New Starkey 3 Series Family Packs More Punch Into Its Smallest-Ever Custom Wireless Hearing Aids

Starkey 3 Series Hearing Aids
Starkey’s New 3 Series Family Includes Its Smallest Custom Wireless Hearing Aids

With the introduction of its new Starkey 3 Series hearing aids, Starkey Hearing Technologies has packed more power into its smallest custom wireless hearing aids.

The completely-in-canal (CIC), in-the-canal (ITC) and in-the-ear (ITE) models in the family all feature binaural wireless communication between left and right hearing aids. They also utilize Starkey’s BluWave 3.0 sound processing software and are compatible with Starkey’s SurfLink Mobile device for media streaming and phone conversations.

The 3 Series family also includes four behind-the-ear (BTE) models, with two receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) models, a mini-BTE and a more powerful BTE-13 model.

By integrating its new sound processing technology, binaural wireless features and compatibility with wireless assistive listening peripherals into its smallest-ever custom wireless hearing aids, Starkey has strengthened its competitive position against the handful of other premium-brand hearing aid suppliers integrating leading edge technologies into their new products.  [Read more…]

New Quest Hearing Aid Sound Processing System From Phonak Improves Speech Comprehension In Noisy Environments

Phonak has introduced new Quest sound processing software to take further advantage of the wireless communication capabilities of its high-end hearing aids, with new algorithms that make it easier to hear in noise, on the telephone, in crowded rooms, in situations where the speaker is off to one side or behind the listener, and in wind. Initially available in its new Phonak Bolero Q and Virto Q hearing aid families introduced this week at the EUHA Congress in Frankfurt, the company claims its “Binaural VoiceStream Technology” automatically delivers up to 45 percent improvement in speech intelligibility in certain challenging listening environments.

According to a technical paper on VoiceStream technology published by Phonak, the new algorithms enhance the wireless collaboration between two hearing aids, which make joint decisions on where to aim their directional microphones, on which background noises to suppress, and on how to amplify telephone signals that flow directly into both hearing aids. [Read more…]

On The Starkey Labs Drawing Boards: New Xperia Brand Of “Instant-Fit Custom” Hearing Aids Will Integrate Wireless Feature Set

Starkey Xperia Hearing Aid
Starkey's New Xperia Hearing Aids Resemble Bluetooth Earpieces And Integrate Complete Wireless Capabilities

Sources at the Starkey Laboratories 2012 Hearing Innovations Expo in Las Vegas report that company representatives today provided a glimpse of a new Xperia brand of “Instant-Fit Custom Hearing Aids” that will integrate Starkey’s popular Wi-Series wireless technologies featuring Bluetooth phone connectivity, TV audio and MP3 streaming, and other communication direct into the hearing aids.

The new hearing aids feature an innovative in-the-canal (ITC) design which has a removable earbud that fits in the ear canal, with a housing for the processor unit that sits in the concha of the outer ear.

The unit looks like a custom hearing aid but can be fitted for most ears. And, rather than an old-fashioned half-shell or full-shell design, it bears more of a resemblance to a contemporary Bluetooth earpiece or high-tech earphones.

Starkey Wireless Xperia Hearing AIds
Xperia Hearing Aids Feature An Innovative "Instant-Fit Custom" Design With Removable Earbud

A big selling point apparently will be the same Starkey wireless capabilities now found in company’s very popular open-fit on-the-ear Wi series, including pairing with the Starkey Surflink remote streamer for communication direct to the hearing aids with multiple peripheral devices and binaural wireless communication between the left and right hearing aids.

There was also talk of a broader line of in-the-ear products to come, including a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) SecretEar hearing aid with the same complete wireless feature set.

Starkey has raced to compete with other major manufacturers in delivering wireless functionality following major announcements over the past two years by Widex, ReSound, Oticon, Phonak and others. Starkey sources say the Wi Series wireless feature set has proven highly popular with audiologists, who have asked for the same functionality in more form factors, especially in-the-ear custom-style products.

Panasonic Introduces New Receiver-In-The-Canal Hearing Aids Plus Wireless ‘Hearing Hub’

Panasonic Hearing Hub
New Panasonic R1-W Hearing Aids Come With Remote Volume Control And A Wireless 'Hearing Hub'

The Panasonic Healthcare Group has expanded its hearing-aid product line with the new R1-W Series of receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing instruments that moves the company closer to the top ranks of global hearing-system manufacturers.

Among other things, the new product line features a Hearing Hub offering wireless connectivity with peripherals including Bluetooth phones and a transmitter that sends TV audio signals directly into the hearing aids.

Panasonic, which has been selling hearing aids in Japan for decades, only recently entered the North American market with its 4 Series and JZ Series open-fit and body-worn hearing aids. The new R1-W Series provides more power to address a broader range of users’ hearing problems including moderate-to-severe hearing loss. In addition to the wireless peripherals, other new features such include remote volume control and the ability to record voice memos such as personal reminders and phone numbers that can be played back through the hearing aids.

Although Panasonic is still playing catch-up to the world’s largest hearing-aid brands such as Phonak, Oticon, Widex, Starkey and ReSound, the new more powerful hearing aids plus wireless peripherals are a big step toward more parity with competitors who have made wireless communication a key selling point in their new products over the past year.

“With the new R1-W series, Panasonic has introduced a line of hearing instruments with sound quality design that equals or exceeds anything we have seen in the industry,” said Delain D. Wright, Director of Sales, Panasonic Healthcare Group, who called the R1-W series “the next phase” of Panasonic’s long-term plan to establish a major presence in the global hearing-aid market.

The Hearing Hub allows users to wirelessly connect the hearing instrument to Bluetooth®-compatible* mobile phones, landlines and a Panasonic Audio Transmitter, which plugs into a television’s audio-output port to transmit sound wirelessly into the R1-W Series hearing aids. And the remote control allows users to easily and discreetly adjust the volume level and programs of their hearing instruments.

“As a new player in the US hearing market and with our brand strength, we are finding that professionals are embracing our vision to deliver meaningful solutions to a broad segment of people who want to hear better,” Wright said.

Oticon’s New ConnectLine Microphone Completes End-To-End Connection Between Hearing Aids And Your Conversation Partner

Oticon ConnectLine Hearing Aid Components
The Oticon ConnectLine Microphone (Left) Transmits Audio To A Streamer That Sends The Signals Directly Into Hearing Aids

Oticon’s ConnectLine communication devices have made it easier for users of hearing aids to listen to their Apple iPods and personal MP3 players, their TVs, and their Bluetooth mobile phones for a while now. But with yesterday’s introduction of the Oticon ConnectLine personal microphone, you’ll finally be able to hear your dinner companion as well, even in a noisy restaurant.

The new wireless Oticon ConnectLine Microphone clips to your conversation partner’s lapel and picks up his or her voice while filtering out unwanted background sounds. It transmits the audio directly to the ConnectLine Streamer, which you wear on a loop around your neck, and the streamer transmits the unadulterated audio signals directly into your Oticon Agil hearing aids. It can also be adjusted to transmit at frequencies most compatible with the listener’s hearing-loss profile and hearing aids.

Oticon ConnectLine Microphone
Oticon ConnectLine Microphone Integrates Wireless Transmitter

Ever since the big hearing aid makers began incorporating communication receivers directly into hearing aids, there’s been a not-so-quiet revolution in people’s ability to connect to more of the sounds of the modern world. But strangely enough, it’s taken some time for the major manufacturers to come up with workable assistive-listening solutions for the most common complaint of hearing-aid wearers–comprehension of speech in noisy surroundings. The ConnectLine Microphone is one approach to the speech-in-noise problem that is small and easy enough to actually be useful in the real world. When you add to the Oticon ConnectLine solutions for your TV, phone and personal listening system, you end up with a complete, end-to-end listening and comprehension system. [Read more…]