Starkey is an American hearing aid company with a world-wide vision to change the face of hearing aids as we know it. The company has been working diligently to offer smaller and better technology to those with hearing loss. For the past several years, Starkey has done a great job in this endeavor, offering better sound quality, improved noise reduction, less feedback and better connectivity to those with hearing loss. The latest hearing aid from Starkey, called Xino, was released in August 2011 and promises “something small that will deliver big benefits.” Xino is a receiver-in-the-canal (RIC) hearing aid and is Starkey’s smallest RIC yet. It is the only RIC hearing aid using a 10A battery that offers a push-button control, which acts as either a volume control or memory selection. It also has a tcoil, which makes telephone conversations easier and connection to personal listening systems more attainable.
What Is a Reciever-In-the-Canal Hearing Aid?
Receiver-in-the-canal hearing aids are worn behind the ear. A small tube carrying speaker wiring runs down the side of the ear to the receiver (speaker) in the ear canal, which then delivers sound to the ear. This design sets it apart from other types of hearing aids because it is discreet and allows for more power, allowing people with severe hearing loss to wear a small hearing aid for the first time without the worry of feedback. Starkey’s Xino offers what people with hearing loss are looking for: options in a small package.
Xino includes Starkey’s new Spectral iQ feature, a smart solution for people who have steeply sloping, high-frequency hearing loss, which is commonly seen with noise exposure damage and exposure to ototoxic (ear damaging) medications. Spectral iQ is Starkey’s frequency lowering technology.
What is Frequency Lowering Technology?
Imagine playing a piano with keys missing for the high-pitched notes. Trying to play a piece of music around those missing keys will distort the music. But, if you played the same piece of music in a lower key, it may sound a little different but you will hear all the nuances of the music that the composer intended. Frequency lowering technology works in the same way. It is designed to improve the clarity of speech by identifying high-frequency speech cues and replicating them in lower frequencies. This makes the sound a little different but research says that many listeners don’t recognize the change and if they do, they become accustomed to the difference relatively quickly.
Xino also includes all of Starkey’s incredible performance features such as Voice iQ2, PureWave Feedback Eliminator and HydraShield®2, Starkey’s proprietary moisture protection technology designed to repel wax, oils and moisture. With its discreet style and many options, the Starkey Xino promises to be highly sought after and Starkey proves again that they are a leader in hearing aid technology advancement.
When you are considering a hearing aid purchase, there are bound to be questions you need to have answered prior to your final decision. One of the more common questions I hear is “How long should a hearing aid last?” When making a large investment, it’s important to consider the longevity of that investment in order to make the best decision for your budget, lifestyle and needs. Many people are surprised that there is a difference in typical life expectancy between styles of hearing aids.
The typical life span of most hearing aids is five to seven years. The life expectancy for a completely-in-the-canal (CIC) hearing aid is slightly shorter compared to the other styles because it resides in a hostile environment every day. The outer ear canal is a warm, moist cavern that has a slow accumulation of wax and oils. Over time, the CIC can have wax accumulation on the receiver, which generates the sound that is heard by the ear. Alternatively, it may develop corrosion on the internal components, decreasing its functionality and/or sound quality. Behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing aids generally have a longer life expectancy because the working parts are inside a sealed case. The part of the hearing aid that delivers the sound to the ear has no working parts, so it can be removed from the hearing aid and washed under warm water with mild soap on an as-needed basis. The newer Canal Receiver Technology (CRT) also called Receiver in the Canal (RIC) technology is sort of its own breed. This instrument has most of the working parts encased in a piece that sits behind the ear, but the receiver is in the canal, as its name implies. The nice thing about the CRT/RIC technology is that the receivers can be replaced for a nominal cost at your hearing healthcare provider’s office if wax or other debris degrades the sound quality, saving you the cost of a repair by the manufacturer. The life expectancy of the CRT/RIC is similar to the BTE.
No matter which style you choose, hearing aids need to be checked periodically to ensure they are working properly. We recommend having your hearing aids checked every six months. If you have neglected these important checks, your instruments may not be in the best working order and you may be experiencing less than optimal performance and sound quality. Regular check-ups will ensure a long lasting hearing aid that improves your everyday listening to the best of its ability. In addition, these semi-annual checks allow your provider to make sure the hearing aids function as expected. If your hearing or listening environments have changed, the hearing aids can be modified to better suit your needs at your semi-annual check-up. If it has been a while since you’ve had your hearing aids checked, call today and get your check-up scheduled. And, if you are new to hearing aids, make your investment last longer by determining to make your check-ups a priority. You’ll be glad you did.