Phonak makes a direct call on smart phones


Phonak has closed the loop for smart-phone users with the latest addition to its Audeo hearing aid range - the Audeo B-Direct.

While iPhone users have been able connect their “mfi“ (made for iPhone)” hearing aids to their smart phones, Android phone users haven’t been so lucky - until now.

Phonak says its new Audeo B-Direct is “made for all” (mfa) and provides true hands-free calling for both major types of smart cellphone.

Mfi hearing aids captured the spotlight because they let iPhone users stream phone calls and music directly to their hearing aids without any extra Bluetooth accessories - but those same benefits were not available for Android phone users, despite those phones having a huge share of the mobile market.

Phonak says the Audeo B-Direct has changed this because it can stream phone calls from any Bluetooth phone, meaning Android users can now also experience the benefits of phone-call streaming.

Phonak says Audeo B-Direct users can also answer, reject and end calls by pushing the button on the hearing aid, and the hearing aid also picks up the user’s voice using the device’s onboard microphone. Having this feature will let users pick up a call even when the phone is not nearby.

However, there are limitations: it’s not able to stream music yet and it’s not yet stereo.

Summarising its benefits:

  • Audeo B-Direct is mfa (made for all) – offering universal connectivity, enabling phone-call streaming from any Bluetooth phone
  • It picks up the user’s voice using the hearing device’s onboard microphone
  • Users can reject or end a call using a button on the hearing aid.

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Widex Beyond - made for iPhone

Beyond the ordinary

Widex have taken their hearing instruments to beyond the ordinary by providing connectivity to iPhones.

Wearers can now hear phone conversations through their hearing aids, can hear music from their iPhones through the devices and can use their iPhones to control their hearing aids.

The new range of instruments is called the Widex Beyond and the new feature is called Made for iPhone (MFi). Many of the features in the special app can also be used with android phones.

The Widex Beyond personalised app allows wearers to use intuitive commands on their phone’s screen to adjust the volume on each hearing aid individually, choose speech and comfort settings, and set microphone directionality.

Wearers can also use the app for troubleshooting and can even use their iPhone to find their hearing aids if they are lost.

Widex says its Beyond devices also offer better power consumption than other MFi-streaming hearing aids, which is a huge plus because with some MFi-linked devices, batteries may be reduced - depending on use.

The Widex Beyond hearing instruments have an innovative integrated signal processing chip-set design with full independent channel separation, minimal-delay filters, and four A/D converters, meaning clear sound for users.

Other features include

·       Wide dynamic range so the wearer to optimise sound based on their environment

·       Wind-noise reduction, which gives up to 30% better speech understanding in windy conditions, and

·       Allowing firmware updates so the device can be updated via the phone, without needing to visit an audiologist

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Possibly the smallest IIC in the market - Phonak Virto B-titanium

Phonak Virto B-Titanium

Big gains from the mighty miniature

Phonak’s tiny new hearing instrument offers big advantages and opens the door to people who haven’t been able to wear in-the-canal devices.

The key to the Phonak Virto B-Titanium - possibly the smallest IIC on the market - is that its shell is made from titanium, renowned for its strength and durability.

This means the device can be made smaller, giving hope to people whose small ear canals have meant this style of aid has not been an option, while the greater strength also allows more venting to reduce the occlusion effect - your voice echoing when you speak.

On top of that the aid has a more powerful receiver meaning these devices will cater to people with a greater hearing loss.

That’s exciting news for hearing-aid users.

Phonak says the shell now can be as thin as 0.2mm, which is 50% thinner than existing acrylic shells and is more crack-resistant.

On top of this the electronic components are 60% smaller than in existing models resulting in a hearing aid that’s 26% smaller, while the fit rate has jumped a massive 64%.

In summary, it’s discreteness meets versatility and power

•         26% size reduction resulting in a 64% increase in fit rate

•         Bigger venting for better management of occlusion

•         A more powerful receiver to cater for greater hearing loss

If you haven’t been able to wear an in-the-canal hearing aid before, NOW is the time to try again and enjoy listening to the things you always loved.

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