Paul Harrison at Your Hearing
Hearing aids are becoming more advanced with each passing year. New technology is allowing manufacturers to integrate bold new features into their hearing instruments.
Most hearing aids nowadays are able to deal with a wide range of hearing losses from mild to profound and still give a natural sound. Some people, however, still find that their hearing needs a little something extra and that’s where these hearing aids come in.
Super power aids are designed to manage a severe to profound hearing loss, giving an extra boost of power without distorting the sound quality. In the past, these aids were often bulky and uncomfortable but recent models can now offer the same power and long battery life in a smaller, more attractive housing.
Here is a list of five of the best power hearing instruments currently on the market.
This is the oldest model on our list but still proves to be popular today. It is not as cosmetic as some of the others but still provides a comfortable fit. It can be programmed for either linear or WRDC (Wide Dynamic Range Compression) sound processing.
Date Launched: 2008
Styles: BTE (Behind the Ear)
Technology Levels: Only available at one level
Maximum Output: 146 dB
Maximum Gain: 86 dB
Wireless Compatible: No
Special Features: The Sparx has 9 sound processing channels to manage the different frequencies and has two programmes that can be set for different environments. These hearing aids also feature DFS (Digital Feedback Suppression) and the Noise Tracker to help cut out unwanted background noise. The Sparx can also be connected to the Telecoil loop system.
This hearing aid has an attractive design and is available in a range of different colours. It also has an extremely robust design making it highly shock resistant. Its unique coating gives it extra protection from substances like sweat, dust or ear wax.
Date Launched: 2010
Styles: BTE (Behind the Ear)
Technology Levels: Three. (SP9, SP7 and SP5)
Maximum Output: 139 dB
Maximum Gain: 78 dB
Wireless Compatible: Yes. With Oticon Connectline accessories
Special Features: Available features depend on the level of technology that you choose. The Chili can have up to 9 sound processing channels and up to four settable programmes. They also feature feedback cancellation and noise management to suppress unwanted sounds. The higher technology level (SP9) also has the SpeechGuard feature to improve clarity and MyVoice to help the hearing aids determine if the wearer is speaking or listening.
This range is the only one on the list to offer a custom ITE option for super power users. If you choose the very small cosmetic option though, you do lose out on some of the features and maximum output/gain.
Date Launched: 2012
Styles: BTE (Behind the Ear) and Custom ITE (In the Ear)
Technology Levels: Two. (700/701 and 300/301)
Maximum Output: BTE 141 dB – ITE 128 dB
Maximum Gain: BTE 80 dB – ITE 70 dB
Wireless Compatible: On some models with Siemens accessory range
Special Features: These hearing aids feature up to 16 sound processing channels, a Feedback Stopper and a Speech and Noise Management system. Siemens e2e wireless also allows the hearing aids to communicate with each other to give you better hearing. They also feature SoundSmoothing to manage sudden loud noises and the e-windscreen to help with wind noise.
PHONAK NAIDA Q
This is the latest generation of super power hearing aids from Phonak. They feature the new Quest platform technology which gives better quality of sound and faster processing along with the extra power. All the models are also highly water and dust resistant.
Date Launched: 2013
Styles: BTE (Behind the Ear) and RIC (Receiver in Canal)
Technology Levels: Four. (Q90, Q70, Q50 and Q30)
Maximum Output: 144 dB
Maximum Gain: 85 dB
Wireless Compatible: Yes. With Phonak wireless accessories
Special Features: Depending on the technology level, the Naida Q can offer up to 20 sound processing channels. They also contain Phonak’s ‘block’ features (Whistleblock, Noiseblock, Echoblock and Windblock) which all keep out unwanted noise. Naida Q hearing aids also feature Soundrecover which is designed to bring higher frequency sounds into a range you can hear. They also have some new features made possible by the new binaural technology. These include Binaural Voicestream, which allows communication between the two hearing aids, Acclimatisation manager which helps you adapt to the amplification and Speech in Wind which further improves the quality of sound in windy situations.
This is one of the latest additions to the super power family of hearing aids and offers one of the most cosmetic solutions for severe/profound hearing loss. It has a sleek design and a range of colours to choose from as well as being highly weatherproof.
Date Launched: 2013
Styles: RITE (Receiver in the Ear) and RIC (Receiver in Canal)
Technology Levels: Two. (440 and 220)
Maximum Output: 143 dB
Maximum Gain: 87 dB
Wireless Compatible: Yes. With the DEX range of accessories
Special Features: These hearing aids can offer up to 15 sound processing channels as well as 5 programmes that can be set to manage different listening environments. They have advanced feedback cancelling and noise reduction and the Audibility and Output Extenders which help to manage both the high and low frequency sounds. There is also Digital Pinna which will maintain a natural sound and a Speech Enhancer to keep speech sounds clear. The Super 440 is also currently the only super powered hearing aid to offer a feature dedicated to easing the symptoms of tinnitus. This feature is known as Zen and uses a range of tones to mask the ‘ringing’ that sufferers experience.
With so many different styles and technology levels available, there is now an option to suit almost all personal requirements or taste. While these hearing aids cannot fully restore normal hearing, with all the new advancements and features they can now make it clear, comfortable and as natural as possible.
About the Author: This article was produced by Paul Harrison. Paul has over 20 years’ experience in the hearing aid industry. The Your Hearing Aid Specialists provide all leading hearing aid manufacturers/models and offer their service through their UK network of hearing aid audiologists.