Have you ever noticed that all new hearing aid technology is “revolutionary” or “improved” or “best in class”? Have you also noticed that advertisements all look fairly similar and use the same terms to describe their latest and greatest technology advancement, no matter who is doing the advertising? It gets tiring for Audiologists to hear the same thing about hearing aids every time something new comes out, too. And it becomes increasingly more difficult to explain the differences to our patients. It’s true that hearing aid technology changes rapidly. But are they really that different? Are they worth the investment of your time and hard-earned money? Every once in a while, a new hearing aid arrives that truly does deserve all the accolades. One such instrument is the Phonak Ambra, a digital hearing aid that is truly best-in-class.
Phonak, a Swiss company, actually launched the Ambra in October of 2010. Since then, it has received quite a bit of attention from patients and Audiologists alike. The Ambra has quite a number of innovative features that are intended to improve the wearer’s listening experience, no matter the environment. The goal is to provide ease of use while also improving sound quality and increasing the ability to hear in noise which then improves quality of life.
One of the more amazing features of this instrument is its ability to communicate from one hearing aid to the other. When two hearing aids are worn simultaneously, they communicate wirelessly with each other and “share” information about the listening environment. Each hearing aid also has a dual microphone system which allows it to selectively and automatically focus on sounds from most any direction. This allows the hearing aid to be very precise in its ability to distinguish important sounds, such as speech, from other background sounds that might make listening difficult.
Another feature speaks to one of the more common complaints people with hearing loss have: being able to hear on the phone. When using a telephone, the Ambra automatically picks up the sound wirelessly from the telephone. The sound is then wirelessly transmitted to both ears for an experience that is similar to hearing in high definition stereo. It makes sense that this works well. We all know we hear better with two ears. This feature is akin to listening to someone on speaker phone, without the interference from ambient noises. Patients often report that while using this feature, they have the strange experience of hearing the person on the other line like “they are inside my head.” But more importantly, hearing with both ears helps to improve speech understanding! The duo-phone feature is truly an amazing improvement in technology.
The feature list of the Ambra is impressive and continues with echo elimination, feedback cancellation, wind noise reduction and of course, exceptional noise reduction capabilities, Probably one of the more fascinating of the noise reduction features is called Zoom Control. This feature is often reserved for use in the car or when the person of interest is off to one side. With a push of a button, the wearer can zoom to the left or right, front or back, picking up the sound coming in to one ear and streaming it effortlessly to the other ear. This essentially eliminates background noise interference from the ear that is facing away from the communication partner. Patients have truly been amazed at how much better they can hear in the car!
The Ambra is available in the full range of models from the smallest completely-in-the-canal style to the powerful behind the hear versions. The most popular style of hearing instrument is the miniature behind the ear model, which delivers the sound to the ear by way of a receiver in the ear canal. Because the Ambra is available in so many models, most anyone experiencing hearing loss can benefit from this technology. Call our office today for a free, no-obligation demonstration of the Phonak Ambra and hear what you’ve been missing!