Phonak, one of the world’s leading hearing aid providers, have announced details of the upcoming release of their new Audéo Marvel hearing aid, and it is setting a new precedent for hearing aid capabilities.
Traditionally, hearing aid manufacturers focussed on improving the audibility of speech. Now, there has been a shift for hearing aids to do a lot more and this includes better connectivity to mainstream technology, incorporated mainstream tech features and much more independent control by users.
The Marvel hearing aid uses Phonak’s latest operating system, which has incorporated Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology into the way the hearing aid processes sounds. AI is used to collect as much information as it can about the environment the hearing aid is in, and to learn and adapt itself accordingly.
The information about the environment is gathered from four microphones on a pair of hearing aids. The clever processing of the hearing aids then sends the best quality of speech sound from all directions into both hearing aids. Phonak refer to this process as their ‘Binaural VoiceStream’ feature, and it can help you significantly when you are in a noisy situation by finding the direction that the clearest speech sound is coming from and then amplifying that into both ears. This also reduces what is referred to as ‘listening effort’, which is the amount of effort you have to put in to be able to hear.
Up until now, streaming audio straight from a smart phone or tablet into both hearing aids has only been available for Apple products. This is very restrictive given that the majority of people don’t use Apple devices. The Audéo Marvel hearing aid now allows you to stream audio from any Bluetooth device into both hearing aids, making it the most universally wireless connection capable hearing aid to date, allowing you to use it with virtually any device. This will allow users to stream phone conversations, music, video and digital radio into both ears, just like listening to your devices with headphones, making it easier to hear.
Changing small fiddly batteries has been an ongoing problem with hearing aids since they were first made smaller decades ago, and the impact of using disposable batteries on the environment has also been of concern more recently. While rechargeable hearing aids have been available for several years, the issues of battery life have been a concern with a significant number of devices. This is particularly so for higher powered hearing aids and hearing aids with Bluetooth streaming, which are typically not capable of lasting more than six hours per charge. This has now been significantly improved with high-powered and Bluetooth-capable hearing aids, such as the Audéo Marvel, providing users with an easy-to-use and functional rechargeable hearing aid with a battery life that lasts all day even with the use of Bluetooth.
Basic hearing aid function control in the form of an app has been available for some time. However, app capabilities with hearing aids are now progressing rapidly. In line with other apps, the new myPhonak app will allow users of the Audéo Marvel to connect with their hearing care professional to make changes to their hearing aid settings remotely. This allows the user to send real time information about their difficulties and to be able to try different adjustments in real time.
Phonak are also introducing a new app called myCall-to-Text app which will provide live transcriptions of phone calls. This will allow the user to read subtitles of what the person on the phone is saying to help make phone conversations easier, particularly in noisy situations. Transcriptions on the app can also be done in 80 different languages and the font can be presented in three different sizes for ease of reading. You can also save the transcriptions to review later.
For more information about the Audéo Marvel hearing aid you can visit Phonak’s website.
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