If you read my first blog post from 4 years ago, you know that I am a big fan of rechargeability.
I wrote that article after we launched Phonak Audéo B rechargeable hearing aids. That launch was monumental because Phonak was the first to integrate a lithium-ion battery into a hearing aid which allowed a full day of hearing on a single charge, even when streaming from accessories. It was (and still is) considered a groundbreaking innovation of technology that has changed people’s lives for the better.
Four years later and I still have joy when it comes to rechargeability. Whenever I buy a new device, I choose the rechargeable version. It means I never worry about batteries. Yes, I really don’t like having to look for batteries, knowing full well that I either don’t have any or won’t remember where I’ve put them. But, like most of the devices in my house, I have a charging cable everywhere I can think of. If I need to charge a device, I look for a cable and know I will find one.
My second joy – connectivity
Now, what other technology brings me joy? I would say that connectivity tops the list because it allows my devices to seamlessly engage with each other. As I look around me now. I am currently working on my computer and I have music playing through a Bluetooth® speaker that is connected to my phone. Next to me are 2 different wireless headsets – one is connected to my phone, the other to my computer. I also have a rechargeable light that shines nice and bright when night falls and a wireless mouse to navigate my computer screens. And this is just what is around me less than a meter space.
Two years ago, we introduced Phonak Marvel, a hearing aid that linked rechargeability with direct connectivity. The fact that more than one million Phonak Marvel devices sold in the market suggests that connectivity was a game changer in the industry that brings a lot of people joy.
Think of the benefits – with direct connectivity, hearing aid wearers could finally connect their hearing aids to their smartphones and have hands free phone calls or stream music or audio from any device with Bluetooth.
With Marvel hearing aids, connectivity is possible with one device a time. To switch between Bluetooth devices, hearing aid wearers turn off the Bluetooth connection to one device and connect the Bluetooth on a other device. It is simple to do but takes a few seconds to actively make the switch between devices.
Rechargeability and simultaneous connectivity – it’s Paradise!
I am happy to say that connectivity in hearing aids got even better with our recent launch of Paradise hearing aids. With Paradise, you can connect to two devices simultaneously without having to disconnect from either of the devices.. Thanks to a new motion sensor chip, once in the range of a Bluetooth device, you can seamlessly connect to that device with Tap Control.
Tap Control in action
Imagine you are sitting on your sofa listening to your music from your tablet. Your phone, sitting a few meters away, rings. What do you normally do? You pause the music on your tablet and hope that the phone doesn’t stop ringing by the time you get up to connect to it. If you are wearing a pair of Phonak Audeo Paradise hearing aids, you would hear the phone ringing or announcing the name of the caller through the hearing aids.
All you would have to do is double-tap on your hearing aids and you would connect automatically to the phone call. When the call is over, your hearing aids would connect to your tablet again and back to the music…. And you didn’t even have to move from the sofa to reach your phone!
What does double-tapping have to do with rechargeable technology?
Well, the rechargeable technology that was developed for Audeo B-R hearing aids has been improved over the years. Even though a Paradise rechargeable hearing aid* is packed with so many more features, like audio streaming and Tap Control, the battery life is 16 hours including 4 hours of Bluetooth classic streaming and 4 hours of TV Connector streaming. That’s a lot of streaming for a whole day of battery life.
Other than Tap Control, the motion sensor chip in Phonak Audeo Paradise hearing aids also offers Motion Sensor Hearing. With this feature, users can walk and hear the person next to them without having to turn their head which fosters more environmental awareness. Other features include Speech Enhancer, an update to the automatic operating system, AutoSense OS, RogerDirect, connectivity to TVs and more, and connectivity to the myPhonak app for personalization of hearing aids.
Can’t wait for 2024!
I can’t believe how much innovation has taken place since my last article four years ago. In four years from now, I wonder what new hearing aid technology I will be writing about. Feel free to share your thoughts of what the next groundbreaking technology will be in the comments section.
* Paradise wearers still have access to charging options like the small Mini Charger or the portable Charger Case Combi with the Power Pack. The Power Pack charges hearing aids for 7 full charges which is like charging for 7 days without having to carry around a charging cable.