Tagged: wireless hearing aid

Unitron Joins the Wireless Race

May 23, 2016

With a new digital chip called Era that out-performs all of its previous generations of hearing aids, Unitron joins three other leading manufacturers that offer true wireless technology to those with hearing loss. Wireless technology allows the hearing aid on one ear to communicate with the hearing aid on the other ear, improving sound quality and noise reduction capabilities. Wireless technology also allows the hearing aids to connect to personal listening systems such as MP3 players, stereo systems, cell phones or to a television. The new Era chip is a more advanced system that allows for better manipulation of sound to improve the listening experience as well as allowing for faster processing of sound coming into Unitron’s new families of hearing aids, Quantum and Moxi.

The Quantum and Moxi families of hearing aids incorporate the new Era chip and were developed to offer better understanding of speech, especially in background noise. They also promise a more natural sound quality. Both Moxi and Quantum are offered in three different levels of technology, allowing those with limited budgets to have access to the latest advancements in sound processing, noise reduction, feedback management and wireless connectivity. Quantum is available in the behind-the-ear (BTE) style as well as custom pieces that fit in the ear. Moxi is a canal-receiver technology (CRT) which places the speaker of the hearing aid in the ear canal while the body of the hearing aid, which holds the working parts of the hearing aid and the Era sound processing chip, is housed in a discreet case that sits directly behind the ear.

Quantum and Moxi both have four signature features that set them apart from other hearing aids available:

• SmartFocus is an automatic feature which provides optimal speech intelligibility when necessary and at other times, offers a comfortable listening environment when sounds might otherwise become too loud or distorted.

Pinna Effect provides natural sound quality. Historically, behind-the-ear hearing aids have had a difficult time correcting for the wearer’s poor ability to find where sounds are coming from, called localization. When the microphones of a hearing aid sit outside of the ear, the natural localizing effect that the shape of the outer ear allows, called the pinna effect, is lost. The Pinna Effect setting in Quantum BTEs and Moxi CRTs corrects for the fact that the hearing aid sits outside of the outer ear (the pinna).

Natural Sound Balance is focused on making sure that natural sound coming into the ear canal from the environment blends with the amplified sound coming from the hearing aid. The result is a clear and balanced signal.

Wireless connectivity provides ease of use to the wearer. The broadband wireless technology in the Quantum and Moxi family of hearing aids allows for communication between hearing aids and gives the wearer more freedom with the hands-free use of personal listening devices such as an MP3 player or cell phone. With an accessory called the uTV, wearers can also connect wirelessly to television.

With Quantum and Moxi, Unitron is able to offer the features that those with hearing loss are looking for. The new hearing aid families both promise to be industry-leaders and are a significant step forward in Unitron’s technology offerings.

A new twist on an old solution for single sided deafness

September 28, 2015

Total hearing loss in only one ear is one of the least common types of hearing loss. Surveys estimate that 60,000 people per year acquire this condition1. Most cases of this type of hearing loss are permanent. The causes of single-sided deafness, also known as SSD, range from a congenital defect to trauma or illness. Congenital defects cause hearing loss before or just after birth due to a malformation of the mechanical, working portion of the ear or of the acoustic nerve itself. SSD can also be acquired. Idiopathic hearing loss or hearing loss of sudden onset with no known cause is the most common cause of total loss of hearing in one ear and can be caused by ototoxic medications or by a virus2. Another common cause of SSD is a slow growing tumor on cranial nerve VIII (acoustic nerve) which relays information from the inner ear to the brain.

Total hearing loss in one ear can have a profound impact on those who experience it. Single sided deafness can affect communication in social and work environments and can reduce the ability to determine where sounds are coming from in the environment and will reduce the listener’s ability to understand conversational speech in the presence of background noise4. Rarely is there a medical solution for SSD. In most cases, the best option is to transmit sound from the bad ear to the good ear with a specialized hearing aid called a CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) system.

The manufacturer Phonak has developed a new CROS system that is small, stylish and completely wireless. Previous CROS systems required a transmitter be worn on the bad ear and a wire then transmitted sound from the bad ear to the receiver, worn on the better hearing ear. The digital technology in the wireless Phonak CROS offers fast transmission of the sound and excellent sound quality due to its revolutionary noise reduction and digital sound processing. It is available in either a behind-the-ear or in-the-ear style. The BTE CROS has a variety of retention choices to hold it securely in place, offering flexibility to its wearers. If there happens to be hearing loss in the better hearing ear, the system can be adapted as a BiCROS (Bilateral Routing of Signal) system, which amplifies the sound received in the better ear, augmenting the sound specifically for the hearing loss in that ear.

The Phonak CROS system offers many features designed to improve the listening experience of the CROS wearer. One of those features, called SoundFlow, is an automatic feature that seamlessly adapts to changing environments to ensure optimal listening. If there are certain listening environments that need specific attention, such as listening in church or for TV listening, customizable manual programs can be added to the settings to better accommodate the listening environments of each individual CROS wearer. Another feature is Real Ear Sound. Being able to determine where sounds are coming from (localization) is a necessity in order to feel comfortable in all listening environments. The Phonak CROS is equipped with technology to improve the localization capability of the wearer as well as an improvement in speech understanding in noisy environments. Finally, the QuickSync feature offers a one-touch user control, allowing the wearer to change the volume or rotate between programs with a touch of a button on either the CROS transmitter on the bad ear or the receiver on the better hearing ear. There are also remote control options for manipulating volume and programs, if the wearer so chooses.

Single sided deafness poses a different set of issues to be resolved than the typical bilateral hearing loss. With Phonak’s CROS system, those who have acquired or congenital complete loss of hearing in one ear can now expect better hearing in varying listening environments, all packaged in a discreet, stylish and wireless instrument. If you have SSD, talk with your hearing healthcare provider to determine if the Phonak CROS system is right for you.

1 www.Audiologyonline.com, Single Sided Deafness: Issues and Alternatives, 5/31/2004, by Teri Sinopoli, M.A., CCC-A, AAA, and BBC News, 13 June, 2003.
2 Fayad et al. 2003. Etiologies and Treatment Options for Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Hearing Review.
3 Fritsch et al. 2003. Sudden Hearing Loss: A Team Approach to Assessment, Treatment, and Rehabilitation. Hearing Review.
4 Baguley et al. 2006. The evidence base for the application of contralateral bone anchored hearing aids in acquired unilateral sensorineural hearing loss in adults. Clin. Otolaryngol. 31, 6–14