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Currently, Phonak holds the esteemed position as the premier brand of the Sonova Group. Its recognition in the market is twofold: as a leader and as a trailblazer in the arena of digital hearing aid products and technologies.
In the year 2017, Phonak broke new ground in the audiology world by launching the Audéo B-R, the first-ever hearing aid equipped with an inbuilt lithium-ion rechargeable battery. This innovation promised users an uninterrupted all-day power supply, a much-needed feature for those relying on these devices for their day-to-day communication.
Phonak continued to push the envelope in 2018 when it presented the Audéo Marvel to the world. This was another first for Phonak as the Audéo Marvel became the first hearing aid with full-featured Bluetooth connectivity. This advancement revolutionized the way users could interact with their hearing aids, enabling seamless integration with a variety of Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Fast forward to the present, Phonak’s most recent offering, Lumity, is raising the bar once again for hearing aid technology. This state-of-the-art device features all-day rechargeable batteries, catering to the user’s power needs throughout their daily routine. The built-in accelerometer empowers the device with motion-sensing capabilities, offering a more intuitive and personalized user experience.
Tap controls integrated into the Lumity model further enhance user-friendliness, simplifying interactions with the hearing aid. Perhaps most crucially, Lumity significantly improves speech clarity in noise. This critical feature aids users in effortlessly participating in conversations, even in challenging, noisy environments.
Thus, Phonak continues to lead the way, transforming the world of hearing aids with a continuous stream of pioneering products and technologies. Phonak sells more hearing aids than any other brand worldwide.
My Personal Favorite Hearing Aid Brand
Phonak is undoubtedly my personal favorite brand when it comes to hearing aids. Having worked at the VA for 12 years, fitting hearing aids for numerous patients, I have had extensive experience with various brands. However, Phonak stands out as the leading choice in the market, particularly in the VA. Over the years, I have worked with tens of thousands of Phonak hearing aids, and their products consistently demonstrate exceptional quality and performance.
Regardless of the severity of the hearing loss, I have always trusted Phonak to deliver outstanding results. When it comes to recommending a hearing aid, Phonak is consistently my top choice due to its reliability and effectiveness in improving the quality of life for individuals with hearing impairments.
Discover Advanced Connectivity: Bluetooth Technology
|Marvel (2018)||– First hearing aid with universal Bluetooth connectivity|
|– Capable of streaming stereo audio directly from Bluetooth devices|
|Paradise (2020)||– Simultaneous pairing with up to 8 Bluetooth devices|
|Audéo Lumity (2023)||– Third-generation with improved speech clarity|
|– Compatible with a wide range of Bluetooth devices|
|– Seamless integration with Phonak’s Roger accessories|
|Cochlear Implants (Naída CI Marvel)||– Universal Bluetooth connectivity technology integrated into AB cochlear implants|
In November 2018, Phonak made waves in the audiology world with the introduction of Marvel, the first-ever hearing aid capable of streaming stereo audio directly to and from any Bluetooth-enabled device without a neck loop. This breakthrough development signaled a paradigm shift in hearing aid technology, as until then, no other manufacturer had successfully tackled the complexities of universal Bluetooth connectivity.
Fast forward to 2020, Phonak unveiled Paradise, an innovative upgrade that allowed simultaneous pairing with up to 8 Bluetooth devices. Today, Phonak’s expertise in Bluetooth compatibility is evident in its third-generation Audéo Lumity hearing aids. These devices not only uphold Phonak’s commitment to universal Bluetooth connectivity but also offer enhancements in speech clarity amidst ambient noise.
The Audéo Lumity model boasts compatibility with a broad spectrum of contemporary Bluetooth devices, encompassing most smartphones and laptops. In addition, these hearing aids are designed to work seamlessly with Phonak’s range of Roger accessories.
Prior to the arrival of Phonak’s Marvel, only iPhone users enjoyed the privilege of unobstructed direct stereo streaming. Android users were required to purchase and carry additional streaming accessories to wirelessly access audio from their phones. Although in 2023 several hearing aid manufacturers offer direct audio streaming from Android, compatibility remains limited to a select few handsets. It’s worth noting that hands-free calling with Android is exclusively possible with Sonova-brand products, including Phonak and Unitron.
To facilitate binaural streaming of music and phone calls over Bluetooth, Phonak engineered the third iteration of its SWORD wireless chip. By incorporating all communication protocols onto a single hearing aid chip, they significantly reduced power consumption and addressed the battery life constraints of earlier chipsets. The introduction of Phonak’s new PRISM chip, available in both Paradise and Lumity models, represents another leap forward. This chip doubles the memory, enabling 8 paired devices and 2 active Bluetooth connections simultaneously.
In a strategic collaboration with Sonova’s Advanced Bionics (AB) brand, Phonak has incorporated its universal Bluetooth connectivity technology into cochlear implants sold by AB, such as the Naída CI Marvel. This integration underscores Phonak’s commitment to transforming the hearing experience for a diverse range of users.
Phonak Hearing Aids Pricing: Finding the Right Fit for Your Budget
When it comes to the pricing of Phonak’s hearing aids, there are multiple factors to consider, including the specific model, features, and technology level of the hearing aid. Here, we present the pricing for Phonak’s Audéo Lumity range obtained from ZipHearing, an online platform through which you can purchase hearing aids and get connected with a local clinic for fitting.
- Audéo Lumity 90: $4798 per pair
- Audéo Lumity 70: $3798 per pair
- Audéo Lumity 50: $3198 per pair
- Audéo Lumity 30: $2498 per pair
ZipHearing provides a simple and convenient solution for purchasing Phonak hearing aids. Once you’ve purchased your preferred model online, ZipHearing arranges for you to visit a local clinic where professional audiologists or hearing aid dispensers will ensure your new hearing aids are properly fitted and fine-tuned to your specific needs.
It is important to note that prices at your local audiologist clinic may differ from the prices found on the internet. Various factors contribute to these variations, including the unique overhead costs associated with running a clinic. Many audiology clinics choose to bundle hearing aid prices with all future services for those devices, ensuring comprehensive care and support for patients. In contrast, platforms like ZipHearing offer unbundled prices for hearing aids, allowing for more flexibility in service selection. It is recommended to consult with your local audiologist to understand the pricing structure and available services that best meet your specific needs.
It’s worth noting that while previous generations of Phonak hearing aids can still be purchased at slightly lower prices, investing in the latest generation is a prudent choice. This advice stems from the understanding that recent iterations come equipped with updated technology, resulting in improved performance and better overall user experience. As such, the initial investment in the most recent generation of hearing aids can provide more value in the long run due to enhanced features, superior sound quality, and improved connectivity options.
Remember, the goal is not just to find a hearing aid, but to find a hearing solution that best fits your lifestyle and hearing needs. The right investment can drastically improve your quality of life, making every conversation and sound more accessible and enjoyable.
Convenient and Eco-Friendly: Rechargeable Hearing Aids
Progress in lithium-ion battery technology has effectively addressed issues that plagued previous generations of rechargeable hearing aids. Phonak, a pioneer in this area, now offers its 4th generation of rechargeable hearing aids, designed to provide users with an impressive full day’s worth of battery life, lasting up to 24 hours. The stable power supply delivered by the advanced lithium-ion battery technology ensures users won’t have to contend with the performance irregularities or intermittent functioning that hindered older models.
Note that currently, Phonak does not sell a zinc-air battery version of its flagship line of hearing aids.
Let’s delve into the specifics of the Phonak Lumity R, R-L, R-T, and Slim models and their charging performance:
- The hearing aids achieve a full charge in just 3 hours.
- A brief 30-minute charge suffices for up to 6 hours of use.
- Once fully charged, these devices can operate for 24 hours, which includes 80 minutes of streaming time.
- Even with a significant amount of streaming, you can expect about 16 hours of use time; this includes 4 hours of Bluetooth streaming and an additional 4 hours of TV streaming.
- The built-in batteries are designed to stand the test of time with an expected lifespan of 6 years.
In essence, the latest generation of Phonak rechargeable hearing aids offers users a reliable, long-lasting solution to their hearing needs, eliminating the need for constant recharging and ensuring uninterrupted functionality throughout the day.
Innovative Functions and Features
Phonak stands as a beacon of excellence in the hearing aid industry, offering premium products that are individually tailored by audiologists based on your unique hearing test results. Their diverse portfolio caters to all degrees of hearing loss with a comprehensive selection of fully programmable models. These devices boast state-of-the-art Bluetooth and other connectivity features, along with a suite of supportive accessories.
One of their latest flagship products, the Audéo Lumity, elevates the listening experience with universal Bluetooth audio streaming, hands-free calling capabilities, and enhanced speech clarity. Notably similar to its predecessor (Paradise), Lumity introduces innovative features like StereoZoom 2.0 and SpeechSensor, promising greater speech intelligibility amid background noise.
Currently, Lumity comes in four distinctive form factors, all boasting rechargeability:
- Lumity R: A rechargeable receiver-in-canal model available in various colors ranging from velvet black to sand beige.
- Lumity RT: Similar to the R model, with the addition of a telecoil.
- Lumity Life: Like the R model (minus the telecoil), this version offers superior water resistance—perfect for those in humid environments or leading active lifestyles.
- Lumity Slim: Designed to resemble a high-tech communication device rather than a traditional hearing aid, this model provides a contoured fit behind the ear, making it ideal even for eyeglass wearers.
Here’s an in-depth look at the key features of Phonak’s Lumity, displayed in a comprehensive table for easy comparison:
|Stereo Bluetooth streaming||Streaming capabilities from iPhone, iPad, MacOS, Android, Windows, and other Bluetooth-enabled audio devices. Can pair with up to 8 Bluetooth devices and maintain 2 active Bluetooth connections.|
|Completely Automatic Programming||Phonak AutoSense 5.0 is an intelligent automatic program in Phonak hearing aids that adapts to the wearer’s listening environment, automatically adjusting settings for optimal sound quality and speech clarity. It seamlessly transitions between different listening situations, ensuring a personalized and effortless hearing experience throughout the day.|
|Tap controls||Double-tap functionality to accept/end phone calls, pause/resume streaming, and access voice assistants like Siri and Google Assistant.|
|Motion sensing||A state-of-the-art ultra-low power accelerometer that adjusts the hearing aid microphones and noise cancellation settings based on your movements.|
|Clearer speech in quiet settings||StereoZoom 2.0 and SpeechSensor features deliver clearer speech in background noise.|
|Health tracking||With the myPhonak app, you can track steps, distance walked or run, heart rate (fit model), activity levels, and hearing aid usage.|
|Improved noise cancellation||Dynamic Noise Cancellation feature introduced in the Paradise model, working in conjunction with a directional beamformer microphone system.|
|PRISM sound processing chip||New chip doubles the memory and enhances the processing of sound.|
|Hands-free calling in stereo||True hands-free calling from Bluetooth-enabled phones.|
|TV Streaming||Direct streaming from Bluetooth-enabled TVs and compatibility with the Phonak TV Connector accessory.|
|Rechargeability||Lumity ensures a full day of hearing aid usage from a single charge of its lithium-ion batteries.|
|At-home adjustments||Lumity hearing aids can be remotely adjusted by your hearing professional through the MyPhonak app.|
|Moisture protection||Lumity hearing aids have an IP68 rating, the highest possible for a hearing aid. Lumity Life model is waterproof up to 1 meter.|
|RogerDirect||Allows users to stream audio from Phonak’s portable Roger remote microphone directly to their hearing aids. The very best tool for hearing in background noise.|
|Smartphone app||The myPhonak app provides access to remote support services and real-time customization of your listening experience by your hearing care professional.|
|Stylish slim option||The Lumity Slim, introduced in April 2023, looks more like a high-tech communication device than a hearing aid.|
Exploring Phonak’s Audéo Paradise: Lumity’s Predecessor
Phonak’s Audéo Paradise stands as a formidable predecessor to the Lumity family of hearing aids. Launched in August 2020, it encompasses a plethora of features synonymous with Lumity, albeit with less emphasis on enhancing speech clarity in noisy environments. Furthermore, in 2021 and 2022, Phonak expanded its Paradise series by introducing new models. This range offered form factors and functionalities that the Lumity platform didn’t provide initially. Among the additions were the Virto P custom hearing aids, the Audéo Fit hearing aid equipped with health monitoring features, and the Naída P, a high-power hearing aid catering to individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss.
I cover these currently as it is the latest product offered in its own form factor.
Diving into Audéo Paradise Hearing Aids
Phonak’s Audéo Paradise is great with use of the CROS Paradise, and ActiveVent, an intelligent, automatic occlusion-control system. These devices sport features such as universal Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free calling, lithium-ion rechargeability, and seamless integration with Phonak’s extensive suite of wireless accessories.
Unveiling Virto Paradise Custom Hearing Aids
In 2022, Phonak enriched its product line with the introduction of the Virto Paradise (or Virto P) custom hearing aid models. These are offered in four distinctive product styles, which differ in terms of size and wireless capabilities. One of the notable offerings includes a near-invisible completely-in-canal titanium hearing aid. There are four power levels available to accommodate a broad range of hearing losses from mild to profound. All Virto P products run on standard hearing aid batteries, as Phonak doesn’t currently offer a rechargeable custom product.
My Ratings: 5 out of 5 stars. If you don’t want Bluetooth option and value the invisible nature of this device.
Virto P Titanium: A Custom IIC Offering Paradise
Phonak’s Virto Titanium is the only mainstream custom hearing aid crafted from premium medical-grade titanium in the world. It holds the title of the smallest and most discreet custom hearing aid that the company has ever manufactured. Employing the latest 3D printing technology, the Virto P-Titanium merges the superior strength and lightweight characteristics of titanium to ensure a comfortable fit in the ear canal.
The Virto P-312 features flexible Bluetooth connectivity, all-day battery life, and a multi-function smartphone app that enables on-the-go sound adjustments. It is a promising combination that might justify the additional cost for individuals in need of significant hearing assistance.
Comparison: Virto P-312 vs P Titanium
The Virto P-312 and Titanium models are both underpinned by the Paradise technology platform. The Virto P-312 offers an extended battery life, wireless technology, and the option of an onboard volume control wheel, but lacks the IP68 rating that the Virto P-Titanium provides.
Compared to traditional acrylic, titanium shells are 15 times stronger and 50% thinner. Did I also mention it is hypoallergenic. This thinness allows for deeper placement in the ear canal, rendering a more discreet fit.
While the Virto P-Titanium excels in discretion, it does have a couple of drawbacks. Given its smaller size 10 battery, the hearing aids last only a few days before requiring a recharge. It also lacks the popular wireless streaming and hands-free calling features found in other Paradise products. Hence, I would recommend the Virto P-Titanium for individuals seeking more of a set-it-and-forget-it solution.
Virto P-312: Custom Hearing Aids
For individuals in search of a more comprehensive custom-in-ear wireless solution, the Virto P i is the go-to option. This is the product for in-the-ear, half-shell, and in-the-canal style devices.
Audéo Fit: Paradise with Health Tracking and More
In 2022, Phonak launched the Audéo Fit, a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid. Phonak claims to be the first to equip users with heart rate data for health insights. The Audéo Fit also records steps, activity levels, and distances walked or run, in addition to tracking listening situations over time.
Naída P: Advanced Tech for Profound Loss
In general, the Naída P can be seen as a more powerful version of the Audéo P. Naída P comes in two distinct models (PR and UP), designed for individuals with severe forms of hearing loss. The PR model can deliver up to 130 dB SPL, and the UP model can deliver up to 141 dB SPL (peak output).
Phonak CROS Hearing Aids: Effective Solutions for Single-Sided Deafness
Phonak’s CROS hearing aids have been specifically developed for those experiencing single-sided deafness or has poor speech recognition in one ear. With a traditional hearing aid, it can be challenging to understand conversations or localize sounds in such situations.
This is where Phonak’s CROS hearing aids come into play. The term CROS stands for Contralateral Routing of Signals. The CROS system consists of two parts: the CROS device, which is worn on the impaired ear, and a hearing aid worn on the better ear.
The CROS device picks up sounds from the side with hearing loss and wirelessly transmits them to the hearing aid on the other side. This enables the user to hear sounds from both sides, dramatically improving speech understanding and sound localization.
Phonak offers CROS solutions compatible with its range of hearing aids. The most recent offering in this line is the Phonak CROS P, which works in harmony with the Paradise platform. This system is designed with the same sleek and modern look of the Phonak Paradise hearing aids and provides a high-quality sound experience.
The CROS P is available in two options: the rechargeable CROS P-R and the CROS P-13, which uses disposable size 13 batteries. The rechargeable option offers convenience and ease of use, while the battery-operated model may be preferred by those who want a device without the need for daily charging.
Notably, the Phonak CROS P can be paired with the myPhonak app, offering users more control and personalization options. With the app, users can adjust their hearing aids’ settings, check battery status, and even request remote support from their hearing care professional.
In essence, Phonak’s CROS hearing aids present an effective solution to overcome the challenges associated with have one ear worse than the other. By enabling sound transmission from the impaired ear to the functional ear, they aim to deliver a more balanced and natural hearing experience.
Phonak Lyric: The Truly Invisible Hearing Aid
Phonak’s Lyric hearing aid is a unique product that distinguishes itself in the in-the-ear hearing aid market. Advertised as the first and only 100% invisible hearing aid, it’s placed deep in the ear canal and can be worn 24/7 for months at a time. Lyric is in its 4th generation of technology.
Lyric is a subscription-based hearing aid. You pay an annual fee (expensive compared to other hearing aids) that covers all costs associated with Lyric, including replacement devices as necessary (usually replaced every month or two). The Lyric doesn’t require any battery changes, as each device comes with a built-in battery designed to last for the duration of its use.
Here’s how Lyric differs from traditional in-the-ear hearing aids:
|Features||Phonak Lyric||Traditional In-The-Ear Aids|
|Visibility||Completely invisible as it’s placed deep in the ear canal.||Mostly discreet, but some models may be visible in the ear.|
|Wear Time||Can be worn 24/7 for months at a time.||Needs to be removed daily for cleaning and battery changes.|
|Battery Life||The built-in battery lasts for the duration of its use, which can be several months.||Regular battery changes required, typically weekly.|
|Subscription||Annual fee that covers all costs including device replacements.||One-time cost, plus additional costs for batteries and repairs.|
|Water Resistance||Can be worn while showering or exercising.||Generally not recommended to wear during activities where the hearing aid might get wet.|
Lyric: Unique Advantages and Considerations
One of the most significant advantages of Lyric is its continuous wear capability. You can keep the device in your ear while you sleep, shower, or exercise. Unlike other hearing aids, there’s no daily maintenance involved. Furthermore, since the device sits deep in the ear canal, it takes advantage of the ear’s natural acoustics for a more natural sound.
However, Lyric might not be suitable for everyone. Its deep placement can cause discomfort for some users, especially during the initial adjustment period. Also, due to its size and deep placement, it might not be suitable for people with narrow or unusually shaped ear canals. Lastly, as it is an analog device, it lacks some of the advanced features offered by digital hearing aids such as Bluetooth connectivity and customizable sound settings.
In conclusion, the Phonak Lyric presents a unique option for those seeking a truly invisible, hassle-free hearing aid experience. It’s important to consult with a hearing professional to determine if Lyric, or any other hearing aid, is the right fit for your specific needs and lifestyle.
Tinnitus Management with Phonak Hearing Aids: The Tinnitus Balance Noise Generator
Tinnitus, often described as a persistent ringing or buzzing in the ears, can be a troubling condition for many individuals. While there’s currently no cure for tinnitus, there are ways to manage its impact and Phonak has integrated one such solution into their hearing aids with the Tinnitus Balance Noise Generator feature.
The Tinnitus Balance Noise Generator is specifically designed to provide relief to those affected by tinnitus. The concept is based on sound therapy, which uses external noise to divert attention away from the internal sounds of tinnitus.
This feature is embedded into most Phonak hearing aids and generates a soft, soothing sound, referred to as white noise. The produced white noise can be personalized and adjusted to match the user’s specific needs, offering a customizable solution to their unique tinnitus symptoms.
By masking the disturbing tinnitus noise, the Balance Noise Generator aids in habituation, the process of becoming accustomed to the tinnitus sound, ultimately helping to reduce the annoyance and stress associated with the condition. The goal is to make tinnitus less noticeable, allowing individuals to focus more on their activities and less on the condition.
Moreover, Phonak’s Tinnitus Balance app works in conjunction with the Noise Generator. It enables users to create a personalized sound plan and includes a library of soothing sounds. These sounds, combined with the ones from the hearing aids, can offer additional relief in managing tinnitus symptoms.
Phonak’s integrated approach to tinnitus management reflects its commitment to delivering comprehensive hearing solutions that extend beyond amplification. It’s a testament to how hearing aids have evolved to address a wider range of hearing-related concerns, offering relief and improved quality of life to users.
Expanding Accessibility with Phonak Accessories
Phonak understands that hearing aid wearers require more than just their devices to experience optimal hearing in different situations. Therefore, they have developed a range of accessories designed to improve the versatility and convenience of their hearing aids. These accessories, which include Roger™, PartnerMic, TV Connector, Remote Control, and the myPhonak app, each cater to different user needs and expand the possibilities for sound accessibility.
Phonak’s Roger™ devices are the gold standard for overcoming listening challenges in noise and over distance. These advanced wireless microphones use proprietary MultiBeam Technology to focus on the speaker, ensuring clearer audio even in challenging environments. Roger devices work by transmitting the speaker’s voice directly to the user’s hearing aids, thus enhancing speech understanding.
The Phonak PartnerMic is an easy-to-use, lapel-worn microphone that’s ideal for one-on-one conversations in noise. It employs AirStream™ technology to stream speech to Phonak hearing aids without an additional body-worn streaming device. It’s perfect for situations like car rides or quiet dinners where it’s essential to focus on one person’s speech.
Phonak’s TV Connector is a simple plug-and-play solution that wirelessly streams audio content directly from the television to Phonak hearing aids. It turns hearing aids into wireless headphones, ensuring an immersive and personally tailored listening experience. It also supports multiple users, enabling friends or family members with Phonak hearing aids to connect to the same source.
Simple Remote Control
For those preferring a tactile interface, the Phonak Remote Control offers easy and discreet control over the hearing aids. With this remote, users can adjust volume and change programs without needing to touch the hearing aids directly. It’s a great option for those wanting more straightforward control without relying on a smartphone app.
The myPhonak app puts the control of Phonak hearing aids into the user’s hands. This app enables fine-tuning of the hearing aids for personal preferences, adjusting volume, selecting programs, and even streaming audio content. Furthermore, the myPhonak app includes a remote support feature that allows the user’s hearing care professional to adjust their hearing aids remotely, saving them the need for in-person visits.
Together, these accessories enhance the Phonak hearing aid experience, allowing users to interact with the world in a richer and more personal way. They serve as examples of Phonak’s dedication to creating comprehensive solutions for diverse hearing needs.