Worldwide hearing-aid market leader Phonak is rolling out its new Ambra and Audeo S families of hearing aids based on its “Spice Generation” sound processing and fitting platform. At the heart of the new platform is the new Spice digital signal processing (DSP) chipset, which has twice the processing power, is twice as fast and has three times the memory than the company’s previous DSP platform. The Spice Generation platform also enables smaller form factors, which the company calls “CountourDesign,” and it comes with a new “Target” software system to make it easier for audiologists to program the new hearing aids to more exactly meet their patients’ needs.
The company calls its new Phonak Ambra hearing aid family “the premium flagship of the Phonak Spice Generation.” It features true binaural communication between both hearing aids in a set, enabling users to more easily locate sound and hear better in challenging listening environments, “adaptive intelligence” which personalizes the hearing instrument by enabling it to adapt to the users’ environment, and a smaller, more elegant design. Among other things, binaural communication enables a “DuoPhone” feature which allows the user to have phone conversations streamed to both ears simultaneously for better telephone comprehension. Binaural communications also enables “StereoZoom,” which creates a bi-directional network of four telephones from two hearing instruments to locate sound and focus on a single speaker while suppressing other sounds, and “auto ZoomControl” which automatically determines where the dominant voice is in the room and focuses on it.
In addition to superior next-generation performance, the Ambra hearing aids are 20 to 30 percent smaller than Phonak’s earlier Exelia models. They are available in all form factors, including both behind-the-ear (BTE) and custom in-the-ear formats.
The Audeo S hearing aids, also based on the Spice Generation platform, are the next generation of Phonak’s popular Audeo tiny open-fit, behind-the-ear products with speaker-in-the-ear — or as the company puts it, “canal-receiver technology” (CRT). The Audeo S aids come in three Model versions at three performance and price levels. Audeo S MINI is the standard performance level, Audeo S SMART offer power performance, and Audeo S YES offers super-power performance. Because of improved feedback canceling and noise suppression, the super-power model widens the fitting range of the open-fit products to extend into severe-hearing-loss territory. According to a presentation at the EUHA (International Union of Hearing Aid Acousticians) conference last October by Valentin Chapero, CEO of Phonak’s corporate parent Sonova Group, the market for CRT’s is growing faster than any other kind of hearing aid.