With its new Starkey Wi Series, Starkey Laboratories has added its name to the list of major hearing-aid manufacturers offering direct wireless audio reception from televisions, computers, stereos and other devices. Starkey’s new IRIS wireless integrated circuit platform in the hearing aid connects directly to most media devices via a new Surflink Media Streamer that plugs into the back of the TV, stereo or other audio system and automatically syncs with and transmits audio to the Starkey Wi Series hearing aids.
The new hearing aids come with the high-end Voice IQ technology featured in Starkey’s flagship S Series hearing aids, which makes hearing in noise easier by reducing ambient noise in the milliseconds between vowels in speech the wearer is trying to understand. They also include other high-end features such as feedback canceling and multiple listening modes for different listening environments, including automatic settings for music, television and better comprehension using the telephone. More details on the Starkey Wi Series hearing aids are available in the company’s consumer brochure.
Starkey Wi Series hearing aids come in two styles, both with receiver-in-the-canal technology, with the microphone speaker placed in the ear canal close to the ear drum:
The Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) device, for users with mild to moderate hearing loss, offers a comfortable open fit design with the speaker extending into the ear from a near-invisible wire to the processing unit that sits hidden behind the ear.
- The Receiver-in-Canal Absolute Power (RIC AP) device also features a small processor unit hidden behind the ear, with the same wire to the microphone that sits in the ear canal; the difference is there is a custom ear mold housing the microphone that further reduces feedback, enabling fittings for moderate to severe hearing loss that previously would have required larger behind-the-ear hearing aids.
In providing wireless streaming from audio sources directly into its hearing aids, Starkey is joining other leading manufacturers who have introduced similar solutions. Phonak’s iCom and TV Link products connect to its new Spice Generation hearing aids; ReSound’s new Alera hearing aids provides a range of wireless connectivity options; Oticon’s Streamer connects televisions, Bluetooth phones and other devices to its high-end hearing aids; and the Widex Clear 440 family of hearing aids has extensive wireless connectivity options.