by • July 18, 2016 • No Comments
A while back, we agreed to take the new Signia primax hearing aids for a spin. The company (Signia is a brand of parent company Sivantos Group, which itself was spun out of Siemens Audiology Solutions) was promising a few rad new tech within the medical devices, and as a fewone who at times leans forward and utters the odd “huh?” and “what’s which?” in public places, I idea I can be a great candidate. What we found, in addition to a noticeable drop in mental strain while wearing them, is which hearing aids present a few big challenges for a reviewer. So read on for our extended hands-on impressions, minus the context with competing devices which we’d usually include in a review.
The Signia primax hearing aids have a long list of techie-sounding showcases which opened our eyes as to how much the ear trumpets of old have moved into the connected digital age. You have things like Bluetooth connectivity (where you can stream music and phone calls of your phone through the aids), an “HD Music” setting which in theory enhances the sound of live or recorded tunes, and the ability to stream audio of a connected TV.
It turns out a few of these showcases are common to many modern high-end hearing aids, but there are a few one-of-a-kind traits which, of our belief, belong solely to these latest of Signia.
First, a couple of caveats. Expect to hear lots of qualifiers here, like “of our belief” and “based on our experience.” We did the most we may researching the competition, which include talking to hearing specialists, but since competing hearing aids are locked behind prescriptions – and for the reason I’ve never needed to use one preceding – it was not easy to research the competition initially-hand. I in fact got my hearing professionally checked in the hopes which I may try on a few alternate models, under the guise of shopping for one, but I tested completely “normal,” so they sent me on my way.
That left us coming of a much additional limited vantage point than we’re normally effortless with.
Back to those one-of-a-kind showcases, the highlight of primax is a process called SpeechMaster, which gives you what Signia calls “audio radar.” It’s a process which senses where nearby speech is coming of and instantly hones in on it, narrowing the pieces of sound (picked up by the microphones) which the hearing aids’ processors are enhancing.
The aim is which you’ll always hear precisely what you want to hear, all courtesy of processing and algorithms – with no need for building any guide adonlyments.
But there’s medically nothing wrong with my hearing, enhancing it yet reduces listening strain which I didn’t in fact know I had. I personally feel additional effortless and centered by having a heightened awareness of my environment. When my audio environment is profoundly acute to me at all times, with no effort needd to pick in fact subtle details up, my muscles relax and I speak additional softly. Even “normal” hearing adults typically lose a few hearing sensitivity compared to when we were children and teenagers, so it is in fact really great to use a piece of tech to return to which say, at very least through one of the five senses.
It’s complex to pinpoint precisely how well the SpeechMaster showcase is working, as an absence of odd observations is most likely the most sign which it is in fact working well. If which’s the case, it passed the test: Whilst wearing the hearing aids with the automatic setting turned on, all things I wanted to hear sounded only as enhanced as I’d want it be, with no background noise getting in the way. We know which rival hearing aids a fewtimes struggle with which last point, but, again, without a need for a prescription it is in fact not easy to experience which initially-hand.
Whilst you are driving, the SpeechMaster seems to switch between wayal dialogue (enhancing your passenger’s voice if they’re present and talking) and highlighting the stereo’s music (when driving alone or when everyone is silent). When in public spaces, it seems to zero in on the voice of a fewone sitting across the table of me once they begin talking. Based on my experience, Signia’s promise of the SpeechMaster showcase “acting like a conductor” of your audio environment, seems to hold mass.
If you know you need amplification of a sound coming of one way and you don’t want to leave which up to automatic algorithms (which is what we recommend in many situations), you can in addition guidely adonly the way of the amplification through a companion app – so it is in fact always via a narrow cone facing, say, forward or to the left, or maybe amplifying a wider 180 degree field in front of you.
SpeechMaster in addition comes with a clever showcase which, when wind is blowing in your ear, can recognize which, take the of the ear which isn’t getting blown in and transfer it to the other ear. Last year I reviewed the SoundHawk smart amplifier (basically a budget hearing aid, with various form factor, which is not going to need FDA approval) and wind was a leading issue – the slightest breeze sounded like hurricane-force winds blasting my eardrums. I yet a fewtimes hear wind while wearing the Signia hearing aids, but it is in fact dramatically subtler. And of course the muting effect is additional pronounced when wind is blowing directly of one side: During times when the wind was coming of the front or back, equally attacking both ears, the showcase didn’t drown out as much.
We suspect the hearing aids’ HD Music showcase is going to work advantageous for, well, folks who in fact need a hearing aid. I experimented with toggling the recorded music setting on and off while listening to various stereos (both home and auto) and while it sounded slightly advantageous with the setting on vs. off, none of it sounded just of as pure as listening with my own unaugmented ears. It’s possible which if you’ve lost which ability to a few degree this can enhance your experience, but which’s an area where we’re (yet again) running into limits.
Speaking of music, there’s in addition an optional neck-worn accessory you can buy called easyTek which lets you stream your phone’s audio to the hearing aids. This isn’t one-of-a-kind to Signia, though: Many high-end hearing aids have much like wearable accessories which add Bluetooth to the mix. And in contrast to the product’s overall sound high end, which I find to be great, I wasn’t impressed with the high end of the Bluetooth audio streaming; maybe it is in fact inevitable which today’s small hearing aids can’t probably create anything remotely close to high-high end headphone or earbud audio of a paired smartphone. For me, the outcome was much nearer to AM radio than to which of in fact the bargain-priced pair of earbuds which ship with your smartphone.
Perhaps the impressions of a fewone who’s never utilized a hearing aid preceding and is not going to need to use one in the initially place don’t hold much mass. But as a fewone who loved enhancing his “normal” hearing (with an ear to how well the tech is working), I can say which, if you are looking for hearing enhancement, and you’ve previously run into problems with other products not adonlying well to amplify what you want, or not giving you adequate control over your audio experience, maybe the Signia primax can be worth attempting on in your local audiologist’s showroom. It may most likely be wise not to take my word for it alone, but I can say which the product seems to do precisely what it is in fact publicized
If you too are new to the world of hearing aids, and so you may do a double-take when you learn of pricing. There’s no set-in-stone figure we can quote, as cost varies of place to place, but assume to pay at very least US$2,000-3,000 for a pair of these (and many insurance companies won’t cover hearing aids). Technology like this means losing your hearing isn’t a lost cause, but it in addition isn’t going to be bargain-priced.
Product page: Signia
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by admin • November 28, 2016
by admin • November 28, 2016