Posted by HearStore on Sep 12th 2017
Phonak, a leading manufacturer of hearing aids, has recently introduced the Audeo B Direct hearing aid. This new innovative device allows wearers to connect directly to their Apple or Android smartphones for phone calls. While many "made-for-iPhone" hearing aids have been introduced in the last few years, those without Apple iOS phones did not have direct-streaming capability. Before the introduction of B-Direct, those with Android devices were required to wear an intermediary device in order to control their hearing aid settings using their phone. Phonak solved this problem by creating their own low-energy bluetooth chip (called SWORD) to allow their new hearing aids to talk directly to both iPhone and Android devices. Given that 67% of devices activated in 2017 use the Android operating system, this new technology is very helpful to a large percentage of the population.
Audeo B Direct uses the built-in microphones to pick up your voice for your phone calls and delivers clear audio directly into your hearing system. You can even accept or reject phone calls by just pressing a button on your hearing aids, resulting in a truly wireless and hands free phone experience. To connect to your TV, you'll need to purchase and connect your hearing aids to the new compact multimedia hub called the Phonak TV Connector. This effectively turns your hearing aids into a wireless headset, streaming your favorite shows or movies directly to your aids. The Audeo B Direct hearing aid is only available in a receiver-in-the-canal style and is suitable for those with mild to severe hearing loss. It uses the larger size 13 disposable zinc air batteries, which should B-Direct users with help with battery life.
The one downside of these new hearing aids when compared to the made-for-iPhone devices is the lack of music streaming. Direct streaming (without another device) for the B Direct system is limited to phone calls only. While music aficionados might be disappointed, most consumers should value the enhanced phone utilization over streaming of other audio signals.
In addition to this new era in connectivity, the Audeo B hearing aid offers advanced technology you get from other hearing aids on the Phonak Belong platform. A few notable features include:
- Audeo B’s advanced operating system Autosense OS senses your surrounding and will automatically adjust your settings to improve your listening experience. This full automation makes these devices extremely easy to use.
- Utilizing their StereoZoom technology, these hearing instruments allow you to focus on a single voice in noisy environments, improving your understanding by up to 60% versus without hearing aids (according to the Phonak website).
- The Audeo B hearing aids also improve your ability to understand quiet voices, like those of your grandchildren. Their website claims a 10% improvement in soft-speech understanding over previous generations of technology.
- SoundRecover2 is included in all Belong-series products, including the B Direct. SoundRecover2 is Phonak's latest iteration of frequency compression (also called frequency lowering) technology. This feature helps those with severe high frequency hearing losses by not only amplifying high-frequency signals, but also shifting them to a lower frequency (or pitch) that is easier to hear.
- The latest line of Phonak products include Tinnitus Noise Generator, which allows for sounds to be programmed into the hearing aid to help lessen a user's tinnitus. Tinnitus, which is often described as ringing or buzzing in the ears, can be very difficult for some to deal with. While results vary, having the tinnitus noise generator to help mask the noise may help some wearers significantly.