Phonak Hearing Aids

One of the hearing aids giants. Phonak hearing aids is based in Zurich, Switzerland.

They got endless options and hearing aids. I tried to cover all of them, and still to put some order in it below.

Phonak devices are based on a few platforms. Hearing aids using similar platforms are using the same core processor. Every device enables different combination of characteristics, features and options. On each platform, you can find devices of different grades, sizes and prices.


QUEST Platform

Phonak-hearing-aids-Audeo-Q Audeo Q hearing aid.
Courtesy PHONAK

The latest from Phonak hearing aids.  Based on a technology named: Binaural VoiceStream Technology. It supposed to enable hearing in harder conditions, especially when dealing with wind and other noisy environment.

Phonak take proud of this platform and claim that it can cover any hearing loss you might have. It is also available on all grades and sizes:


Audeo Q - Receiver in the canal, includes a mechanism to deal with Tinnitus (on all four grades!)

Nadia Q - a BTE device for severe hearing loss

Bolero Q - a BTE hearing aid

Vitro Q - an In-The-Canal Hearing aid


For all the formation above, you can have four quality grades:

90 - Premium

70 - Advanced

50 - Standard

30 - Essential


On top of all of these, there are the following device series (still, based on the OUEST platform):


Baseo Q15

A basic quality BTE hearing aid. You can find it in three different power levels.


Tao Q

A medium quality level in the canal hearing aid. Available in four different power level.


These two series are considered as the basic level devices, just below the Essential series.


Sky Q

A hearing aid dedicated for kids. It’s available in three different levels (50, 70, 90). This enables it to overcome most hearing loss levels. The series is planned to handle dirt, moisture and mild damages. It got a nice aesthetic feature - you can mix and match colors to get a unique look.



Spice Platform

Up until 2012, it was the most innovative platform Phonak had for its hearing aids. The platform has many new features and capabilities. As a whole, it should enable you better understanding of the human voice and better understanding when there are significant background noises. In addition, the ability to tailor the hearing aid to you specific needs is also much better on this platform.


If you want to skip the details (since there are so many variants), I made some “bottom line” table for all the endless options you can get with this platform. It’s here.


Anyhow, here goes:

Ambra, Solana, Cassia

These three are sister series. they have similar functionality, same formations but in three different quality levels.


Ambra

The most advanced one out of the three and it has devices in all sizes. One of the features that makes this series different is a sophisticated directional microphones system. Meaning, a set of microphones that work together to enable you better focus on the speaker. It can tell the location of the speaker even if there is significant background noise. This series really has all the goodies.


Solana

It’s the second best series for this platform. They actually based it on the Ambra series but reduced the capabilities for some of the features. Actually, this is pretty common for hearing aids companies. Whenever they come up with a new set of technologies, they enable it fully in one of the hearing aids and enable reduced functionality on other hearing aids. That way, they can market the devices on a few quality and price it accordingly.

For the Solona, for instance, the directional system is advanced, but not the elite level you get in the Ambra.


Cassia

The basic Series on the Spice platform. Like the Solana, some of the platform's capabilities are reduced. Systems like directional microphones, auto-learning capabilities and noise reduction mechanisms are all with limited functionality comparing to the Ambra and the Solana.


In addition to the Ambra, Solana and Cassia, Phonak came up with a series called Dalia. It’s a low budget series, based on the Spice technology. The purpose is to enable patients with a limited budget to enjoy the top notch technology. Comparing to Cassia, Dalia has got fewer channels, less programs and a less complicated directional system.


Additional hearing aids based on Spice Platform

Audeo S

Thesedevices are a BTE compact hearing aids. It is actually a Receiver-In-The-Canal device. The separation of the receiver from the microphone enables the whole device to be much smaller. However, it can still be powerful enough. It fits minor hearing loss to severe hearing loss cases.

The hearing aids in this series suppose to handle constants much better (S, SH, CH) with a unique mechanism called ‘Sound Recover’


Audeo S comes in three models - Smart, Yes and Mini. For each of these, there are three quality levels (3, 5, 9).

The main differences between the three models:

Aedeo S Mini - most compact

Aedeo S Yes and Aedeo S Smart - different controls (manual Vs remote)


Nadia S

A BTE series, meant to handle severe to profound hearing loss. You can have it in two power levels - Super power and ultra power. they come in three quality level.

The different levels are mainly around how wireless it is. Meaning, the options of connecting to media appliances. This difference in the wireless abilities also changes the way you can control your hearing aid using a remote control and the coordination between the right and the left hearing aids.


Nadia S CRT

Pretty similar to the Nadia S, but here the receiver is in the canal which makes the whole device to be more compact. It might fit you if you have moderate to severe hearing loss. In this series also, you can choose out of three different receiver, with three different power level.

There are three different quality levels in this series. The simplest (3) is good for you if you mainly use your hearing aid when talking to a single person. The highest grade device (9) is helpful even in a noisy environment with lots of different people talking at the same time.

Recently, Phonak added an entry level hearing aid using the Spice platform. It should enable you to have some of the functionality of this generation but on a fair price.


Nios S H2O

A BTE hearing aid, targeting kids and teenagers. It got the latest technology, and it is built to communicate with FM systems. In addition, it is durable enough to handle dirt and moisture to some extent. These devices are available in two quality levels.


CROS hearing aids

Phonak also came up with a CROS hearing aid that is using the Spice technology. Some more on CROS, regardless of Phonak.



To summarize all the device in the Spice Platform, I’ll try to gather them all in this table below


Level Devices
Elite Ambra - All sizes
Audeo S iX, smart mini and yes - Receiver in the canal devices
Nadia S IX - for profound hearing loss
High Solana - All sizes
Nios H2O V - small durable BTE
Audeo S V, smart mini and yes - Receiver in the canal devices
Nadia S V - for profound hearing loss
Medium Cassia - All sizes
Nios H2O III -  small durable BTE
Audeo S III, smart mini and yes - - Receiver in the canal devices
Nadia S III - for profound hearing loss
Basic Dalia - All sizes
Audeo S I, smart mini and yes - - Receiver in the canal devices
Nadia S I - for profound hearing loss



The platform prior to Spice is called CORE. Phonak hearing aids based on CORE are still sold widely. I do want to say that new technologies are presented often. It doesn’t make the previous technology any worst. Meaning, the “old” technology didn’t change. It can still do the same great job it did before the newer version was introduced.



CORE platform

Many of the devices here are similar to the hearing aids of the Spice platform. This is why the names are sometimes the same, but without the ‘S’ that indicates the ‘Spice’.

The platform got three main series that includes all device sizes.


Exelia Art

The most advanced series of CORE platform


Versata Art

Less advanced comparing to Exelia. Got fewer channels and less programs. In addition, it doesn't have some of the mechanisms. Systems to reduce sudden noise, a phone answering mechanism to get the call on both devices and more.


Certena Art

Even less channels comparing to Versata, fewer programs and doesn’t have a mechanism to prevent wind noises.


Audeo

in this series, there are the Smart, Mini and Yes types, same as in the Spice platform. They represent three different quality level.


Nadia

A BTE series, to handle profound hearing loss. Got two power level and four different grades.


NIOS

A small BTE series. You can get it in two different quality levels. Can also be an open fit device.


MILO+

The entry level series for the CORE platform. Available in most sizes and supports most levels of hearing loss, from minor hearing loss to profound hearing loss.




Lyric

Another unique Phonak hearing aid is the Lyric. It’s not what you usually have in mind when you think of a hearing aid.

It’s a tiny device, that the audiologist locates deep in your ear, and it stays there for several months. You can’t get it out, and you don’t need to. Once every few months, you visit your clinic, and they replace the device. You can sleep with it, take showers with it and just live your life.

A lot more on Lyrics hearing aids here.



Phonak hearing aids mechanisms

Here are some of the terms that you might come across when talking about Phonak hearing aids. Phonak got many different mechanisms that improve the performance of their hearing aids. I try to briefly explain some of them here. The features are also discussed on Phonak hearing aids site.


Zoom Control

A mechanism that allows you to choose what direction you want to listen to. It is operated either with a button or remotely. The complementary “auto zoom control” does that automatically. It chooses the direction based on which is the dominant voice, no matter where the speaker is located. It’s supported only if you use two hearing aids, as it uses the wireless connectivity between the two devices.


Stereo Zoom

Enables you to focus on a certain voice in a noisy environment. Meaning, in a loud environment, with many people talking at the same time, you can choose who do you want to listen to. The complementary “auto stereo zoom” does that for you. It will focus on the most dominant speaker around you. Here also, you must have both the right and the left hearing aids.


Ultra zoom

A directional microphones system, that decides how to operate the microphones each and every moment. It chooses whether to operate all the mics (omnidirectional) or should it be directed to a certain direction. The more advanced the mechanism gets, the more options it has.http://www.hearing-aids-wizard.com/phonak-hearing-aids.html Meaning, it can choose out of more channels and directions to get the best sound quality.


Noise Block

A mechanism to reduce noises. It operates on several levels, according to the noise level around you.


Echo Block

A system to reduce echos that you might hear in places that the acoustic environment isn’t ideal.


Whistle block

To reduce feedback  noises


Wind block

A mechanism to cancel wind noises in the relevant channels. Practically, it enables better usage of the hearing aids outdoors.


Speech in wind

An additional mechanism meant to deal with wind noises. It compares the wind noises between the two devices in order to locate the side that has the less noise. Then, it sends the amplified signal to that side.


Duophone

This one enables you to hear a phone conversation on both sides. Meaning, it sends the telephone sounds to both hearing aids. It does so in addition to reducing the background noises.


EASYPHONE

Automatically answers a phone call. When you place the phone next to your ear, the device senses it and switches to a phone speaking program.


Sound recover

A mechanism to enable hearing high tones like Z, S, SH even if you suffer from high tone loss.


Sound flow

This one samples the environment in real time and make the needed adjustment to the hearing aid. It brings the most out of the hearing aid in any given situation.


Flexcontrol

A complementary mechanism to the Sound Flow. Along time, the mechanism learns your preferences and make the right adjustments automatically.


Flexvolume

Enables smart control of the volume. It is not limited to simply increasing or decreasing of the volume. It is doing so according to your specific hearing loss. After a while, it has a learning system that automatically adjusts the volume according to the environment.


Real ear sound

This one tries to mock the natural behaviour of the outer ear. The purpose is to give you a more “normal” sound.


Quick Syn

Any adjustment you’ll do for one device, will also affect the second device. Meaning, if you change a program or reduce the volume on the right device, the same changes will take place in the left hearing aid as well.


Auto Acclimatization

It should enable you a graduate adjusting period to the hearing aid. Once you start using the hearing aid, it will gradually increase the amplification until it reaches the optimum level. It should give you easier start while going through the first steps of using a hearing aid.


Everyday Automatic

Another mechanism, but a fairly basic one, that makes automatic adjustments to the surrounding.


You can find all sorts of combiations of these mechanisms in Phonak hearing aids.
 
 

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