Technology, Clinical Practice

Novel way of accessing Bluetooth® functionalities

Tap Control is a new feature in Phonak Audéo Paradise 90 and 70 level rechargeable hearing aids that expands the way an end user can activate or access various functionalities.

How many times a day do you pick up your cell phone to answer a phone call or to pause or resume music or a podcast? Do you find yourself using voice assistant more each day with its endless possibilities of what it can do? With the advent of direct connectivity in hearing aids, hearing aid wearers need to be able to access and control more functions in their hearing aids. However, there are only so many functions that a button on the hearing instrument can control. Phonak hearing aids already have a top and bottom portion of the button and a long and short press that are used to power the hearing aid on and off, change volume and programs and accept/end/reject phone calls!

The new Motion Sensor technology in Phonak Audéo Paradise rechargeable hearing aids provides an all-new intuitive, gesture-based control system: Tap Control. Tap Control is a new way of interacting with Bluetooth devices.

Tap Control: How does it work?

Tap Control is a new way of controlling various functions of the hearing aids. This has been made possible due to the Motion Sensor in Audéo Paradise rechargeable hearing aids. Tapping twice on the hearing aid or pinna in quick succession triggers the Motion Sensor which evokes the configured action in the 90 and 70 level devices.

What are the options Tap Control provides?

Tap Control can be used to:

  • Pause/resume streaming from a connected Bluetooth device
  • Accept or end phone calls from a connected iOS or Android phone
  • Access your favorite voice assistant (Siri, Google Assistant)

Voice assistant is no longer a niche technology, and is clearly becoming a popular way to interact with the internet and make the most routine or mundane tasks more convenient. 60% of U.S. adults over the age of 60 have used a voice assistant on their smartphone.1

The combination of Tap Control with an external virtual assistant may give the wearer the ability to:

  • Play music
  • Read and respond to messages
  • Get directions and traffic info
  • Check the weather
  • Receive search results
  • Set reminders
  • Shop online
  • Check sports scores
  • And many other possibilities… without touching their phone!

Can there be flexibility in the set-up?

Yes! Tap Control is easily programmed in Target 7.0, with three pre-defined behaviors, two of which can be assigned to a specific hearing aid. Tap control settings can also be viewed and configured by the end user in the “My hearing aids” section of the myPhonak app.

How easy is it to use and do people like it?

Internal validation studies of Tap Control showed:

  • 9 out of 13 participants rated Tap Control as reliable or very reliable (Adler & Woodward, 2020).
  • Twice as many participants preferred Tap Control for various functions compared with the alternative methods of the multi-function button or accessing via the cell phone.2

There is a Tap Control training feature available in Phonak Target 7.0 providing the ability to coach the hearing aid wearer on how to properly double tap the pinna or hearing aid to activate Tap Control functionalities. The Tap Control function on Phonak Paradise rechargeable hearing aids is a quick and reliable option to offer clients more control over their direct streaming functions.

Tap Control solves the problem of needing an additional button on the hearing aid, since it essentially makes the whole hearing aid an additional button! In addition, this new feature provides intuitive, gesture-based control of the hearing aids, giving users enhanced control over their Bluetooth devices as well as access to the world around them via voice assistant. Tap Control truly expands the way various functionalities can be activated for clients with Phonak Audéo Paradise 90 and 70 level rechargeable hearing aids.

 

To learn more about what end users think about Tap Control, please visit the Phonak Evidence Page to access the Field Study News article or watch this short video.

References

  1. Kinsella, B. (2019, June 21). Voice Assistant Demographic Data – Young Consumers More Likely to Own Smart Speakers While Over 60 Bias Toward Alexa and Siri. Retrieved September 19th, 2020, from https://voicebot.ai/2019/06/21/voice-assistant-demographic-data-young-consumers-more-likely-to-own-smart-speakers-while-over-60-bias-toward-alexa-and-siri/
  2. Adler, M. & Woodward, J. (2020). New Tap Control: providing a preferred and reliable alternative to access direct streaming functions. Phonak Field Study News, retrieved from www.phonakpro.com/evidence, accessed September 19th, 2020.

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