Despite the beleaguered economy, some 6,200 participants attended AudiologyNOW! 2009. Booths at the annual event were brimming with new offerings—from the big players and smaller companies alike, as noted alphabetically below:
Audina Hearing Instruments Inc, Longwood, Fla, featured its new flx digital hearing instrument, which may be worn as an over-the-ear or behind-the-ear aid. The ergonomically designed instrument features iScroll digital volume control, a smooth, adjustable gliding roller. The new push-button memory switch has a distinct click, and is triple-perspiration-proof, with three layers of protection.
The eight-channel instrument, with 12-band gain adjustment, is powered by a 312 battery, the device features a fully programmable telephone coil, event-data logging, programmable power-on delay, and an environmental recognition system. It is available with an ear hook.
Beltone, Glenview, Ill, has recently introduced Beltone Touch, a family of instruments that accommodate hearing losses from mild to severe. The discreet instruments are worn deep in the ear, close to the tympanic membrane, and feature a small (custom) power instrument, an open-in-ear device, and an instant-fit option. The transparent tube connecting the shell and microphone serves as a lock, holding the device securely in place. The microphone is in the recessed back end of the concha, hidden under the helix and separated from the receiver, resulting in less feedback.
Bernafon, Bern, Switzerland (with US headquarters in Somerset, NJ), introduces Verite, a premium receiver-in-the-ear hearing instrument, which features standard and power receivers—for mild to severe hearing losses, binaural communication, Bluetooth connectivity, and a slim-line remote control. Bernafon’s proprietary ChannelFree digital signal processing handles the incoming speech signal in its entirety, preserving its natural structure. The sophisticated system does not divide the sound signal into fixed frequency channels; it continuously adjusts the gain to amplify each speech phoneme. Benefits include maximum speech understanding that is true to even the shortest phonemes, in any listening situation, so users receive crystal-clear, natural sound quality.
Telephone Skills Improvement Program
CareCredit, Costa Mesa, Calif, previewed a copy of its new Telephone Skills Improvement Program at AudiologyNOW! The program, designed to give hearing care professionals the tools, techniques, and scripts to turn phone inquiries into hearing aid sales, is available free to CareCredit enrolled practices. It consists of three audio CDs, each containing three educational sessions. Each session is about 10 to 15 minutes long, and can be incorporated into a team lunch-and-learn, as a weekly training meeting, or as part of an ongoing staff development program.
Ear Technology Corp, Johnson City, Tenn, offers Clik, an open fit mini-BTE with the performance one would expect of a premium digital aid. The device comes preloaded with a variety of acoustic algorithms, so “programming” takes place without a computer, cables, or the need to learn any new fitting software. You can choose between complete programming, or enable certain selections by patients in their real-life listening environments.
AVANT REM+ Live Speech Mapping System, and AVANT A2D+ two channel diagnostic audiometer
The MedRx booth was very busy during the exhibit hours at the convention. MedRx, Largo, Fla, offers a multiple line of quality products designed for hearing care professionals. The two most popular MedRx products at the convention—as evidenced by the attendees’ interest—were the new advanced ergonomically designed AVANT REM+ Live Speech Mapping System and the AVANT A2D+ two-channel diagnostic audiometer.
ConnectLine, and Hit
Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, introduces ConnectLine, a new system of connectivity solutions to enable a simple, high-fidelity connection to any television or landline phone. ConnectLine connects wirelessly and seamlessly, enabling effortless transitions between functions with the push of a button on the hearing instruments’ companion device, Streamer. It has a range of up to 30 feet and runs on its own power supply.
The new Hit is a hearing solution offering superior sound quality and a range of features and styles for budget-conscious consumers. Hit and Hit Pro offer a wide range of model choices to fit mild to severe-to-profound hearing losses up to 105 dB HL. Open fittings are available as RITE style or as Corda 2 thin tube adaptors. Available in 10 vibrant colors for BTE and RITE.
Exélia Art , Audéo Yes, Nios micro BTE
New products from Swiss-based Phonak (US headquarters, Warrenville, Ill), at the recent AudiologyNOW! 2009 event, include the high-performance Exélia Art models, the award-winning Audéo Yes design, the premium, high-power hearing solution Naída IX, and Nios, a new pediatric solution. Key is the introduction of SoundRecover technology, for users with all degrees of hearing loss across all three new products.
With the introduction of Exélia Art, SoundRecover technology is available for the first time in a fitting range covering mild to severe hearing losses in all models, including the smallest CIC, micro with slim tubes, and standard BTEs. This allows high-end consumers to rediscover subtle high-pitched sounds so important to the quality of hearing. Understanding on the phone is improved with the new DuoPhone feature, allowing the phone signal to be heard simultaneously in both ears, while also reducing background noise and improving clarity. Offering a choice of 15 styles, including tiny CICs, the new micro Petite, and powerful BTEs, the Exélia Art has a wide fitting application.
The Audéo Yes IX comes in a robust housing available in 17 color combinations, also featuring SoundRecover. Canal receiver technology (CRT) offers multiple receiver size and power, and coupling options allow fitters to provide instant or custom fitting for a wide range of hearing loss. It is available with standard CRT receiver for mild to moderately severe loss, and with a power CRT receiver for moderate to severe loss.
Nios micro BTE completes the company’s Junior portfolio, providing a hearing instrument with Soundrecover across all hearing-loss ranges. Nios micro is based on Phonak’s CORE technology and offers industry benchmarks for feedback elimination, frequency compression, and FM compatability.
Motion, Life, Tek Wireless Enhancement System
Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc, Piscataway, NJ, is offering new product models in the Motion line, and their expanded compatibility with the optional accessory product, Tek wireless enhancement system, gives audiologists tools to customize solutions.
Designed for comfort-minded wearers, the Motion line has expanded to include 300 and 100 models, complementing the popular 700 and 500 models.
Life hearing instruments offer three performance levels in an open-fitting configuration and durable BTE style, with ultra-thin LifeTubes, and replaceable tips. They offer the company’s latest natural-sound technologies, and include a palette of 16 interchangeable colors and designs.
Featured technologies include algorithms such as SoundLearning and DataLearning, which remember sound quality and volume settings, and eWindScreen, which continually analyzes incoming signals to detect and reduce wind noise, then automatically adjusts signal processing to reduce it.
Sonic Innovations Inc:
Sonic Innovations Inc, Salt Lake City, introduced Sonic Touch, its first receiver-in-canal (RIC) device, and company officials say the device is the smallest receiver-in-canal product available in the market. Sonic Touch is offered at three technology levels and is available in a choice of five base colors and 15 accent color clips. The three products are readily identified by the number of processing channels. Sonic Touch 6 has six channels and two programs; Sonic Touch 12 has 12 channels and three programs; and Sonic Touch 24 has 24 channels, four programs, and voice alerts. Touch provides natural sound quality, driven by Sonic Sound technology and its proprietary digital noise reduction and DIRECTIONALfocus systems.
Starkey Laboratories Inc:
S Series with Drive Architecture
Starkey Laboratories Inc, Eden Prairie, Minn, introduces S Series with Drive Architecture, its new family of hearing aids, developed with the company’s evidence-based design approach. S Series is available in custom and a first-ever full line of receiver-in-canal (RIC) options.
Drive Architecture, the company’s newest, state-of-the-art integrated circuit platform, delivers maximum performance, power, and patient satisfaction, the company says. Powered by multi-core technology, Drive relies on independent and fully programmable open architecture processors to carry out tasks in parallel by using simultaneous multi-threading technology. The technology triples the processing power of previous platforms, allowing for efficient, high-speed multitasking of signal processing algorithms for better performance, while significantly improving battery life over Starkey’s previous technology platform.
Offers Williams Sound WIR 240, TV Talker, and Williams Sound WIR 250, TV Talker with neckloop
Warner Tech-care, St Paul, Minn, now supplies the new Williams Sound WIR 240, TV Talker, and Williams Sound WIR 250, TV Talker with neckloop. Both systems are suitable for TV listening, meetings, or any small-group listening application. The systems connect directly to a TV, VCR, or DVD equipped with standard output jacks. The WIR 240 system features high-quality, low-distortion sound and angled ear couplings for maximum comfort and performance. The receiver automatically configures itself for stereo or mono operation, depending on the setup chosen. The WIR 250 system features the versatile receiver, which magnetically transfers the audio from the transmitter into a hearing aid equipped with a T-coil.
mind440, mind330, Real
Denmark-based Widex (US headquarters in Long Island City, NY), featured the mind440 and mind330 series of CIC to power directional and Open Fit BTEs and the Real line of lower-cost ISP hearing instruments. A highly original feature of Mind is the relaxation program called Zen. This Widex-only patented program uses fractal technology to generate soothing harmonic tones and chimes which can aid patients in relaxation. Real series lower-cost models include CIC, ITC, ITE, micro-sized BTE, and open-ear BTE hearing aids.
Otowave handheld portable tympanometers
The intuitive Otowave handheld portable tympanometers from Amplivox Ltd, Eden Prairie, Minn, feature fast middle ear measurements, an ergonomic design, a large graphical display, and programmable reflex text, which can be configured for one frequency for the model 102-1, and four frequencies for the model 102-4. Results can be saved within the internal memory with a patient identifier, printed via an infrared connection to the optional portable printer, and transferred to a PC with an IrDA port, NOAH3 database with the optional Amplivox impedance module.
Ear Gear Eyeglasses
Ear Gear, Lake Country, British Columbia, Canada, introduces Ear Gear Eyeglasses, the latest addition to its product line of hearing instrument security and protection devices. They offer a convenient security solution for clients who wear both a hearing instrument and glasses. The flexible rubber “o” rings attached to the Ear Gear sleeve simply slip over the arms of any pair of glasses, creating fashionable security for the wearer. The product is available in all six of the company’s models, in beige only.
The Acu-Life Ear Irrigator from Health Enterprises, North Attleboro, Mass, is a safe, user-friendly, and effective way to cleanse ears, and it helps to prevent ear wax buildup. The product features a flared tip design to help ensure it will not be over-inserted into the ear canal, with a tri-stream tip to direct fluid against ear canal walls. The pressure-control bottle allows users to control the amount and pressure of rinse. Orders are now being accepted, with first shipments starting June 19.
Wireless Loopset LPS-5
Espoo, Finland-based Nokia (with US headquarters in New York) offers the Nokia Wireless Loopset LPS-5, an accessory offering improved mobile communications for people with hearing aids. With a t-coil-equipped hearing aid or cochlear implant, this device can help hearing aid users enjoy premium audio quality and hands-free operation of their mobile devices and other compatible audio devices. Key features include a vibrating alert, user-adjustable sidetone level for enhanced clarity and control of their own voice, and optimized volume range and frequency response. It comes with a comfortable neckloop and a single button for call handling. The device is expected to begin shipping worldwide second quarter 2009.
OTOPod and Amplitude T-Series
Otovation, King of Prussia, Pa, offers the patented OTOPod and Amplitude T-Series computer-controlled, wireless audiometers powered by new Symphony software. These instruments bring efficient testing into the examination room, into the patient’s home, or into the occupational test setting. OTOPod, a diagnostic audiometer, tests AC/BC and prerecorded speech. New features include “always on” wireless connection, customizable prerecorded word lists and audiogram symbols, and the addition of semiautomated testing. Later in 2009 the company plans to introduce ROTO 3D, a handheld digital hearing screener; and in 2010, OTOSphere, a two-channel clinical audiometer product.
AudiologyNOW! attendees experienced firsthand the benefits of a remote microphone-based hearing device, available exclusively from ReSound. be by ReSound, Bloomington, Minn, is the world’s first remote microphone hearing instrument, the company says. Now available in both instant-fit and custom models, the remote microphone provides many benefits to patients and hearing care professionals, including natural wind noise reduction. The unique microphone placement in the helix allows the ear to act as a natural shield, protecting the microphone from irritating wind noise.
Rexton, Plymouth, Minn, featured two new RIC instruments, Gem and Cobalt. Both instruments are small and discreet, and offer state-of-the-art features such as automatic situation detection, automatic equalizer, automatic acclimatization, and automatic noise reduction. The optional remote control allows wearers to operate volume and program changes and powers the instrument on and off.
Cobalt instruments feature Bluetooth wireless connectivity, enabling easy connections to mobile phones, stereos, TVs, or audio devices through the Blu RCU, an optional, state-of-the-art remote control unit. An optional charging unit is available for customers who do not want to use standard batteries.
Gem, a miniature RIC instrument, encases technology that offers increased wearability. Premium features include Sound Locator, Automatic Noise Management, SoundSmoothing, WindNoise Reduction, and Wireless Technology.
800 Series Hearing Instruments
SeboTek, Tulsa, Okla, has introduced its 800 Series Hearing Instruments. Two ready-to-wear fitting options are available with the 800 series, its new mini receiver for open fittings or a soft deep canal seal capable of fitting mild to severe loss with no occlusion affects. The series features stylish color options, moisture-resistant design, a mini-receiver option for open fittings, power receiver option for losses up to 90dB flat, advanced feedback cancellation, voice priority noise reduction, and auto-focus directional microphones.
Styles for the Ears
Tube Riders, Nashville, Tenn, let kids decorate, individualize, and destigmatize their BTEs or CIs, and help children accept the aids faster by making them cool. Bright and colorful, they slip onto the tube portion of a BTE or onto the ear hook of cochlear implants. A mom said Tube Riders changed her child from different into special and made kids love their BTEs.