Half the fun of a New Year is looking towards the next twelve months and the possibilities ahead. Of course, the other half is looking back at the progress of the past year now under our belts to appreciate the strides made. When it comes to the hearing aid industry, the technology seems to advance so quickly that just as we’ve become accustomed to the next generation integration, another progression is introduced. This doesn’t always result in rushing out to buy the latest model, innovation is wonderful, but we have to ask if it really does improve our listening experience or is it just another layer of bells and whistles designed to impress?
Two hearing aid standouts this year come from the brands Signia and Oticon, both of which deliver the bells and whistles along with very real impact on quality of hearing.
Signia is a division of Sivantos Group, a founding father of the hearing aid industry. The roots of Sivantos Group go back as far as 1878 when Werner von Siemens introduced a telephone receiver that made it considerably easier for the hearing impaired to follow conversations. This was essentially the first modern hearing aid in existence. They’ve come quite a long way since then, encompassing the Signia, Rexton and Siemens brands in today’s global hearing aid market.
Innovation continues to drive the Signia brand and in 2017 they introduced a new hearing aid platform call the Nx. The driving factors of this platform include three new models and three technology levels and varying price points, all of which sync efficiently with iPhone. This new launch includes a new Own Voice experience, an impressive live remote fine-tuning feature, and a new open directionality experience.
Own Voice Processing
One of the shiniest features of the new Signia Nx platform, Own Voice Processing (OVP) is the first ever advancement that processes the user’s own voice differently from all other sound detected by the hearing aid. It’s so separate that the device has an entirely separate processor dedicated to this. In essence, this allows Nx to increase acceptance of a user’s own voice and modulate all other sound in symphony.
Great news for new wearers
This is a remarkable advancement and is particularly useful for those who are new to hearing loss intervention. The adjustment period to a new hearing aid wearer is often plagued by reports of just how off putting it is to adapt to the sound quality of one’s own voice. If this technology bridges that gap and allows new wearers to become more comfortable with hearing loss intervention, then this could potentially be a game changer in the marketplace. Moreover, Signia promises that not only will new wearers become more quickly accustomed to the sound of their own voice through the Nx hearing aids, but they’ll actually be happy with how it sounds.
A younger manufacturer than Signia, but not by much. Oticon was founded in 1904 by Hans Demant, whose wife was hearing impaired. They’ve long released cutting-edge hearing aids. 2016 was no exception when the Oticon Opn line first reached collective ears as the first internet-connected hearing aid.
In this next generation of Opn range that was introduced in 2017, the platform increased its speed and agility. More than ever, sounds are analyzed and balanced individually with environmental sounds more accessible but not disturbing. For this reason, the platform is rightly referred to as providing 360-degree sound.
One of the more unique features of the Opn line is their BrainHearing support. Responding to the increasing awareness in the brain’s function within the hearing process, this focus uses a myriad of technologies that support the integral role that the brain plays in hearing. Up to three levels of support are offered, and users are reporting significant success.
Rechargeable batteries now included
The rechargeable battery option was announced in Spring of this year, a trend that spans many models that debuted in 2017. A delightful option offered by Oticon is that they’ve committed to accommodating users who purchased the Oticon Opn miniRITE before the rechargeable feature was in place, offering to retrofit all applicable devices with the now standard rechargeable option.
Visit Us at Fidelity Hearing Centers
New year, new hearing aids? If you’re interested in trying out these remarkable hearing aids or want to upgrade your hearing aids, contact us at Fidelity Hearing Centers. Our team of hearing specialists will work with you to find the perfect solution for your hearing loss.