The exhibit floor at the AudiologyNOW! 2016 Convention in Phoenix, Ariz, was buzzing with the usual excitement and activity that has characterized it in previous years, with many of this year’s booths utilizing sleek, space-age displays that placed a heavy emphasis on advanced technologies and wireless hearing aid designs–all poised to transport the hearing industry into a futuristic galaxy not so far away.
Many of the hearing instruments on exhibit for the first time at this year’s American Academy of Audiology (AAA) 2016 event boasted high-technology features that tech-savvy hearing care providers and their clients are looking for, including wireless connectivity to smart phones and other mobile devices, open fit designs that allow for a more natural hearing experience in challenging environments, and hearing aids or accessories that allow busy people to replace and easily recharge their hearing aids and batteries.
Occupying a prime real estate position near the entrance of the AAA 2016 exhibit hall was the Signia booth, where its wireless primax hearing aids took center stage. Signia is the newest hearing aid brand from Sivantos, and Signia products will eventually replace many Siemens-branded products. The new primax is currently being co-branded as a Signia-Siemens product.
Signia primax uses the binax platform to provide a binaural listening experience, and also features SpeechMaster, a platform designed to enhance speech in most listening situations. The company was demonstrating the features of SpeechMaster at its booth, where the Signia team described it as a collection of algorithms that work in concert to achieve less listening effort. Designed to analyze the acoustic environment and isolate the target speaker from unwanted surrounding noise and other speech, SpeechMaster is akin to a conductor that orchestrates digital noise reduction, directionality, and amplification. The HD Music feature of primax allows wearers to also enjoy listening to music. The company was also showcasing the product’s EchoShield, TwinPhone, and CROS/BiCROS capabilities.
The Sky V hearing instruments feature AutoSense Sky OS, an automatic program that is optimized for children, and is said to be 39% more accurate in identifying voices on a busy playground, compared to the adult system. Another aim of this system is to help children better focus and learn in noisy classrooms.
The Naída hearing aids for adult users with severe to profound hearing loss are designed to improve hearing performance of high-frequency sounds, thanks to SoundRecover2, the company’s frequency compression algorithm. SoundRecover2 is said to provide listeners with more audibility of high-frequency sounds.
In a red and white exhibit located across from The Hearing Review booth, the Rexton team was passing out cupcakes to celebrate its 60 years in business. While enjoying celebratory cupcakes, visitors to the Rexton booth were able to experience listening demonstrations of the company’s QuadCore Technology, a binaural hearing platform that offers better, more dimensional hearing.
QuadCore is featured in Rexton’s Emerald M 4c hearing aid, which it describes as a “premier 13 RIC that provides a comfortable and refined hearing experience.” The Emerald M is rechargeable and has wireless connectivity, making it suitable for wearers who want the convenience of rechargeable batteries, and the ability to stay connected to smart phones, TV, and music players.
The Widex booth was dressed in black, from black carpet to all-black displays, providing a dramatic contrast to the white exhibits populating the exhibit floor at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Widex exhibited an array of wireless hearing solutions at the convention, with its UNIQUE family of hearing aids featured front and center. The wireless UNIQUE hearing aid is designed to help wearers enjoy effortless hearing by addressing the nuances of sound by capturing and processing each patients’ unique, individualized listening needs.
Widex also showcased its COM-DEX hands-free communication device, which streams sound from a user’s smartphone to the UNIQUE hearing aids. COM-DEX can also be combined with the COM-DEX app for convenient control. According to information from Widex, COM-DEX instantly streams calls and music.
Oticon had an impressive “futuristic” exhibit with space-age lighting where its new Oticon Opn hearing aid was the highlight—and was certainly one of the most talked-about product introductions at the show. The Opn features an open fit and a combination of advanced technologies that are said to enable wearers to experience less listening effort and 30% better speech understanding. It is powered by the Velox platform, which is the company’s newest BrainHearing solution that takes an “open sound” approach to managing multiple speech and noise sources, even in challenging listening situations. The new Oticon OpenSound Navigator is designed to scan the environment 100 times per second to analyze and balance every sound individually, helping to make environmental sounds accessible, but not distracting.
Also across from The Hearing Review booth was Audiology Systems, the national distributor of Otometrics products (Madsen, AURICAL, ICS and Genie) as well as Intelligent Hearing Systems, Neuro Kinetics, Oscilla, Path Medical Solution and Pehratek Products.
The Audiology Systems/Otometrics exhibit bustled with activity throughout the event, helped along by the energetic presence of its mascot “Auddie.”
The Audiology Systems staff and Auddie greeted visitors while promoting the company’s training and continuing education programs, as well as its service and calibration on all brands of hearing and vestibular products.
Perhaps because bigger companies like Starkey and ReSound did not occupy space in the AAA 2016 exhibit hall, there was more room for exhibits from smaller, international hearing instrument companies, such as ALPS International from India, and China-based Retone, among others.
It was difficult to visit all the booths on the AudiologyNOW! exhibit floor, so readers seeking more information about the many companies who were exhibiting can refer to the Hearing Review’s 2016 AAA Alphabetical Exhibitor’s List or 2016 AAA Convention Walking Guide.
Overall, there was a nice selection of exhibits with something for everyone attending this year’s event. — Christa Nuber, Associate Editor, The Hearing Review