In February of 2017, Phonak announced production of the Virto B-Titanium hearing aid. According to Phonak’s latest announcement, Virto B-Titanium remains “the world’s only” mainstream custom hearing aid made of premium medical-grade titanium. Virto B-Titanium is said to combine the many benefits of titanium—including superior strength and an extra light weight—together with the latest 3D printing technology.

Compared to traditional acrylic, titanium shells are said to be 15 times stronger and 50% thinner, according to Phonak’s announcement. A thinner shell is designed to allow for deeper placement in the ear canal, helping to give users a more discreet fit.

Virto B-Titanium contains AutoSense OS, which is designed to give users a “fully automatic” and  “effortless” listening experience, according to the company. AutoSense OS is designed to accurately capture and analyze the sound environment, blending feature elements from multiple programs in real time. When compared to manual programs, use of AutoSense OS is said to improve speech understanding by 20% in everyday listening situations. 1,2

Virto B-Titanium achieved an IP68 rating for resistance to both water and dust and was recently honored as a 2018 Red Dot Award Winner for excellence in product design.

The Challenge

The engineers at Phonak were challenged with making the tiny Virto B-Titanium even tinier and more discreet. They decided to focus on how to increase “ear candidacy” for the product, which ultimately led them to re-examine the ear impression taking process. Traditional ear impressions typically only involve injecting impression material into the ear canal. Unfortunately, ear impressions are static and an impression alone does not take into account the natural flexibility of the ear canal.

Enter the Titanium FitGuide, a new tool for hearing care professionals (HCPs) that has been proven to give more than 50% of patients a deeper fitting by an average of 2.5mm, according to Phonak.3 The tool is made of medical-grade titanium and has two modular ends—one for patients who require a moderate receiver and another for those who need a power receiver. The HCP inserts the appropriate module into the patient’s ear to reach a depth that is both deep but comfortable. The HCP notes the depth in millimeters, which is etched onto the stem of the tool.

In addition to the Titanium FitGuide, professionals may also use the 2018 Red Dot Award-winning EasyView Otoblock when taking an impression for the Virto B-Titanium. The EasyView Otoblock is designed to provide visualization for the deepest ear impression possible.

The new and improved Virto B-Titanium will be available August 27 in 17 countries (Austria, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States) with two additional module colors and new venting options.

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Source: Phonak

Image: Phonak

1. Rakita L, Jones, C. Performance and preference of an automatic hearing aid system in real-world listening environments. Hearing Review. 2015;22(12):28.
2. Searchfield GD, Linford T, Kobayashi K, Crowhen D, Latzel M. The performance of an automatic acoustic-based program classifier compared to hearing aid users’ manual selection of listening programs. International Journal of Audiology. 2017;57(3):201-212.
3. Bishop RK, Stewart E, Loyola N. Titanium FitGuide—Helping more than 50% of people get an even more discreet Virto B-Titanium. Published June, 2018. Accessed August 9, 2018.