I had an interesting conversation with someone from Widex recently in relation to the new Widex Beyond Made For iPhone hearing aid. It was in relation to the tri radio set up they had decided upon for the device. I have said before it made sense for them to keep the WidexLink radio on board and I said as much. Although I was thinking about backward compatibility. He said a really interesting thing, he said yes it would have meant losing the inter ear features when streaming if we didn’t. It struck me that he was of course right, then it struck me if that meant that the others were losing inter ear features when streaming.
Wireless hearing aids were a groundbreaking move forward in hearing aid technology. While the new accessory devices that became available make a real difference to people with hearing loss, it is actually the wireless communication between the hearing aids that has made such a huge difference.
The interear features are important for the efficacy of the hearing aids especially in difficult situations. In the top of the range Widex devices the biggest benefit to the user is the fact that the devices act in unison as one system in so many ways. They can only do so when communicating with each other. Let’s talk about those features in a Widex aid, specifically the Unique which is what the Widex Beyond is based on, and what they do.
Widex introduced Sound classes for the first time ever in the Unique range of hearing aids. Sound classes are different pre-sets that are designed to deal with very different sound environments. They are automatically applied when they hearing devices classify a change in sound environment. In the 440 and 330 range they are inter ear, which simply means that the hearing devices act in unison to decide what to do and when.
Compression is quite a technical feature to explain, in essence it is how the hearing aids manipulate and amplify sound. Widex has delivered inter ear compression in all of their technology levels in the Unique. Interear Compression is one of the reasons that Widex hearing aids work so well and sound so natural, in essence the hearing aids work together to decide how the sound is delivered to you.
This allows them to deliver the sound to you in the most natural way possible, preserving the auditory cues in their most natural state. This allows your brain to sort it out in the best way possible. In essence, the sound is presented to your brain in a natural way, allowing the brain to do what it does best. This was actually the biggest break through delivered by wireless hearing aids and why I think wireless devices which offer it are superior to everything else.
In both the 440 and 330 from Widex the noise reduction strategy is applied in an interear fashion. It means that the hearing aids make a decision about how noise reduction is applied in a systemic way taking full account of the sound environment. This has to be the most effective way to deal with noise.
There are other interear features available on Widex devices but I think these are the most important. These features are what make wireless hearing aids far superior than non wireless hearing aids. Each manufacturer has different inter ear features that do different things. They all combine to provide the very best listening experience for the user. However, if those interear features are compromised by the act of streaming it means that the hearing devices are hobbled in a way.
While this might not neceessarily seem important for most streaming activities like listening to music or played audio from a phone. It does matter if you are using your phone as a remote microphone, in fact in this stype of situation you want all the help you can get. That is why you are using the remote microphone. So it would seem counter productive to hobble the hearing devices by disabling the interear features.
I don’t know if that is the case with the other hearing device manufacturers, however, I plan to ask them and update this post with their answers. If that is the case though, it would mean that the Widex Beyond is the best Made For iPhone hearing aid ever.