Phonak has launched its new Audéo Marvel receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid which brings binaural sound to virtually any form of Bluetooth streaming—IOS, Android, or otherwise—with a unique sound classification technology yielding audio quality that impressed a group of industry experts and hearing aid users last week during a special media event and sneak-peek of the device at the company’s US headquarters in Warrenville, Ill, near Chicago. Based on the third version of Phonak’s Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital (SWORD) chip, the Audéo M is also designed to place the user at the centre of the audiological process with an array of new Smartphone apps, remote fine-tuning, and sound processing capabilities, says Phonak US President Jan Metzdorff.
PARC Research Audiologist Lori Rakita, AuD, explains how the AutoSense OS 3.0 technology classifies streamed media in real-time for optimized listening.
New levels of binaural sound quality and universality. One key feature that immediately jumps out in Audéo M is its sound quality. For real audiophiles and others accustomed to hi-fi systems, the sound quality in today’s hearing aids is very good, but can still prompt them to ask why the devices can’t sound like stereo headphones. Of course, the problem—which has been around even before made-for-iPhone (MFi) systems became available—stems primarily from the venting of the aid for real-life environmental speech and sounds. This provides the important natural sound benefits associated with open-fit aids, but has required a trade-off in streamed sound quality. With the Audéo M, Phonak has reinserted a clear richer sound into streamed music, TV, or other devices via hearing aids—and demonstrated fairly dramatic differences in a paired comparison test. The system features AutoSense OS 3.0 which reportedly classifies streamed media for optimized listening.
Phonak staff members Barb VanSomeren; Lori Rakita, AuD; Kailen Berry, AuD; Jan Metzdorff, Abby Poyser, AuD; Christine Jones, AuD, Nicole Klutz, AuD, and John Urbaniak at Phonak US headquarters near Chicago.
“We have the first classifier that also operates on the streamed signal,” said Christine Jones, AuD, Phonak US vice-president of Audiology and director of the Phonak Audiology Research Center (PARC) in Warrenville during a presentation at the media event. “Some of the early work we did highlighted that there was an opportunity with streaming—as with the unique listening environments that can also be encountered by patients—where someone’s preferences may be very different than when listening to streamed speech, or dialog in media, movies, etc. Listening goals can be different, and sound quality preferences can be different. So, now we are not only classifying the environmental sounds, but we can also classify those streamed sounds to deliver the best possible experience under all listening conditions.”
Although the advanced design of the previous Audéo B-Direct model is award-winning, it does not feature binaural streaming. With the new Audéo M, wearers can now binaurally stream audio content, including smartphone calls, music, eBooks, and more, to both ears from any Bluetooth device.
Phonak points out that iPhones account for only 13% of smartphone use worldwide compared to 86% for the Android OS, and wearers’ choices have been limited primarily to hearing aids that utilize the MFi protocol. Additionally, even with IOS-compatible devices, some forms of MFi hearing aid streaming (eg, streaming from MacBooks and iMacs) were unavailable until now. SWORD 3.0 is capable of running Bluetooth Classic, Bluetooth LE, AirStream Technology (for TV), and Binaural VoiceStream Technology for high-speed data transmission between the two hearing aids in a binaural fitting. The new system even works with Siri and LiveListen. (Phonak’s proprietary Roger 2.4 GHz signal will also have direct streaming capabilities to the hearing aid next fall.)
“This means we now have universalbinaural wireless connectivity,” said Dr Jones. “In order to have the best access to speech on the phone, it’s best to hear well with both ears. And, beyond that, we are the only product that now connects to not just Apple and Android, but any Bluetooth device. This opens up a new world of connectivity for people because of its universal nature…What this means is, that in those cases where something is not accessible through the Apple iPhone or device, it should be accessible through the hearing aid.”
Jones explained that Phonak has also created a sophisticated system called “Environmental Balance” that controls how users hear the streaming in addition to how they hear the surrounding environment, both of which can still be adjusted via the basic volume control. All of this has the potential to open up even more of the popular streaming applications.
Audéo Marvel wearers also benefit from hands-free Smartphone operation. Previously, hearing aid wearers using the MFi (and future ASHA) protocol needed to hold the smartphone up to their mouths and talk into the phone’s microphone to converse. The new hearing aids feature microphone inlets built directly into the housing, allowing wearers to have phone conversations by literally talking through their hearing aids.
Better processing and noise reduction, reducing cognitive load. Additionally, the enhanced SWORD OS incorporates Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ into Marvel hearing aids, a technology most recently employed in Advanced Bionics’ Naida CI sound processor. This four-microphone technology is reportedly capable of improving speech understanding by up to 60% in noisy places like restaurants, while simultaneously reducing the amount of effort by 19% required to listen and understand.1,2
“Audiology is at the heart of everything we do at Phonak,” said Sonova Group VP Martin Grieder in a press statement. “That’s why Marvel is such a game-changer for our industry. Marvel technology empowers people and provides a true ‘love at first sound’ experience. We believe the sound quality is second to none, and it begins the moment the person puts the hearing aids on.”
Phonak Audéo Marvel mini-charger.
Lithium-ion rechargeable technology for “a full day of streaming.” While no reliable statistics exist on the market penetration of rechargeable hearing aids, most experts estimate that about 17-20% of all hearing aids now feature rechargeability. Phonak has been a pioneer in rechargeable hearing aid technology, creating in 2016 the first lithium-ion hearing aids—a technology that appears to be gaining ground with hearing aid manufacturers.
According to Phonak, Marvel hearing aid wearers can enjoy a full day of hearing aid use—including streaming— on a single charge. The Audéo M rechargeable hearing aid also offers new features, automatically turning on or off when taken out or being placed into the charger. The system includes new LED lights and a new mini charger.
Remote fine-tuning and live voice-to-text transcription apps. With Marvel hearing aids comes the introduction of a suite of convenient smart apps. The myPhonak app allows wearers to have their hearing aids adjusted in real-time, in any situation, anywhere via videocall by the hearing care professional. It also gives consumers the ability to rate their hearing aid satisfaction in various environments and directly send this feedback to their hearing care professional.
The myCall-to-Text app reportedly provides live transcription of phone calls from the other party in more than 80 languages. This provides an extremely useful option for hearing aid users in noisy environments, or for people who prefer additional visual captions when using the phone.
New marketing campaign and rollout. A suite of marketing materials has been developed to promote the Marvel launch. Phonak US Vice-president of Marketing Barb Van Someren explained that the marketing surrounding Marvel emphasizes its multifunctionality, providing consumers with access to the world of sound that we all want via enhanced sound quality, a constellation of devices and streaming options, and phone calls. The new marketing assets highlight Phonak technology, audiology leadership, and Marvel’s diverse capabilities, and includes a video series that features two women exploring all the different ways Marvel can be used in a contemporary format (eg, the women’s dialog resembles the TV show Grace and Frankie) .
The rechargeable Audéo M-R will be available in November along with the zinc air Audéo M-312, and Phonak will add the Audéo M-312T and Audéo M-13T in February 2019. A rechargeable version of Marvel with T-Coil (Audéo M-RT) and RogerDirect functionality will be available as a firmware upgrade in Fall 2019.
When your hearing is at a level where it is necessary to wear behind the ear hearing aids (or BTEs), then the ear mould fit quality is crucial to the effectiveness of the devices.
By the way, when talking about BTEs, we mean hearing aids with thick 3mm tubing and ear hook. Those with thin 1mm tubes are termed THIN TUBE (commonly dispensed by NHS), and those with thin wires are termed RIC (receiver in the ear).
So, I notice certain common problems with severe to profound hearing loss fittings:
1. One is that the ear mould is aged (get it replaced if it is yellowing or orange colour, brittle, or in any way damaged);
2. The tubing is not being changed regularly (the ear mould tubing should be soft and pliant when pinched). If the tubing is brittle, discoloured, cloudy, torn or if it has debris inside, then you need new tubing.
3. The mould itself is too shallow. As a rough indicator, ear moulds should be extended down the ear canal if the hearing loss is severe+. For various reasons, many ear moulds in use are too shallow in the ear canal. This will cause loss of useful gain and increase feedback issues (whistling).
4. The mould is ill-fitting. Unfortunately, ears change shape through life, so it is quite plausible that your ear moulds do not fit as well as they need to (very snug, without being uncomfortable).
5. The aid itself over-compresses. Many modern digital hearing aids which may perform quite wonderfully for those with a mild to moderate hearing loss do not work so well for severe+ losses as they may adjust volume downwards when not required.
6. Loop / T-coil (and FM / Radio) function is under-utilised. There are additional features in most BTEs that can assist you to hear better in challenging environments. However, I’m continually surprised at the lack of awareness in this area.
7. The most frustrating problem is so common. It is the way the ear mould is situated in the user’s ear. If it’s not right, then volume is lost and whistling occurs.
These two photos above show the ear mould helix part (top) not fitted into the ear correctly.
This 3rd photo shows a great quality ear mould (Starkey Silicone E2108) fitted into the concha of the ear correctly.
We are experts in handling the complexities of severe to profound hearing loss. Call us to book an appointment with Jo or Alan.
Our visitors are reacting well to Steve’s warm and personable approach. With a skilled technical background over decades, he has a wealth of knowledge about our products and can explain the finer details in easy-to-understand language in a manner that you will appreciate.
Come along to see us if you would like to know more about hearing loss, hearing aids, tinnitus, ear wax removal, balance problems, noise protection, in ear monitors, sleep plugs, swimming plugs and more.
The very latest tympanometer has been tested and now ordered. It allows us to check middle ear function quickly and without fuss. The tip is placed into the entrance of your ear canal. You will feel a very gentle, almost imperceptible pressure build for about 2 seconds, and that’s it.
We are confident that we are again the only hearing care practice in this area to include free middle ear screening to every patient we test.
The main issue for TV listening when you have a hearing problem, is the distance from you to the TV.
The easiest and most cost effective way to solve this is to purchase a good quality Bluetooth transmitter. This one will be fine and costs £49.99.
And a powerful Bluetooth speaker. This one is a retro design and has easy ‘knob’ controls, including bass and treble. It costs £69.99.
You connect the transmitter to the TV. It needs a power source as well. The speaker would be positioned right next to your armchair (it needs a power source). The two devices are ‘paired’, and then your TV sound problems will be fixed!
If you are our patient, we can help set up this system for you.
A new fitting method allows us to take safer, deeper ear impressions for an even more discreet result.
Also, from August 27th, additional modifications available include:
If you’d like to try this incredible medical -grade custom hearing aid, book your consultation today. Remember we let you try your new titanium hearing aids at home and work, before you have to decide to buy.
“It appears that people searching online tend to click on the ‘about’ page quite a lot. This could be to establish that the website concerned is real, with real people. And I think this is a good strategy. If the ‘about’ page is vague or not specific, then I’d maybe avoid it.
I think engaging with social media shows that your audiologist is forward-thinking and engaged in new technology. Unfortunately this is just the modern world, and this engagement should be a prerequisite of your chosen hearing aid supplier.
Most of all, a TRIAL PERIOD must be given. This is the best protection a new hearing aid wearer could ask for as each individual’s response to hearing aids varies so much”
As the popularity of Oticon Opn (the most advanced hearing aid in the world) grows, we are investing more time making sure that when you TRY this hearing aid (for no fee), that you are likely to get the best possible results. Come and see us soon. We have the OPN in stock.
It is extremely difficult for the consumer to determine which are the best makes and models of hearing aids.
So here is our quick guide;
For a start, hearing aid results are extremely variable, so make sure you get a trial period prior to any purchase.
Here is our model analysis right now (in order of preference):
PHONAK are the market leaders, and have been for some years. So, this fact should not be ignored. Their CROS system for one-sided deafness is unparalleled, and now with the addition of the li-ion rechargeable version, it needs to be trialled. The AUDEO B-DIRECT is the only hearing aid that allows hands-free calls to a mobile – very cool and unique. Their RICs in general, feature the best feedback manager – so a Phonak hearing aid is the least likely to whistle when placed under duress (near a phone, with a hat on, etc).
Alongside, OTICON should be considered. Ask us to let you compare OTICON and PHONAK. Their OPN (with fastest ever sound processor) range has massively increased their market share, being the first and only hearing aid to integrate with other WiFi devices (doorbells, Amazon Echo, etc). it is Made for iPhone, meaning stereo streaming of music and calls – not the first aid to do this, but probably the one with the best build quality and reputation.
RESOUND produce the LiNX 3D, a great Made for iPhone aid, which is the first to allow for remote audiologist programming. That means you can have your product fine tuned from thousands of miles away. The app feature to memorise settings in specific venues that are stored when you next step into that location is very useful. However the LiNX seems to have become a little dated?
STARKEY have a lower market share, but continue to make good products, notably the HALO iQ another Made for iPhone aid, with a great user fine tuning tool (SOUNDSPACE).
WIDEX produce the EVOKE, with a chip just under the processor speed of the Oticon Opn – a quality manufacturer that should be considered. The SoundSense feature uses worldwide EVOKE users’ preferences to improve each individual’s hearing.
SIEMENS / SIVANTOS undoubtedly build extremely solid hearing aids but have very poor UK market share right now.
AUDIO SERVICE, BERNAFON, UNITRON, HANSATON brands are owned by the above companies – I’d say to provide products for different markets – consider VW v. SKODA. So nothing wrong with that, except that hearing aids involve a very high level of personal service, so I wonder about the motives of such an approach to market.
I rang on Thursday to enquire about ear wax removal for a completely blocked ear. I needed an urgent appointment, ideally on a Saturday when I wasn't at work. The fantastic receptionist rang me back and got everything sorted. The service I then received in the practice was brilliant - lovely clean clinic, reassuring, quick and easy - ear completely unblocked and I can finally hear properly. I'll be back again when it no doubt reoccurs. Comfortable and professional serviceread more
Once again, I received fantastic service when I visited The Nottingham Hearing Practice for wax removal. Jess the receptionist was great when I rang to book the appointment and Jo the audiologist took her time when we spoke in person about the problem I was having and carefully removed the wax at a steady pace so I wasn't in pain or discomfort. I couldn't recommend this practice more and will always come here for future services! Thank you.read more
I can’t thank Jo at Beeston Hearing Centre enough. I rang for an emergency appointment as I had terrible pain due to a very bad build up of ear wax. Jo was fortunately able to see me straight away. She has a lovely ,understanding,caring manner & even though it wasn’t the easiest wax to remove she persevered & to my relief she was able to clear my ear. I highly recommend this practice & have no reservations of going again.
I was quickly put at ease by this excellent team of Audioligists. The attention to all my requirements was handled in a most professional manner. I would strongly recommend a visit if you have a hearing problem of any kind.read more
My Mum had been needing a hearing aid for years for was quite nervous about going along for a test. Alan put her completely at ease and talked her through each step of the process. With the assistance of a carefully selected hearing aid my Mum now has excellent hearing again (sometimes too good)!
Thanks Alan for making it such an easy and comfortable experience.read more
I went to my GP with a problem of build up of wax in my right ear. Due to being 80% deaf in my left ear this was causing so many difficulties. My GP couldn’t have been more unhelpful, such a shame as I think the NHS are great in so many ways (but not all) After being told to go home and search google for ear wax removal I came across The Nottingham Hearing Practice in Beeston, the lady audiologist was great she explained everything and put me at ease. The relief when the wax was removed from my good ear can not be put into words. I was so impressed with this company’s approach and customer service that under my own volition, I have booked for a hearing aid test for my deaf ear. Would I recommend this practice and the staff that work there? Yes I would. Carl Whiteread more
After suffering a blocked ear overnight I made contact with this practice and Alan was able to see me on the same day and immediately diagnosed impacted ear wax. I decided to have the wax removed by micro suction and Alan put me at ease and removed the wax safely and efficiently. Very professional practice and service thank you!read more
As an audiologist myself I cannot recommend Alan Jackson and Jo Herrod highly enough. Their in-depth knowledge, and attention to detail sets them above the more impersonal service offered by the chain stores. If you are in the Nottingham area, I wouldn't consider going anywhere else!read more
My partner had been struggling with his hearing for the last few years and decided to get his hearing tested.
The team at Nottingham Hearing Practice were very professional throughout the whole process and he now has a set of digital hearing aids fitted.
He is over the moon with his replenished hearing and the TV is now back to an acceptable volume for the rest of the family.
He can't speak highly enough of the service he received from Jo and Alan.read more
I visited the practise after failing a hearing test for a new job. Id heard about a new way of having your ears cleared out through suction instead of water irrigation. I spoke with Jo on the phone and she was extremely friendly and talked to me about the process. They booked me in really quickly and the whole process on the day was slick and Jo and Alan were great. They also conducted a hearing test with me and gave me some really useful insights off the back of the results. I would strongly recommend this clinic and the team here to anyone.read more
I called today after two frustrating GP appointments and no resolution. The staff were wonderful and got me in on the same day and now all of my discomfort and hearing problems are resolved! All of the staff were amazing and very caring. I would definitely recommend and would come back again (although hopefully won’t have to!)read more
Visited the Hearing Centre today with two ears impacted with wax that left me practically deaf. I hadn't had microsuction before but this was performed by Jo and a total success. Jo was great from start to finish in both her manner and skill. Can't recommend her highly enough.read more
I can't recommend this practice highly enough. They made to feel at ease from the moment I walked in the door and explained everything really clearly. Jo resolved my pain in one ear and cleared out both ears quickly and effectively. Really pleased I can hear properly again. Well worth the money to have this done. Thank you Jo.read more
This week I was in a pretty desperate state with severe pain and tinnitus from a blocked ear and having been unable to sleep the night before, I was desperately marching around central avenue in west Bridgford to see if any of the opticians/hearing centres could help me or point me in the direction of someone who could! By some absolute miracle Jo was in the same shop, overheard my pleading with the staff and offered to help me out on a Saturday afternoon as she was going in to the shop anyway....
The process was quick, clearly explained, professional and comfortable and I cannot thank her enough for helping me out at such short notice. Would go back in a heart beat if the same happened again!read more
Excellent service and product knowledge. Nothing to much trouble and assisted in selection of the best equipment or my condition. "New Ears" purchased to replace my tired ones. The Hearing Practice is a much needed addition for those with hearing difficulties.read more
Having had my appointment at their Beeton branch, I’ve just been kindly treated to the absolute height of reassurance and clinical professionalism, and like other reviews I’ve read, I cannot recommend ‘The Nottingham Hearing Practice’ highly enough! Frankly, if I could, I’d give it far more than the five stars allowed!! Thank you TNHP!read more
J0 had been looking after me for three years when I thought that I had lost her. I was so pleased to find her again in Beeston. Not only her, but Alan as well, who had fitted me up with hearing aids in the first place. They are both such caring and helpful people, who work in a very pleasant environment. Since finding them, Jo has removed wax from my ear by suction-- an efficient and painless process -- and given me a full hearing test, both done with care and consideration. I would recommend them to anyone.read more
Posting from my daughters account...I have just had the most amazingly fantastic experience at The Nottingham Hearing Centre. Jo, the audiologist, was superb and explained everything so clearly. I didn’t feel pressured in any way and came away with excellent advice. Can’t recommend this place highly enough.read more
An excellent service from very nice and welcoming people.
I only rang this morning about my blocked ear that I couldn't hear with and by 4.30 this afternoon I had been cured by their expertise in ear wax removal.
I highly recommend this practice.read more
I woke up completely unable to hear out of my right ear and my left ear being mostly blocked as well so enquired online before the practice opened. By 9am I'd been booked in for the same day around my work commitments (even after I had to change the booking once because of a meeting change) and by 2pm I had both ears completely sorted and I could hear more clearly than I have done in years. Can't recommend them enough!read more
Fantastic experience at the Nottingham Hearing Practice. I had suction and irrigation to both ears to clear them of a build up of wax. Jo managed to fit me in on the morning I called and did a brilliant job clearing my ears. She took time to explain the procedure at each stage and was very reassuring. I will definitely use the service again, can't rate them high enough!read more
I had been having problems with my hearing due to excessive wax, my Doctor had "fobbed me off" and I was nearly deaf in my left ear! I found this lovely practice online and decided to pop in and make an appointment. Mrs Herrod was able to see me straight away and was able to remove a large amount of wax from both ears. The treatment was painless, just a slight tickling sensation, she was very polite and professional. I was able to see on the monitor the "before and after" in both ears, wow, what an improvement! I would highly recommend this practice to anyone having problems with earwax.read more
It has taken me a couple of years to get the courage to do something about wax build up as I hate anything in my ears. Out of sheer deafness I took the plunge. The whole experience of using the hearing practice was fantastic. Easy to book and friendly staff. Alan did an amazing job of my ear and i can’t beleive how much I can hear now. Alan was very kind, caring and gentle and the wax was removed in around 15 minutes with no discomfort. I would recommend and would happily return if it builds up again. £55 I felt was a very reasonable price. Thank you so much.read more
I trialled 3 types of hearing aids and chose the Oticon Opn's. They have made a huge impact on my life as I am now able to use the telephone independently and the Bluetooth capabilities are ace. I am able to stream to my mobile and no one knows I'm listening to music. I can also stream my telephone calls, which is funny to see other people's reactions until I explain to them, I'm not just talking to myself! I'd highly recommend to visit this practice, for the personal approach from the Audiologists, down to the technology they are able to offer. I'm 28 years old and definitely proud to wear my hearing aids.read more