Phonak release a hearing aid that is Made For All mobile phones
Phonak have announced the launch of their new Made For All (MFA) hearing aid the Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct. The Audéo™ B-Direct directly connects to iPhones however unlike their competitors products it can also connect to Android and Windows phones without the need for a body worn streamer or microphone. Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct features Phonak's new propitiatory SWORD™ (Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital) chip and uses the innovative Belong platform on the AutoSense OS (Operating System).
Bluetooth Connectivity works with all mobile phones
The Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct works with all mobile phones that have Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology or newer and will work for phone calls with any mobile phone supporting at least Bluetooth 2.1. This should cover any Bluetooth mobile phone released in the last 10 years and may even work with phones older than this.
Remote Control App
The updated Phonak Remote is an app that primarily allows you to control the volume and change the program of your Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids. The Phonak Remote app will work on smartphones that feature Android OS 6.0 or iPhone 5s and newer running iOS Version 10.2 or newer.
Truly Hands Free
The Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct is truly hands free. As long as your hearing aids are connected to your mobile phone you can accept calls by a short press of the button on the hearing aid. The most amazing part is that you do not need to hold the phone to your mouth to talk with the microphones on the back of your hearing aid picking up your voice. The iPhone and Android compatible hearing aids released to date have required you to have your mobile phone microphone within range of your mouth or required an intermediary device to allow the caller to hear your voice.
Easier TV listening with new TV Connector
Phonak are also releasing a new TV Connector which, using Phonak's new AirStream technology, connects the Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids to your TV via a headphone jack or optical out connection. Unlike their previous TV Link which required an intermediary streamer to pass the sound to your Phonak hearing aids the new TV Connector will connect directly to your Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids as soon as the TV is turned on. The TV Connector is also capable of connecting to multiple Phonak Audéo B-Direct hearing aids simultaneously, ideal for watching the TV with your partner or friends who may also wear Audéo B-Direct devices.
Don't miss a call whilst listening to the TV
If you are using the TV Connector and have an incoming call the TV audio will cease and an alert will be played in your Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids. Once the call has finished the TV audio will automatically begin streaming into your hearing aids.
Colours, Size and Fitting
The Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct will be available in nine colours and can be fitted with domes, SlimTips or cShells. It is powered by a size 13 zinc-air battery which makes the Audéo™ B-Direct larger than the current Audéo B-10 and Audéo B-312 models.
This looks to be a significant technological advancement by Phonak. Over 80% of smartphones purchased are Android and Phonak are the first major manufacturer to launch a phone that caters to the largest user base.
The fact that the Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids do not require you to hold your mobile phone to your mouth or alternatively use a neck worn microphone is really impressive. As a comparison the recently released Apple AirPods have forward facing Dual beam-forming microphones that point towards your mouth so it will be interesting seeing how the microphones on the back of the Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids cope with picking up your voice when using the phone in noisy situations.
The Phonak Remote app does not currently appear to have as many features as those offered by Starkey and ReSound for use with their smartphone compatible hearing aids. Will Phonak develop the app to allow the user more individual adjustments or allow setting to automatically change based on GPS location tags?
How long will the batteries last? For those that use there Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct hearing aids to talk more on the phone or use the TV Connector for long periods of time the battery will drain more quickly. Will they last a minimum of 5 days?
The new SWORD™ chip will be used in future releases across the Sonova platform so expect to see this Bluetooth connectivity in future releases from Unitron next year.
We look forward to finding out more at the official UK launch on Friday 8th September in London.
Register your interest
The Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct is available to pre-order from today with delivery in the UK from Friday 1st September. Find out more by looking at the official Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct brochure and if you are interested by drop us a message on our contact page and we'll keep you updated.
[Phonak]: Phonak to release a game-changing Bluetooth hearing aid that connects directly to any cell phone* and TV, based on a revolutionary new chip technology [https://www.phonak.com/uk/en/press/bluetooth-hearing-aid.html]: [Aug 17 2017]