Oticon Opn 1
Released in April 2016, the Oticon Opn 1 is one of the best hearing aids on the market. The device is built on Oticon’s Velox platform and features 64 frequency processing channels, environmental analysis of 100 times per second, and the highest level of BrainHearing support, as well as Bluetooth and internet capabilities. The Opn 1 hearing aids are water resistant to one metre and come in four different models to suit each user’s specific needs, including a rechargeable model.
Bluetooth enables users to stream phone calls and music directly to their hearing aids. Users can turn down the microphone volume to hear less background noise, and hear the person on the phone call or the music better. Users are also able to pair other Bluetooth-enabled home devices to the hearing aids, such as doorbells, appliances and baby monitors. The Opn 1 allows users to pair the hearing aids with a TV adaptor to stream audio from their television, and also enables stereo streaming.
The Opn 1 hearing aids have a universal program, which is able to auto-adjust to different listening environments without the user having to keep switching between programs. Users are able to adjust the volume of two hearing aids separately, and the hearing aids feature wind noise management to make listening easier.
Oticon has created an app for smartphones called Oticon ON, which enables users to control things like volume settings, and switch programs from the app. The app features other useful tools such as the ability to view the battery status of the hearing aids. The Opn 1 hearing aids can also be controlled from a remote control.
Phonak Audeo B-Direct
The Phonak Audeo B-Direct hearing aid was released in August 2017. This device is built on the Belong platform and comes in six different models. The Audeo B-Direct hearing aids are rechargeable and feature Bluetooth connectivity, enabling users to connect directly to any mobile phone.
The battery life of one single charge is approximately 24 hours, meaning users can charge their hearing aids each night and the battery will last until the next night. With Bluetooth connectivity to any mobile phone, users who own a classic mobile phone, instead of a smartphone, are still able to connect their mobile phone to their hearing aids. Users can also connect Audeo B-Direct hearing aids to their television using the TV connector, turning their hearings aids into wireless television headphones.
The Audeo B-Direct hearing aid features a program called AutoSense OS, which senses the user’s surroundings and adjusts automatically. All the user needs to do is turn the hearing aid on and the rest is automatic. The hearing aids also allow users to zoom in one a single voice in a noisy environment, providing 60% better speech understanding than they would have without the hearing aids. Phonak has also improved the soft-speech understanding feature in the Audeo B-Direct hearing aids.
Starkey Halo 2
The Starkey Halo 2 hearing aid, released in March 2016, is a Made For iPhone device that can connect to users’ smartphones using Bluetooth. Starkey built the Halo 2 with a variety of technology, including a new processing power that is 5 times faster, to improve users’ listening experience in any environment. The Halo 2 is available in Starkey’s smallest Made For iPhone style and features Surface NanoShield – a water, wax and moisture repellent system.
The Halo 2 hearing aids have the ability to use the GPS on your smartphone to remember where you are and automatically switch modes. For example, when your smartphone geotags your home, your hearing aids will recognise when you are home and switch to a specific mode. Through Starkey’s TruLink Hearing Control app, users can also adjust the SoundSpace and Noise Manager to fit their preferences in different listening environments.
The Halo 2’s Acuity Directionality and Speech Shift features improve speech audibility in difficult listening situations, and its feedback cancellation system prevents the hearing aid from buzzing or whistling. Advanced Multiflex Tinnitus Technology, which is adjustable through the TruLink app, relieves users who suffer from ringing in their ears.