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Hearing Exchange

Phonak details

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As the flagship brand of Swiss company Sonova, the largest hearing aid company in the world, Phonak are at the forefront of technology.

Sonova operate in over 90 countries worldwide and employ over 9500 staff.  With sales of close to 2 billion Swiss Francs last year, they have the financial capacity to invest in huge R&D to develop the very best hearing aid technology in the business.

Sonova have 2 prinicpal hearing aid brands, Phonak and Unitron (see here for further information), and they also own Advanced Bionics, a cochlear implant manufacturer.  Phonak and Unitron share similar hardware but have different philiosphies, software and algorithms to differentiate their products.  Due to the shared hardware, R&D budgets are even greater as they can be amortised across the 2 brands.  Their annual research budget is in the region of $300 million.

The latest hearing aids from Phonak were released in Australia in February 2015 and called the Venture series.  Utilising a completely new microchip capable of over 500 million calculations per second, this is the fastest chips on the market, yet is incredibly 30% more efficient in battery consumption.  This allows even the smallest hearing aids to last 5 days on a battery, and for the first time enables full wireless and bluetooth capabilities in the smallest hearing aid size.

Some of the features available within the Phonak portfolio include the following:

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AutoSense OS

Seamlessly fits to your changing listening environment. AutoSense OS accurately captures the precise listening environment you are in to provide you with a comfortable, seamless listening experience throughout your day.  This enables the hearing aid to select from over 100 different programs automatically to ensure the best settings for every environment you find yourself.

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Speech in Loud Noise

Extracts the single voice you want to hear from a noisy crowd. When noise reaches a level that makes understanding one person in a crowd difficult, StereoZoom is automatically activated, allowing you to focus on the voice you want to hear.  StereoZoom works by directing the microphones to focus directly on the person speaking and activating adaptive noise reduction to reduce unwanted noise.

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Speech in 360°

Understand speech from any direction. Automatically selects the direction of speech and sends this speech signal from one ear to the other, improving speech intelligibility without the need to face the speaker.  This feature enables you to hear the speaker in both ears simultaneously, even when not facing them.  Even the natural ear with perfect hearing cannot achieve this feat.

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Speech in Wind

Enjoy conversations even on a windy day. When wearing hearing aids wind noise interferes with speech understanding and listening comfort. The Speech in Wind feature enhances your ability to understand speech well, even when the wind is blowing.  It does this by switching off the microphone in the windy ear, and transferring the speech from the other ear to both sides.

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SoundRecover

SoundRecover enables the wearer to access sounds at a higher frequency than their ear would normally be capable of by transferring and compressing sounds from the highest frequencies and reproducing them at a lower, more audible frequency

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UltraZoom

UltraZoom activates the directional microphones and noise reduction to follow different speakers in a changing and noisy environment.

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FlexControl

FlexControl allows the user to make changes to the hearing aids settings that are appropriate for the situation.  Instead of simply raising or lowering the volume, FlexControl adjust all the parameters including microphones and noise reduction to give the user the outcome they are seeking when adjusting the “volume”

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FlexVolume

FlexVolume enables the user to adjust the volume across different frequencies rather than across the whole spectrum.  Taking into account the hearing loss and environment the hearing aid will adjust various frequencies more than other to ensure a clear and natural sound.

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Real Ear Sound

Real Ear Sound emulates the natural directivity provided by the anatomy of the ear.  

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QuickSync

QuickSync allows changes to one hearing aid to be automatically applied to the other hearing aid, meaning you only have to adjust one aid, not two.

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Auto Acclimatization

Auto Acclimatization enables the hearing aid to gradually increase in volume over a set period of time to allow the user to start at a softer volume to become accustomed to the hearing aid, progressing imperceptibly to a higher volume with greater clarity as time goes on.

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WhistleBlock

WhistleBlock reduces annoying feedback and whistling often associated with older hearing aids.  WhistleBlock is a particularly effective solution.

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WindBlock

WindBlock reduces unwanted wind noise.

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SoundRelax

SoundRelax reduces loud impulse sounds like a smashing glass, even before you are able to hear them.

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NoiseBlock

NoiseBlock selectively reduces background noise across frequencies where there is no speech.

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EchoBlock

EchoBlock reduces echoes and reverberations for a clear, unadulterated sound.

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Tinnitus Balance

Tinnitus Balance noise generator can generate different masking noises to alleviate distressing tinnitus symptoms