Phonak Bolero B-PR BTE.

Phonak, Staefa, Switzerland, has launched its Belong platform to the Bolero family of BTE hearing aids, including the anticipated lithium-ion rechargeable Bolero B-PR and the new Virto™ B-Titanium, a discreet custom aid whose construction from titanium makes it the tiniest and most discreet custom instrument the company has ever produced. Today’s announcement comes only 6 months after the global launch of the rechargeable Audéo B-R which broadened Phonak’s portfolio of rechargeable and super-discreet hearing solutions.

With Bolero B-PR, Phonak extends its built-in lithium-ion rechargeable technology to a BTE, delivering 24 hours of hearing with one simple charge (expected results when fully charged, and up to 80 minutes wireless streaming time).

Virto B-Titanium is the smallest custom instrument Phonak has ever produced. Its titanium shell is half as thin as traditional acrylic shells, reducing size significantly and making it super-discreet when worn—perfect for first-time hearing aid wearers, reports the company.

“The release of our lithium-ion rechargeable Audéo B-R was one of the most successful product launches in Phonak history,” says Thomas Lang, senior VP of Phonak Marketing in a press statement. “That’s why we are so excited to announce the extension of this pioneering rechargeable technology to the Bolero B-PR only 6 months later while simultaneously introducing Virto B-Titanium— the tiniest custom instrument Phonak has ever produced. More than ever, these new products reinforce Phonak’s commitment to fast-paced innovation, ease of use, and improved quality of life.”

Bolero B-PR: proven satisfaction with Phonak rechargeable solutions, now in a BTE. Phonak Bolero B-PR continues to build upon the proven benefits of the Audéo B-R rechargeable solution. A study this year by Phonak investigated both hearing aid wearer and hearing care professional satisfaction with Phonak rechargeable technology.

According to Phonak, results showed that more than 9 out of 10 hearing aid wearers were “very satisfied” with battery life of their Phonak rechargeable hearing aids, with ease of use being identified as the number one advantage across both hearing care professionals (HCPs) and hearing aid wearers. Furthermore, the study found that 88% of hearing care professionals would recommend Phonak rechargeable technology to their fellow colleagues.

Phonak Virto B-Titanium IIC.

Phonak Virto B-Titanium IIC.

Virto B-Titanium: super-discreet hearing aid in a titanium shell for better IIC fit rates. Titanium is super strong, durable, highly-versatile and light-weight. It is used in everything from premium medical products and high-performance vehicles to the finest quality sporting goods products. With Virto B-Titanium, Phonak combines the benefits of titanium with the latest 3D printing technology. This results in the smallest custom device it has ever produced, says Phonak.

Because the titanium shell is half as thin as traditional shells, the overall size is reduced significantly, reportedly increasing the invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) fit rate by 64%. This enables the tiny device to potentially fit patients with smaller ear canals who were not good candidates for IIC devices in the past. Virto B-Titanium is also said to be very robust, having achieved an IP68 rating for resistance to both water and dust.

New hearing aids run on new AutoSense OS™. Virto B-Titanium and all Bolero B models—including B-M, B-P, B-SP, and the rechargeable B-PR—run on AutoSense OS, the operating system from Phonak. According to Phonak, the updated version of the AutoSense OS analyzes sounds every 0.4 seconds and draws upon multiple features, blending them to create over 200 distinct settings to precisely match sound environments. All this is done automatically, without any manual adjustments being made to the hearing aids. Recent studies at the Phonak Audiology Research Center indicate that AutoSense OS delivered better speech understanding over patients’ manual selection and hearing performance in everyday listening situations over two leading competitors.

The new Bolero B family including the rechargeable Bolero B-PR, as well as the Virto B-Titanium, will be available in the United States by February 27, 2017, with most countries in Europe following in March.

Other launches in Sonova group. Sonova—the parent group of Phonak, Unitron, Hansaton, Advanced Bionics, and Connect Hearing—has been busy. Unitron announced the launch of its new Tempus platform today, along with the Moxi Fit R rechargeable hearing aid and a new patient insights data screen designed to provide a single snapshot view of the wearer’s listening lifestyle. Last June, Hansaton introduced its jamHD S312 BTE hearing system for hard-to-fit patients.

“Our new portfolio of rechargeable and discreet solutions clearly demonstrates why Sonova continues to lead the way in hearing performance, ease of use, and design,” said Sonova CEO Lukas Braunschweiler in a separate press statement. “Only six months after the highly-successful launch of Audéo™ B-R, Phonak continues to build on this momentum with its first lithium-ion rechargeable BTE and new Virto B-Titanium, the tiniest custom device it has ever produced. Meanwhile, Unitron once again demonstrates its commitment to excellence with Tempus, their most advanced platform yet featuring Moxi Fit R, the world’s smallest rechargeable hearing aid in its class. By continuing to provide unique life-changing solutions to our customers, we demonstrate our unwavering commitment to push the limits of technology while time and again setting new standards for the industry.”

Sources: Phonak and Sonova