Latest Phonak Audeo B
Owned by the Sonova group the Swiss company Phonak have been established since 1947. They are world leaders in hearing aid and cochlea implant research and development and as of September 2007, the group employed about 4,200 employees worldwide. In Autumn of 2006 Phonak launched the “Hear the world initiative” which creates awareness on the topic of hearing health and hearing loss and promotes good hearing world wide.
Phonak patent many of the latest hearing aid technologies that other hearing aid manufacturers try to mimic. Their latest digital processing chip called the Quest platform is the fastest micro processing chip in the hearing aid industry and is capable of processing 200 million instructions per second. This high speed enables real time wireless broadband audio transmission and simultaneous processing. Due to this technology Phonak hearing aids possess unique patented features including Auto StereoZoom, Zoom Control, Speech in Wind and their excellent Stereo Phone listening program Duo Phone. These Top features and their associated benefits will be described as follows.
Auto StereoZoom What is it?
Auto Stereo Zoom is a feature of the latest Premium Quest hearing aids that is automatically activated within the primary Sound Flow program when competing ambient sound escalates to approximately 65 dB SPL. The feature uses the input from the two microphones of each hearing aid and wirelessly combines them in real time to create a four microphone array. It combines directional microphone technology and binaural processing to create a very narrow, highly focused front directional beam. It is purported to increase speech understanding in loud environments by a 6dB SNR (signal to noise ratio). It is claimed to be the industries only four-microphone directional microphone system that is automatically activated where the width of the beam former is narrowed.
Benefits of Auto Stereo Zoom:
Auto Stereo Zoom enables the hearing aid wearer to more easily separate a single speaking voice in front from the range of speaking voices in a crowd. It improves speech understanding whilst substantially reducing competing background noise. Auto StereoZoom is available in the Q90 levels. StereoZoom is accessible in the Q70 levels, which acts the same only it is manually accessible with the press of a button (either on the hearing aid or using a remote control).
Also unique to Phonak, this feature makes use of a non-linear frequency compression system that gently compresses and shifts high frequencies to ensure the full frequency range of sounds are audible with natural sound quality. This enables the higher frequency sounds in speech particularly the higher pitched sibilant speech sounds such as “s” and “Sh” to be moved from the extended highest frequency band range and compressed to a subtly lower frequency region where the hearing sensitivity is typically stronger. For individuals with sloping high frequency hearing loss adjustment of this system by an experienced audiologist can make the difference between hearing and missing these important high pitched sibilant sounds in speech that provide meaning and context in terms of plural and ownership.
This refers to the ability of the hearing aids to automatically pivot the focus of their adaptive directional microphones toward where the desired speech signal is coming from and away from competing background noise. This occurs binaurally synchronised in real time. The hearing aids constantly analyse 360 degrees where the desired speech signal is coming from discerning human speech sound with its characteristic pattern from the more erratic background noise. In each of its digital processing channels it is drawing distinction between the desired speech sound to amplify and the competing noise signal to suppress giving more emphasis/amplification to the desired speech sound and less to the competing noise thus improving the signal to noise ratio in each of its channels. The greater the number of digital processing channels the greater the ability the hearing aids have to improve the signal to noise ratio across the frequency range (Speech relative to noise) and the more accurately they can shape the amplification to the individuals hearing configuration in each ear across the frequency range.
The Zoom Control feature is particularly beneficial in listening situations where the hearing aid wearer can’t physically turn to face the speaker such as when driving in a motor vehicle.
Speech in Wind:
Speech in wind uses binaural processing to significantly improve speech understanding and listening comfort in situations where wind noise affects one ear more then the other. The hearing aids route the speech signal from the better side (least wind turbulence) to the side to the wind affected side using the Phonak unique “Binaural VoiceStream Technology”. It leaves the frequencies above 1500Hz untouched so as to maintain spatial cues needed for localisation. It does this to assist both speech intelligibility in wind as well as comfort. The Speech in Wind feature can also be set up and activated as a manual program. Such a feature is particularly beneficial to people with an active lifestyle where they may often find themselves conversing outdoors.
Duo Phone improves clarity of telephone conversations because the call is heard in stereo in both ears whether using a conventional, wireless or mobile phone. Duo phone can be set up by the Audiologist to activate automatically upon placing the phone in close proximity to the hearing aid (called EasyPhone) and/or as a manual program with the push of a button called DirectTouch.
Demonstrations and Trials
We stock a full range of Phonak hearing aids and are happy to provide Free in Clinic demonstrations where we fit them to your hearing configuration and you can also take them out of the clinic for the day to try them in the busy outside world. If you decide you’d like a full 60day trial we only charge an industry standard fitting fee of $150 per ear. That is you can trial the hearing aid models of your choice for up to 60 days in everyday life to decide whether the benefits warrant the investment. If you proceed with the purchase the fitting fee comes off the purchase price of the hearing aids. Otherwise we fully refund your deposit all except the fitting fee.
Call or email now for a free no obligation quote on any models of the excellent Phonak range