Purchasing hearing aids is an important and expensive investment to make, especially when you pay for what you get. The various brands, styles and features give people an opportunity to select a hearing aid that suits their lifestyle, hearing loss and preferences to personalize their hearing experience. Hearing aids are vast in their capabilities and features. For example, there are rechargeable hearing aids, automatic noise adjusting aids, Bluetooth pairing, tinnitus masking and much more. Every person is unique so naturally, hearing aids need to be unique for each individual.
When looking for hearing aids, consult a hearing professional for a test to determine your hearing abilities, get recommendations and insight into your options. With their experience and knowledge, they can help navigate the tricky world of hearing aids. They will program your hearing aid to optimize and enhance your hearing experience. Next, think about what features are most important to you. Do you want non-visible hearing aids? Do you want to minimize background noise as much as possible? Do you want sounds from a phone or cinema, for example, to stream directly to your hearing aids? These are all questions to ask while looking for your perfect hearing aids.
Once you have an option in mind, it’s a good idea to ask about a trial period to ensure your hearing aid of choice is a good fit in day-to-day life. Wear them every day in different environments, test out the features multiple times to get a feel for how the hearing aids function and push through the awkward adjustment period. It’s normal for new hearing aids to sound weird, overly loud and startling, but as they’re used more, certain features may turn out to not be what you thought. The style may be uncomfortable or unrealistic and you might realize there is a different type of hearing aid that will better suit you. Following up with your hearing professional will help to find out if the hearing aid needs a programming adjustment to filter certain sounds in and out or if a different hearing aid is needed.
NexGen Hearing Professional’s Top Pick and Best First-time Hearing Aid
Noteworthy pros and cons:
● Deep Neural Network programming significantly improves the listening experience for the user
● Audiologists have more adjustment handles to match specific hearing loss targets
● On-the-go-charger case with a battery life of 3 days and a desk charger
● Most repairs such as battery issues can be fixed in your clinic
● Tinnitus Care streams broadband sounds or nature sounds to mask tinnitus
● Incompatible with single-sided deafness
● The app only allows generic control in real-time, custom programs can’t be saved
The Oticon More1 hearing aid is a revolutionary device that features a new, more powerful processing platform called Polaris, uses a different philosophy than other manufacturers and functions based on a Deep Neural Network. Oticon built the More hearing aids with the BrainHearing approach, which essentially intakes all sounds from all directions, amplifies the important information it’s receiving, then maximizes the amount of amplification, greatly increasing the amount of sound going into the user’s ears. The Deep Neural Network was developed using Deep Learning, a subset of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI). The dynamic system has been trained with over 12 million sound samples recorded from real environments for the hearing aid to learn which sounds are important to amplify and which are not. The More 1 delivers 30% more sound to the brain, increases speech understanding by 15% while also reducing the user’s overall listening efforts in comparison to Oticon OPN S, according to a study from Oticon.
Audiologists have 20 adjustment handles to match specific hearing loss targets with the More 1, significantly more than any other manufacturer in the industry, making it much more effective when programming the hearing aids. In the Oticon ON app, audiologists can host live remote care sessions to make programming adjustments which are particularly helpful for people with mobility issues or other factors preventing them from going into the clinic.
For users, in addition to the HearingFitness, Internet of Things, remote control of the sounds in front of you such as volume and sound boosters for conversation, there is now a 3 Band Streaming Equalizer to adjust the bass, mids and treble for streaming. These are made for iPhone hearing aids but now feature the ASHA Bluetooth protocol for Android devices (Android 10 or more and Bluetooth version 5 for direct streaming). They’re future-proof and will be compatible with LE Audio/Bluetooth.
The Oticon More model is available in 3 versions. They are available in a variety of colours to match hair or skin tone as well as pink. Compatible with mild-severe hearing losses, the rechargeable devices last for 16 hours, including 4 hours of streaming, after a 3-hour charge. The More 1 model is the premium hearing aid from the line, reducing the most background noise with the most sound capabilities. The More 2 and More 3 don’t reduce as much background noise as the More 1 but include all of the other features for a much more affordable price.
Best Invisible Hearing Aid
Starkey Livio Edge AI
Noteworthy pros and cons:
● Edge Mode optimizes the listening experience
● Thrive App is comprehensive and automated
● Bluetooth connection is not hands-free
The Starkey Livio Edge AI hearing aids are rechargeable, offer various custom in-the-ear styles for each of the 5 tiers and a selection of colours. This model is a new-and-improved version of the Livio Edge hearing aids with features that significantly upgrade the user’s experience.
The most innovative feature is Edge Mode which utilizes AI to optimize the user’s ability to hear in complex listening situations such as a noisy stadium. By tapping on the hearing aid, voices will sound clear and prominent while the background noise is reduced. It’s activated and unactivated whenever the user wants.
The Bluetooth feature connects to all smart devices, unlike the previous Livio AI model. Any form of audio can be streamed directly to the hearing aids as well as Starkey assistive listening devices. These include a remote microphone, table microphone, remote control and TV streamer, all with the potential to greatly improve streaming and listening.
The Thrive App is comprehensive and offers automation features that are unheard of in the industry. For hearing aids it allows access to control the volume, frequency, ALDs, streaming volume, hearing aid microphone volume and more. It also includes tracking the user’s heart rate, brain score, body score, Find my Hearing Aid, hearing aid self-check, language translation and users can talk to the app like it is Siri or Google Home for information, as well as many other features. In the health section of the app, there is an option to name an emergency contact. The hearing aids have motion sensors and fall detection meaning that if the user took a fall, a notification can be sent to their emergency contact for help.
Best for Children
Phonak Sky Q
Phonak Sky Q
Noteworthy pros and cons:
● 4 models for different types of hearing loss
● ALD compatible in all situations necessary
● Durable and adaptive
Designed specifically for children, these hearing aids won’t slow them down or affect their childhood. Instead, the Phonal Sky Q provides the technology needed for children to lead normal lives despite their hearing loss. They automatically adjust to your child’s environment in all situations to optimize their listening experience, direct phone calls to their hearing aids, are resistant to dust, water and sweat, mix & match colour palates of the whole rainbow, various styles suitable for certain lifestyles, and they feature a Rogers receiver, compatible with assistive listening devices (ALD) that may be used in the classroom or at home.
Best Budget Hearing Aids
Noteworthy pros and cons
● Comfortable to wear
● High-quality technology that is affordable
● Doesn’t include modern features from other Oticon models
Developed by Oticon, the Siya model is available in two models, Siya 1 or Siya 2, as well as a variety of in-the-ear custom styles and colours. The invisible styles are perfect for those who prefer a subtle appearance. As entry-level hearing aids, they perform exceptionally well, capturing and amplifying the natural sounds around us while maintaining authenticity in sound. Speech is clear and easy to understand, background noise is reduced greatly and the hearing aids offer connectivity features similar to other Oticon models.
The Siya’s can connect wirelessly with ease to Apple devices, TV, laptop, tablet and more for high-quality streaming at any time. By syncing the hearing aids to preferred devices, they can easily connect while users are on the go. The Oticon ON app provides users with the ability to regulate their hearing aid’s volume and interchangeable programs through remote control, among other features.
Best Connectivity and Streaming
Phonak Audeo Paradise
Noteworthy pros and cons
● Exceptional connectivity abilities with hands-free phone calls and multiple Bluetooth connections.
● Motion Sensors improving the listening experience with automatic adjustments
● Every time the user gets a notification on their phone, the hearing aids kick into Bluetooth streaming mode and cancels the custom program, reverting to AutoSense on the MyPhonak App. When connecting the hearing aids to an audiologist’s computer, the custom programs get wiped out.
One of the newest hearing aid lines Phonak released is the Audéo Paradise. Available in all styles and rechargeable or replaceable battery options, the hardware is cutting edge. In addition to the original features of the Marvel hearing aids, the Paradise devices include motion sensors, exceptional connectivity, an updated myPhonak app and AutoSense OS 4.0, among other features.
Motion sensors can identify the user’s movements and acoustics to automatically adjust its microphone for each environment. If the user is going for a run, eating dinner in a loud restaurant or attending a lecture, the hearing aids are capable of determining the source of sound and optimizing it.
They can be paired to 8 different devices and 2 at the same time such as your phone, laptop, TV or ALD. Hands-free phone calls are now possible with a simple double tap on your ear to accept or cancel calls after the hearing aids announce the phone number or contact of who’s calling. The microphones at the back of the hearing aids pick up the user’s voice throughout the phone call and you can ask to make a phone call without touching your phone once.
Phonak updated the myPhonak App to allow users more access to their hearing aids than ever before. They can adjust the volume, customize the audio, frequency, noise reduction, speech focus and more, then save the settings as a custom program to use in the future. Plus, the ability to have remote appointments with their audiologist such as programming sessions or hearing tests is a unique feature.
The new AutoSense OS 4.0 added dynamic noise cancellation, speech enhancement and more to enhance the users listening experience by allowing noise-cancelling customization and amplifying people’s voices so users can catch everything in their unique day-to-day surroundings.
Learn more or book an appointment today by visiting nexgenhearing.com.