Hi and welcome back to another technology update from Digital Hearing Care. We have had a busy start to the year and with spring approaching I am preparing to get even busier.
This is because several of the manufacturers have updates on the horizon, launching over the next few months. This month Phonak launched their new styles of the Belong range. The ‘B’ chip was launched with their receiver in the canal style (Audeo RIC) at the end of last year- see my previous blog here to learn about the technical features.
Phonak have now introduced this technology to the ‘behind the ear’ style – Phonak Bolero B BTE which is a style rarely used in the private sector. The RIC style generally being better performing and more discreet. The BTE style is best for those who suffer from ongoing discharging ears and excessive moisture as they can be cleaned much easier.
The new Phonak Bolero B (like the Audeo B) has a rechargeable option which is proving very popular with my clients!
Phonak also launched a new IIC (invisible in canal) product called Phonak Virto B Titanium. It is the smallest aid Phonak have been able to manufacture so far due in main part because of its shell material – titanium. This material is approx 50% thinner than the standard acrylic material used by Phonak and other manufacturers for their custom aids.
This along with making some of the key electronic components substantially smaller means that a true invisible hearing aid for a higher percentage of clients is possible.
Because of these developments Phonak can actually fit a bigger receiver into the new Phonak Virto Titanium IIC which offers more potential for power – meaning a greater fitting range addressing the hearing loss of people with more severe loss is quite possible.
Previously a hearing instrument of this style would have only been suitable for those with a mild to moderate loss.
The other bonus of using titanium as a shell material is that it’s 15 times stronger than other custom aids made of acrylic.
I know you may be thinking – why does a hearing aid need to be so strong? Well in the past few months alone I have two hearing aids of this style which have had to be replaced due to shell damage. One was dropped in a busy place which then got stood on and the other was chewed by their dog who thought the hearing aid might make a tasty treat! It does happen!
When it comes to hearing aids small is beautiful – if you think of it that way, but there are disadvantages to having such a small product. Wireless capabilities are not present in such a small, deep fitting hearing aid.
Wireless capabilities of hearing aids add an extra dimension of performance, that isn’t the end all and be all, but it can be an important part of the overall performance of hearing aid technology.
I guess the best way to put it is you should go for the product that best fits your needs and wants, but to be aware that there is a compromise often present, and choosing an IIC tiny hearing aid is a compromise of discreetness vs performance.
You just need to work out which is most important to you!
If any of the products discussed here are of interest to you please get in contact. I would love to discuss the technology further and carry out a full hearing assessment to obtain your suitability.
Until next time, take care – Helen