We have been at the Oticon Drive event over the last few days learning a bit about the latest Oticon hearing aids, the Opn S platform. In a really interesting turn of events, Oticon has ensured that the lithium-ion battery pack in their new reachargeable hearing aids is replaceable by the hearing care professional. It will mean that when the time comes to replace it, the replacement can be done in the clinic instead of at the factory. That makes sense for consumers.
That’s an interesting move, up to now nearly all of the lithium-ion stuff has had to be returned to the factory to replace the power pack. Being able to replace it in the clinic ensures that consumers aren’t inconvenienced by missing their hearing aids while they go away. I think for consumers, that makes a lot of sense. The job will have to be done in the clinic though, the hearing devices have a specially locked battery port that a professional can open with a special tool.
Oticon has taken the time to learn from the experience of the other brands to design what they believe offers the best of all worlds. I like the charger unit and I like the hearing aids, unfortunately, I think Oticon missed one trick by not delivering a charger case like some of the other brands. They certainly are not the only ones to do so. I think the charger cases with extra charges are going to prove really popular and I can see all of the brands introducing them moving forward.
A Quick Run Down
Here is a quick rundown of the salient points:
Easily replaced rechargeable batteries
3 hours charging for a full day of hearing, including streaming*.
Connect to a TV, computer, smartphone and more via Bluetooth®
Tinnitus SoundSupport™ can play tinnitus relief sounds
Control hearing aids with the Oticon ON App
A Made for iPhone® hearing aid
With Telecoil (T-coil) that offers access to FM systems using a neckloop receiver
Volume and programme button
For mild to severe hearing loss
Water and dust resistant to IP68 standard
* Oticon say that expected operating time for rechargeable battery depends on use pattern, active feature set, hearing loss, sound environment, battery age and use of wireless accessories
We are attending the launch of the Oticon Opn S range today at the Oticon Drive event in the UK. We got to hear a little bit more about the new Opn S and I have to say that I am liking what I am hearing. The original Opn has been a huge success for Oticon, they really have been globally popular hearing aids that have caught the imagination. More than that, they are excellent hearing devices that offer an experience that no one else offered up to recently. The stats that we are hearing about the Opn S platform are outstanding. They offer a real improvement upon the original Opn which is impressive. I will cover the headline stuff here and we delve deeper at a later date. Let’s take a look.
Better speech understanding and reduced listening effort
With the upgraded OpenSound Navigator and the OpenSound Optimizer working together, Oticon say that the Opn S takes BrainHearing™ benefits to new heights. The stats they are quoting are as follows:
Oticon Opn increased speech understanding with 30% compared to traditional hearing aids. Now, Oticon Opn S outperforms Oticon Opn with a further 15% increase.
Oticon Opn reduced the listening effort with 20% compared to traditional hearing aids. Oticon Opn S adds an extra 10% reduction to that performance.
Oticon Opn improved memory recall with 20% compared to traditional hearing aids. With Oticon Opn S that number is increased with an additional 10%.
Considering the Opn was so good, improvements like that can’t be sneezed at. Of course, the proof will be in the pudding as they say. But I have no doubt that the claims will match real-world performance, to be honest with you.
Oticon has introduced a whole new way to handle feedback which allows them to deliver the optimal amplification in every situation. The new system looks really good and should allow speech perception to increase even in noisy situations where you need a lot of amplification.
As I reported earlier this year, the new range will initially come in four model types at three levels of technology and the market rollout of the Opn S family starts right now in the UK. The models are a Mini RITE, a Mini RITE-T, a Lithium-Ion rechargeable Mini RITE-R (which has a telecoil on board) and a 13 BTE. As I said, this will be the first time Oticon goes with a lithium-ion power source. The physical hardware specs for the new hearing aid models are similar to the original devices so they all cover a range of hearing losses.
Over the next couple of weeks as we get to grips with the new stuff we will write up a couple of articles covering what you need to know. We are hoping to get Steve a pair so we can get a clear idea of the real world benefits.
We are pleased to announce that the No Wax Ear Wax Removal Specialists Network has expanded dramatically over the last few weeks with new ear wax removal specialists from South Tyneside, Kilmarnock in Scotland, Warrington, Chester, London, Kent, Newry in Northern Ireland and Dundalk and Dublin in the Republic of Ireland among others joining the network. We are committed to growing the network this year across Uk, Ireland and the US in order that you can easily find ear wax removal specialists near you. Let’s meet them all.
New Ear Wax Removal Specialists UK
Ear Wax Removal in South Tyneside
North East Ear Clinic joined us during the month of March and they offer ear wax removal in Jarrow, Gateshead and South Shields. Philip Dinning LLB RHAD BSHAA is a fully qualified Hearing Aid Audiologist and has undertaken further training to be able to offer several types of ear wax removal. He provides micro suction ear wax removal and endoscope ear wax removal primarily.
Ear Wax Removal in Chester
Chester Hearing & Balance Services joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Chester. They offer Micro Suction ear wax removal at their hearing aid centre in Castle Street in the town.
Ear Wax Removal Warrington
Harmony Hearing joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Warrington. They provide both micro-suction ear wax removal and irrigation ear wax removal in their clinic at Crompton Opticians in Culcheth Warrington.
Ear Wax Removal Newry
Blueberry Hearing joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Newry and across Down, Armagh and Antrim. Blueberry Hearing have a clinic in Newry but they also offer micro-suction ear wax removal and irrigation ear wax removal in your own home across County Down, County Armagh and as far as Belfast in Country Antrim.
Ear Wax Removal Kilmarnock
Our old friend Greg Clements has opened a new business called Kilmarnock Hearing Care which provides ear wax removal in Kilmarnock. Greg will predominantly provide micro suction ear wax removal he also offers irrigation ear wax removal. Greg was the first person I know of that passed his 1000 ear wax removals a couple of years ago.
Ear Wax Removal Northwood, London
HearWeGo Audiology joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Northwood, Hillingdon, London. Preet Nijhar has a Masters degree in Audiology from UCL and 25 years experience working in the NHS and she provides micro suction ear wax removal at her centre in Northwood.
Ear Wax Removal Broadstairs, Kent
Regain Hearing joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Broadstairs, Kent. They provide micro suction ear wax removal at their hearing aid centre on the High Street in Broadstairs.
Ear Wax Removal Eltham, London
Regain Hearing have a second centre on the network and they provide ear wax removal in Eltham London. They provide micro suction ear wax removal at their hearing aid centre on the High Street in Eltham.
Ear Wax Removal Lincoln
AllHear joined the network and they provide ear wax removal in Lincoln. They provide micro suction ear wax removal at their hearing aid centre in North Hykeham, Lincoln.
New Ear Wax Removal Specialists Ireland
Ear Wax Removal Dundalk
Blueberry Hearing has a second hearing centre across the border in Ireland and they provide ear wax removal in Dundalk and across Louth, Monaghan and Dublin. While the Blueberry Hearing clinic is in Dundalk but they also offer micro-suction ear wax removal and irrigation ear wax removal in your own home across County Louth, County Monaghan and County Dublin.
Ear Wax Removal Fairview, Dublin
Connect Hearing joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Fairview in Dublin. They offer micro suction ear wax removal and irrigation ear wax removal at the centre in Fairview.
Ear Wax Removal Stillorgan, Dublin
Connect Hearing joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Stillorgan in Dublin. They offer micro suction ear wax removal and irrigation ear wax removal at the centre in Fairview.
Ear Wax Removal Rathfarnham, Dublin
Connect Hearing joined the network during March and they provide ear wax removal in Rathfarnham in Dublin. They offer micro suction ear wax removal and irrigation ear wax removal at their hearing aid centre on Marian Road, Rathfarnham.
We hope that the network will continue to grow this year across the UK and Ireland, we also hope to be identifying ear wax removal services in the US soon as well.
While everyone else seems to be announcing lithium-ion for their rechargeable hearing aids, Widex recently announced that they were going with the second-generation ZPower Rechargeable System. I think they may well be the only company doing so, they say that the upgrade has taken every element of how the battery system works into account, from the charger station software to the battery door. I always liked the idea of the ZPower system, it made real sense to me to be able to swap out rechargeable batteries for traditional batteries if need be. However, the systems have proved problematic at best. It looks as though ZPower has worked to iron out all the problems though. It should be interesting to see what happens moving forward. Let’s talk about Widex, the Evoke and the new ZPower system.
They have not been shy about this and it seems that it is a complete overhaul as opposed to some cosmetic changes. They say that the charging station provides a more optimized charging cycle, and a new nanocoated ASIC chip ensures the best use of both short-and long-term power.
They have made the battery door stronger with 100% more plastic, they have also enhanced the battery contact configuration which they say will make the design more robust. They have also provided extra moisture protection of metal parts which should reduce any chances of corrosion from moisture.
They say the new design offers enhanced dependability and quality. I hope so because I really like the ZPower system and I would like to see them succeed. Up to now, reliability has been a huge problem. Some of that is down to the hearing aid brands and some of it has been an issue with ZPower. Hopefully, the new system for Widex will overcome all of the issues.
I have been wearing a set of the Styletto Connect for close to a week now and I have put them through their paces. I have to say that I have been impressed with them although I expected them to work well. I have experience with the Nx platform before while wearing the original Styletto and the Pure 312 Nx. They are good hearing aids and they deliver pretty strongly. The connectivity on the Pure 312 is excellent, so I was interested to see how the smaller Styletto Connect would handle Bluetooth connection. I was also really interested to see what the battery life would be. To be honest, they weren’t too bad, let’s talk about my experiences.
The devices are light enough and they sit on the ear well, wearing them isn’t a major inconvenience. For some reason the left receiver kept sliding out, I definitely need to look at a custom tip for the left ear. The right receiver stayed in place most of the time without issue. All in all, put them on and pretty much forget them really.
During the last week, I have fielded many questions from different people about the devices. Generally, someone notices them and asks what they are, they seem to be always surprised when I say hearing aids. When I show them the case and explain they are rechargeable hearing aids they are fascinated. They always and I mean always, say something about fancy earphones or Apple products. It was fascinating to watch their reactions during the week and I think it is the first time I have had to field so many questions about my hearing aids.
Rechargeability & The Case
This is probably a strange thing to start with but it’s worth talking about and I will explain why. I spent the week, more or less in Copenhagen working. I was there from Tuesday to Friday and I purposely didn’t bring the cable for the charger case with me to test it. The charger works as designed and it really is an attractive little thing. I used the aids over the few days just throwing them into the charger every night before bed.
To be honest, I hammered them on the first day, I streamed an audio book for slightly over seven hours. I didn’t put the hearing aids on until just after nine that morning before I went for my flight and the low battery warning kicked in at about half ten that night. As I was in Copenhagen, it was half eleven Danish time, and I was ready for bed. Taking the time difference into account, it means that the battery delivered thirteen and a half hours with over seven hours of streaming. During the rest of the week, the hearing aids were put on at about eight am and came out at about eleven pm.
I am a heavy user of streaming, I listen to audio books and music quite a lot. I always listen to a book when travelling and I nearly always listen to music when I am writing. For this reason, I want a stable connection and a really strong battery life from the hearing aids I use. The Styletto Connect handled much of what I wanted very well, The battery life wasn’t bad considering the abuse I threw at it. One night during the week after some heavy use during the day and nearly constant streaming I got a low battery warning at about nine pm. I threw the aids in the charger case for about twenty minutes and then just put them on again until I was ready to go to bed.
In my experience, the overall sound quality of Signia hearing aids is excellent in general, they are crisp yet full sounding. High-frequency sounds are clear and the clarity is excellent. The own voice experience still surprises me every time I set up the feature. Hear your own voice, train the aids, don’t hear your own voice, amazing. Streaming audio is generally really good quality. I played more than a few tunes during the week and I had a marathon session of “Debt of Honour” by Tom Clancy on Audible.
The audio reproduction is pretty solid and phone calls were really great. I was wearing open domes because they are the most comfortable for me. It means the sound could be better, but the hearing aids try to make up for it. If you are looking for really high-quality earphone type sound, ask your professional to give you closed domes as well. Then you can switch to them if you are going for a marathon streaming session.
The connectivity is really solid, during the week I never once had a full drop out while streaming audio and I never had any problems with a call full stop. There are the usual Bluetooth issues with the streaming (all of the Made For iPhone hearing aids have them) which I will explain later, but overall they don’t suffer any more problems than I expected. Considering their small size, I was pleasantly surprised.
As you move through different sound situations the hearing aids react seamlessly. There is no obvious change or switch, they just seem to work. I found myself in several typical situations and several untypical situations during the week, in quiet reading a book, on a plane, one to one conversations, a noisy food hall, many train stations a busy urban situation, a noisy cafe and in the car.
The Styletto Connects just did their thing delivering the ability to hear without fuss or fanfare. As with the rest of the Nx range I have tried, quiet was quiet, and as I moved from situation to situation the differing features worked seamlessly without audible changes in the sound.
The hearing aids handled wind noise pretty well during the week. In the car with the window open and the wind whistling through the window, there was no cavitation across the microphones. When I was out and about during the week it was really quite windy and again, I had no real problems. Signia devices seemed to handle the wind pretty well, the wind sounded no louder than it should and it didn’t intrude upon my ability to hold a conversation.
What About Noisy Situations?
I was in a fair few noisy situations during the week and the hearing aids performed well. They delivered the ability to understand speech in all of the situations I found myself in. I ate in the Tivoli Food Hall on Wednesday night and it was pretty busy, I could hear the guy taking my order very well without much issue. It was a good night, I scored free Quesadillas, whoop whoop (a story for another time). Any night you score free Quesadillas is a good night.
On Thursday night, I was back again at the Tivoli Food Hall meeting a young analyst for a chat. Again it was pretty busy. This time I went for the chicken place, I could hear the girl behind the counter clearly without issue. I sat down at the counter with my companion and chatted while we waited for the food. The chap is Norwegian, but he has spent so much time in the US that he has an American accent.
Usually, the biggest problems you have understanding speech are with people you aren’t familiar with and accents that you may not hear regularly. Throw in background noise and you tend to be all over the place. The noise in the background was kept there, in the background. His voice was clear and easily understood. In fairness, I think he had more problem understanding my accent than I did understanding him.
Because the Styletto Connect is Bluetooth enabled, you can use the myControl app which you couldn’t on the original Styletto. The app delivers fantastic power over your experience with the devices. Signia have given you the ability to control the focus of the hearing aids, in fact, they give you the power to surgically target the focus.
Using the myControl app you can narrow the focus of the directional microphones to a narrow beam. It means that the hearing aids are focused narrowly on what you are pointing them at. Giving you outstanding levels of hearing in even the most complex of situations.
I first used the app while testing the Pure 312 Nx a while ago and I was really impressed, I said and I quote “So, I placed the emphasis on the front of me and then I narrowed the beam, surgical focus. It rocked, I mean truly rocked! It doesn’t sound natural, in fact, it sounds a little odd, but who cares, I could hear what my companion was saying. Considering I had several drinks on, the whole room was shouting and my companion had begun to slur at that stage “you know I love you right!!!!” I think I was doing okay.”
The feature works as advertised with the Styletto Connect, another reason why Bluetooth connectivity rocks so much.
It is important to point out that Styletto Connect has the twin radios onboard, and they are able to deliver all of those amazing Signia ear to ear features while they are receiving streaming audio from an iPhone. It means that the own voice feature continues to work while you stream audio as does the directionality features. Basically, it means the hearing aids aren’t hobbled in any way while you are streaming audio. As I said, the audio is pretty good, my tunes were excellent, full and clear and phone calls were excellent.
The Usual Bluetooth Problems
As I said earlier, I had the usual Bluetooth problems, Bluetooth signals don’t pass through water very well. As the body is mostly water, they don’t pass through the body very well. So, from time to time, the audio drops out, usually to one ear only. Shifting position or taking the iPhone out of my pocket usually sorted the problem out. This is just what you need to expect with Bluetooth and iPhone.
Bass Boost & Changing Volume of Streaming Audio
As I said, I am wearing the Signia aids with open tips, however, the streamed audio sounds pretty good. The devices give an automatic bass boost to streamed audio which means you get a full and pleasant sound. As with the Pure 312 Nx, the volume of the streamed audio increases as the external sound increases. I noticed this several times in particular when I was on the platform of the different train stations and trains were coming in. That there, is a pretty cool feature for a man that likes to listen to audiobooks. Features like this just make life easier, it means that you have to spend less time trying to hear better, it just happens.
In finishing for this article, pretty good overall sound, easy and pretty solid connection to the phone, good streamed audio, fantastic own voice experience and surgical focus with the app. The battery life is respectable although if you are a heavy user like me, well then you need to know that you will probably be throwing them in the case for a quick charge every now and then.
I managed to get my hands on a set of the new Signia Styletto Connect hearing aids and I think these devices are going to make a pretty big splash. Sivantos sent me a demo set and an iPhone for testing purposes (I don’t have an iPhone, had one, my daughter killed it). Anyway, let’s talk about the Styletto Connect.
Similar Form Factor
Firstly, the new Styletto Connect is built on the Nx platform and they will be available in the three levels of technology. They will also have the Own Voice feature that has been pretty successful for Signia. As with the original, the devices will be suitable for mild to moderate hearing losses mainly. Unlike the original, they are Bluetooth enabled Made For iPhone hearing aids. The Connect is slightly longer than the original Styletto, no more than about 5mm though.
Not Like Hearing Devices
First of all, I want to speak about the unboxing experience, a small but powerful thing. I think I said it about the original Styletto packaging, this ain’t like any other hearing aid. The box is really pretty, it reminds you of an iPhone box or some other high worth mobile phone. When you slide the outer case up, the inner box is revealed with the charger and aids nestled in a moulded tray.
The whole experience is unlike any other hearing aid experience I have had with the possible exception of the Eargo. It feels good, and that is the point because the Styletto Connect like the Styletto before it, is unlike any other hearing aid. The hearing aids are small and quite discreet, they feel really light on the ears and hug the back of the ear just as well as the original.
The devices I am trialling are black with the brushed steel stripe down the back. I said it before, the case of the device has a nice quality feel to it and they look both modern and luxurious. As with the original, the receiver is fixed to the case and the case appears sealed pretty well.
The Charger Case
The charger case is a little bigger than the original so it can hold those four days of charge. Having said that it is easy to hold, still fits in the palm of your hand and will easily fit even in trouser pockets. They have changed the lid slightly with the hinge on the inside of the case rather than jutting out of the back and an easier opened catch. The original had a bit of a knack to opening it, the new one just opens as you would expect. I have said it before, Signia has a lot of experience with rechargeable hearing aids and their rechargers are some of the best in the business.
This charger is no different, it is an automatic charger which turns the hearing aids off when placed in it and on when they are taken out. It charges the devices in as little as three hours and it offers four extra charges. When you put the hearing aids into their charging ports, you can feel the magnet pulling them into place. There is no pushing, or pulling or twisting or bending, they slip in and slip out with ease.
The Original Market Research
Signia undertook market research around the Styletto when it was first introduced which seemed to show that it changed attitudes to hearing devices. In essence, they showed a group one range without the Styletto and one range with the Styletto included. The differences were a little startling. In the first group, 24% of the group did not choose a hearing aid.
When shown the second range with the Styletto included, the number of people who did not choose a hearing aid had reduced to 10%. That meant that nine in ten picked a hearing aid with many of them actually picking the Styletto.
I don’t think the original Styletto lived up to the promise though. For me, the Styletto is a young and funky hearing aid most attractive to a younger demographic than the norm. The problem with that is that demographic want connectivity. The original Styletto couldn’t deliver, the Styletto Connect delivers in spades. I think that the Styletto Connect may well be the roaring success that they hoped the Styletto would be.
The fact that these devices are Bluetooth enabled means that you will have access to calls and music streamed to your hearing aids. Even better, you will have access to the excellent Signia app and telecare. I like the app and I had a pretty excellent experience with the directionality feature with the Pure Nx. In the interests of science, taking one for the team and you dear readers, I might just have to go down the pub again to see if I can replicate it with the Styletto Connect, wouldn’t be a true review if I didn’t.
Pros and Cons
If you are worried about discretion this is a pretty discrete device when worn. More than that, it is a pretty device and is more reminiscent of modern high-end consumer electronics than a hearing aid. It’s easy to wear, light on the ears and sits well.
Like the original, the receiver is fixed in the hearing aid and can not be replaced in the clinic, it will have to be a factory repair job. That means that you will need to take care of it to ensure it doesn’t fail. Generally, people do not take care of their receivers, we see them failing all of the time through user negligence. They get full of wax and moisture and die.
This is your fault, let me be very clear if you don’t clean your hearing aids and your receiver dies, that is your fault, no one else. Having said that, manufacturers have ignored this fact and just repaired them under warranty.
Double Wax Guard System
As I said about the original Styletto, Signia offers a pretty good wax management system. It comprises both a wax guard in the receiver and a grid guard in the tip. That’s really double protection, so if you do kill your receiver with wax, you really have been negligent.
The devices will be launched in a couple of days to the market. I had a great experience with the Pure Nx, so I look forward to giving them a try. I have them for the next two weeks, don’t worry Sivantos, I will give them and your uber sexy iPhone 5C back hahahhahahahahah. Keep tuned and in a couple of days, I will let you know how I have got on.
Signia announced the introduction of a new Styletto model today, the Styletto Connect will be a Rechargeable Bluetooth enabled hearing aid and it will be released this month. The original Styletto suffered a little from the lack of connectivity, however, it was still well received. I tried it and I liked it a lot and you can read my original thoughts in the article “My Day To Day Experience of The Signia Styletto“. As I said, I liked it a lot but for me, the lack of connectivity was a deal breaker. The new model fixes that so I will be taking a strong look at them again pretty soon. Let’s talk about the press release.
Rechargeable Bluetooth Hearing Aids
As before, the new Styletto is a rechargeable hearing aid, but as I said, for the first time, it is also a Bluetooth hearing aid. The new Styletto Connect comes with the same type of charger unit as the original, but according to the Press Release it will now hold four days of extra charge rather than the original three. I really liked the charger case, it is small, discreet and easy to slip in a pocket. They say in the press release that it is three times smaller and half the weight of other charging cases and I probably can’t disagree.
Battery Life With Streaming
Sivantos says that you will get 16 hours worth of battery life from one charge with 5 hours of streaming. That is pretty much a full day for most people, however, they point out that a simple 30-minute fast charge adds 5 hours of extra use or 3 hours of streaming.
Own Voice Processing
The Styletto Connect is based on the Nx platform and it offers the Own Voice Processing feature that I was so impressed with. In essence, it is a pretty astounding feature that removes the user’s voice from the signal. This completely reduces the sense of occlusion and makes the hearing aids much easier to wear for first-time users.
Because the Styletto Connect is Bluetooth enabled, it will also offer access to Signia’s remote care system. The Signia Telecare system is pretty good and like the others, it offers a new way for people to engage with their hearing care professional and have fine-tuning and aftercare undertaken.
Three Levels of Technology
The Styletto Connect will be offered in the normal 3 levels of technology from Signia, that will be a 7, 5 and finally 3.
The original Styletto was designed with the concept of changing the feel of hearing aids. They were designed to make hearing aids attractive to users. I always felt that the style was most attractive and most suitable for young users. However, the lack of connectivity and access to remote care hobbled them quite a bit. After all, younger users are all about connectivity and they’re more than happy to use telecare.
The new Styletto Connect solves all of those issues and I think they will be a very popular choice. Like us on Facebook by clicking the button below to keep up to date with our latest ramblings. You can read the full press release below.
Sivantos launches Styletto Connect: an ultra-slim hearing aid with connectivity and portable charging
New Signia Styletto Connect combines unique SLIM-RIC form factor with Bluetooth® connectivity
Stylish, high-tech device complements Signia as the world’s largest Li-ion rechargeable hearing aid portfolio
Styletto Connect provides up to four days of wireless charging-on-the-go
Hearing aid technology leader Sivantos today unveiled its latest innovation: Styletto Connect from the brand Signia. Built upon Signia’s revolutionary SLIM-RIC form factor and Signia Nx technology platform, Styletto Connect combines exceptional design with high-quality connectivity to the wearer’s smartphone to stream calls, music and TV via Bluetooth, plus fully portable rechargeability. Styletto Connect comes with a pocket-sized portable charging case that powers a full day’s worth of wearing with five hours of streaming on a single charge. A 30-minute fast charge adds five hours of use, or three hours of streaming, for complete flexibility on the move. Fully loaded, the charging case delivers four days of user autonomy, free from plugs or cables – ideal for a weekend getaway or a business trip. Three times smaller and half the weight of other chargers with a built-in power cell, it is easy to fit in the wearer’s pocket and carry with them. At a time when more people develop hearing loss, but many remain reluctant to wear hearing aids, Styletto Connect was developed to offer a viable solution. It is a sleek, elegant device people can be proud towear, while providing the latest audiological technology for better hearing and speech understanding in any situation. Styletto Connect is available in the performance levels 7, 5, and 3 and includes remote-control options via the Signia myControl app. The new hearing aid is IP 68 rated and available in three attractivecolor combinations: Black / Silver, Cosmic Blue / Rose Gold, and Snow White / Rose Gold. Leading the way in rechargeability Signia’s latest premium hearing aid forms part of the world’s largest Li-ion hearing aid portfolio, covering SLIM-RIC, RIC, BTE, and CROS devices as well as all performance levels. This means that hearing care professionals (HCPs) can meet the needs of experienced hearing aid users as well as younger and first-time wearers looking for stylish all-around hearwear. Eric Timm, CEO of Sivantos, said: “Sivantos aims to create hearing solutions that don’t just help people hear better, but also help them live life to the fullest. Our Styletto Connect delivers on this goal by offering high-tech hearing aids that combine cutting-edge style and direct streaming with on-the-go charging. The Signia brand offers hearing care professionals the greatest choice of Li-ion rechargeable hearing aids so their patients can benefit from market-leading sound performance, stylish design, and the utmost convenience.” The entire Signia Li-ion portfolio is built on the acclaimed Signia Nx platform, which includes Ultra HD e2e with Narrow Directionality for superior speech understanding in noise. It also has the world’s first Own Voice Processing (OVP™) feature for a more natural sounding own voice and higher user acceptance. All hearing aids offer Signia TeleCare™, the remote support and fine-tuning software that keeps HCPs connected to their clients. It enables them to offer advice and remote tuning via the wearer’s myHearing™ smartphone app in between appointments to help ensure a smooth and successful trial period and continued customer loyalty. For more information: https://pro.signiausa.com/styletto-connect/
 Based on 16 hours of wearing time per day SLIM-RIC: Styletto and Styletto Connect, RIC: Pure Charge&Go Nx, BTE: Motion Charge&Go Nx, CROS: all four
GN released its financial reports to investors recently. They are doing very well with the Quattro helping them to increase market share which I won’t go over because I am sure you can read it elsewhere. One thing caught my eye though, in the presentation GN mentioned two separate Artificial Intelligence strategies that they hoped to introduce to their hearing aids. One of the is a personalised noise management system and the other is a system to increase the efficacy of the first fit and fine tuning for professionals. Let’s take a look.
Noise Management Extraordinaire
I spoke about GN’s collaboration with audEERING in the article “Resound & Beltone to Have Artificial Intelligence & Siri Upgrades For Hearing Aids“. I said then “A fascinating Press Release by Jabra (part of the GN Family) talks about how they are introducing AI within their active noise cancellation headphones. They say that they will be using AI to tune out specific types of noise. Using technology from audEERING, the Elite 85h can detect over 6,000 sound characteristics and filter out the noise more specifically”.
It was reported at the time that the new Jabra headphones could identify and eliminate noise almost instantaneously. I also said at the time that the introduction of such a system to hearing aids offered technical difficulty but not an impossibility. It appears that GN agrees with that sentiment and are working towards it.
What Would it Mean?
In essence, the system would begin to learn what sounds are worthless and what sounds are important. Over time the system would then work to remove or attenuate the worthless while leaving the important alone. One day it could mean completely clean speech signal. It would mean that hearing aid users would actually have better hearing in some situations than people with normal hearing. Wouldn’t that be cool?
It isn’t going to happen right now, but the introduction of the system would begin the process in earnest. The more information these systems have, the better they learn and the better the outcome. To be honest, it can’t happen soon enough.
The second system mentioned appears to be a learning system based around hearing aid user experience in relation to first fit and fine-tuning strategies. It appears to promise to channel the learning back to the professional in the fitting software to ensure both a better first fit and stronger fine-tuning suggestions. That’s just a guess though. No matter, it looks really interesting and as I learn more, I will, of course, update the article.
Phonak has extended the Audeo Marvel range with two new model types, a 312 with a telecoil and a size 13 with a telecoil. It makes the Audeo Marvel range a really strong contender for pretty much everyone. The sooner the better that they introduce the RogerDirect though, I think the range suffers badly from the lack of access to assistive devices.
They are releasing the Audeo M-312T and the Audeo M-13T to the market. I think they will both be well received although my money would be on the size 13 being the favourite for many pros and consumers alike. There has been a lot of mumblings about the battery life of the 312 on forums on the internet of late. The size 13 battery should deliver much better battery life while not being dramatically bigger in size.
Pretty Good in Noise
While the Marvel has proved itself as a pretty good hearing device in noise, it still lacks access to assistive listening devices for the purpose. I believe in remote microphones, I think they are outstanding additions. So for me, the RogerDirect functionality can’t come quick enough.
This is copied from a Reddit post by kerrigan7782 – normally I would just link to external sites but I don’t know if Reddit posts are deleted after a certain amount of time. The text is about the sound being emitted during the take-off of a space rocket.
The Saturn V itself, (and all large rockets nowadays) are so loud that they will kill themselves from volume alone. NASA must employ a Sound Suppression System that dumps enormous quantities of water continuously onto the launch pad to muffle the sound waves reflecting off the launch pad surface as they are so powerful that they will damage the rocket itself.
Now then, lets do the math, this chart handily informs us that the Saturn V rocket produced a SWL (Sound Power Level) of about 220 decibels, which is sufficient to melt concrete nearby and set grass aflame a mile away, however, lets just look at sound attenuation calculations alone and compare them to smaller figures to make it seem more comprehend able.
Since I am not a physicist or engineer (yet) I am going to use the simplified math that direct sound attenuates at a rate of 6 dB each time you double the distance. Since I am lazy I am going to go one step further and use this site’s calculator to convert SWL to SPL.
At 20 meters from the rocket nozzle an observer might be experiencing 182 db SPL, the equivalent of more than a pound of TNT detonating 15 feet away or 1 ton of tnt detonating 150 feet away, survival would be extremely unlikely, wind force would be over 100 mph, buildings would be torn apart, it would become very, very hot from the sound pressure alone compressing the air.
At 100 meters it would fade to (merely) 170 db, you would be unable to breathe or likely see at all from the sound pressure, glass would shatter, fog would be generated as the water in the air dropped out of suspension in the pressure waves, your house at this distance would have a roughly 50% chance of being torn apart from sound pressure alone. Military stun grenades reach this volume for a split second… if they are placed up to your face. Survival chance from sound alone, minimal, you would certainly experience permanent deafness but probably also organ damage. At this distance, the ambient air temperature would remain relatively steady, with perhaps a little heating or cooling, (alternatively it might alternate between hot and cold as the low frequency vibrations pass over you)
At 500 meters, 155 db you would experience painful, violent shaking in your entire body, you would feel compressed, as though deep underwater. Your vision would blur, breathing would be very difficult, your eardrums are obviously a lost cause, even with advanced active noise cancelling protection you could experience permanent damage. This is the sort of sound level aircraft mechanics sometimes experience for short periods of time. Almost twice as “loud” as putting your ear up to the exhaust of a formula 1 car. The air temperature would drop significantly, perhaps 10-25 degrees F, becoming suddenly cold because of the air being so violently stretched and moved.
At 2 kilometers (140+ db), you are reaching the closest you could be without near instant permanent hearing loss without hearing protection. You would feel a similar amount of force from the sound pressure as a football player tackling you. Your throat and vocal cords would start vibrating along to the sound of their own accord. The air temperature would drop “only” a few degrees from expansion.
At 5 km, or 3 miles (135 db) it would have a similar volume as a freight train horn continuously blowing in your near proximity, but low and rumbling. Permanent hearing damage would result without significant hearing protection.
NASA actually lets people view the shuttle launch at a distance of around 7 miles (front seat of rock concert-esque volumes predicted here, freaking casuals). I should also mention that this is a very simplified model that ignores wind speed, humidity, altitude, the existence of the ground, everything to do with the source of the sound (like superhot rocket exhaust) and some other factors.