2018’s Latest Hearing Aids
Hearing aid technology is constantly changing and advancing in order to make hearing aids as seamless, discreet, and high-quality as possible.
The style of hearing aids available on the market has only gotten smaller which has allowed audiologists to combat one of the biggest non-audiological factors which negatively affects hearing aid use – stigma.
Made for iPhone hearing aids and wireless connectivity have become a major fixture in today’s market, allowing for users to take advantage of their hearing aids, as well as simplify how they control them. Manufacturers have continued to add to this new technology by expanding Bluetooth connectivity and what you can do on your phone by creating user-friendly apps.
Every year, consumers can expect new products that will make hearing aid use easier and more desirable. Whether manufacturers focus on new designs that boast discreetness and comfort, or technology that provides the most natural quality, the hearing aid industry moves forward to appease today’s consumers. Furthermore, with hearing loss becoming more prevalent, the demographic of new hearing aid users will become more diverse, bringing in more diverse needs and preferences.
Generally, new hearing aid releases occur twice in a year. For Australia, this happens once in April and again in October.
The Northern Hemisphere, where most manufacturers are based, will have the new hearing aid releases available first, usually a month before they are made available in Australia.
2017 Hearing Aid Releases in Review
Oticon: 2017 saw Oticon expanding on the OPN line by adding a rechargeable version of the Oticon Opn miniRITE. They also added two new hearing aid styles to the Opn line – the miniRITE-T which has a telecoil, and the BTE13 PP for those with severe-to-profound losses. They additionally added two new features called Tinnitus SoundSupport, which allows for customisable sounds for tinnitus relief, and Speech Rescue LX, which improves speech understanding and clarity for those with high-frequency losses. Finally, they made their hearing aids more appropriate for adolescents aged between 13-19 by creating a DSL rationale for teens, as well as having a miniRITE with a telecoil that can be used to connect with FM systems.
Phonak: Continuing the trend of rechargeability, Phonak released the Phonak Bolero B-PR which is the fastest-charging BTE hearing aid. They released the Phonak Virto B-Titanium IIC, which is a custom hearing aid made of titanium for durability. Their newest release is the Phonak Audéo B-Direct, which is the first true Bluetooth hearing aid which uses 2.4GHz Bluetooth connectivity to connect to any mobile phone.
ReSound: ReSound added to the existing LiNX line with the LiNX 3D, which provides “3D” sound quality and is compatible with the ReSound Assist feature in the ReSound Smart 3D App. The ReSound Assist allows the user to contact their audiologist for remote adjustments of their hearing aid settings.
They also released the ReSound Enzo 3D which is a Made for iPhone hearing aid for people with severe-to-profound losses.
Signia: Signia released the Pure 13 BT primax which is the world’s first hearing aid to have HD binaural processing and direct streaming. It is compatible with the myControl App which can detect when the user is exposed to dangerous noise levels in order to help prevent further damage. It also has Telecare 2.0 which allows for remote support from the user’s audiologist. Signia also released the Silk which is a ready to wear completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid that requires no impressions. In October of 2017, Signia released the Nx platform which focusses on Own Voice Processing which should make the user’s own voice more comfortable.
Unitron: Unitron released the Moxi Fit R, which is the smallest rechargeable hearing aid available. They also added custom styles that run on their Tempus platform. These include the Moxi Fit R, as well as the custom style Insera range. Finally, they released the new rechargeable behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aid, the Stride M R.
Widex: Widex released their new line of redesigned custom style hearing aids called Widex Custom. The Widex Custom is a new in-the-ear (ITE) by Widex that has a 40% smaller engine compared to their previous models, making the hearing aid smaller. It runs on the Unique platform to ensure clear sound. The new design also has a new program button and volume wheel, as well as a new battery door for easier access. As it has lower power consumption, the 312 battery lasts longer without sacrificing quality.
Expectations for New Hearing Aids 2018
Telehealth: is one of the most innovative features to come out of 2017. Allowing hearing aid users to communicate with their audiologists for remote adjustments, this is an advancement that exudes efficiency and convenience. You will no longer have to take days off work to see your audiologist for small adjustments that you would prefer to be fixed as soon as you notice them. Expect to see this explored and improved by more manufacturers in 2018.
Rechargeability: with rechargeable releases from Oticon in 2017, sister brand Sonic was quick to announce in January 2018 that they will be releasing a rechargeable hearing aid. Called the Enchant miniRITE with ZPower gives users all-day use of their hearing aids without having to use disposable batteries. Expect a possible rechargeable hearing aid release from its other sister brand Bernafon later this year.
Direct Connectivity: the second half of 2017 saw the release of Phonak’s Audéo B-Direct which allowed for direct connectivity to any mobile phone with Bluetooth connectivity. This hearing aid can be used like a wireless headset for your phone, as well as to accept or decline calls without having to have your phone on you. Expect sister brands Unitron and Hansaton to make similar releases in early 2018.
Widex: although it was already released last year in the United States, Widex’s newest release will be reaching Australian shores in early 2018. The Widex BEYOND Z boasts the lowest power consumption of all rechargeable hearing aids, as well as high-quality streaming. This hearing aid is the rechargeable addition of the already popular BEYOND Made for iPhone hearing aid line by Widex.
Signia Nx: perfect for first-time users of hearing aids, this platform ensures that use is comfortable to increase the continuation of hearing aid usage by having the world’s first Own Voice Processing (OVP). OVP makes the users own voice sound natural and clear. It also boasts TeleCare 3.0 for live remote adjustments. Despite being released last year, expect this to be a big seller in 2018.
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