, the Fashion Power. It gives those with a severe hearing loss a sleek design option.
All six of these manufacturers have very comparable products in terms of function and style, but each new product release brings out a new “edge” against the other manufacturers.