Following the successful introduction of Audéo™ B-Direct, Virto™ B, and CROS B hearing solutions to the UK market, we were keen to gauge specialist audience reaction to these new products at our recent launch events in London and Manchester.
Proceedings at the event commenced with a well-received introduction from Jon Billings, the recently appointed MD of Phonak UK & Ireland, swiftly followed by an overview of its Belong Platform featuring rechargeable hearing aids with groundbreaking lithium-ion batteries, super discreet custom hearing aids made from titanium, the introduction of biometric calibration for custom hearing aids and the brand new, proprietary 2.4 GHz radio chip SWORD offering direct connectivity to any mobile phone for the first time.
Virto™ B with biometric calibration was then introduced as the latest member of the In The Ear (ITE) family. Biometric calibration is a new technology, which identifies over 1,600 data points for each ear and uses Phonak’s specially developed software to precisely calibrate the hearing instrument to individual ear anatomies.
The afternoon session introduced Audéo™ B-Direct as an extension of the popular RIC hearing aid family for mild to severe hearing losses. Powered by the Phonak Belong technology and the first product to employ Sonova’s revolutionary SWORD chip and wireless radio technology, Phonak Audeo B-Direct broadens the scope of the Phonak portfolio with a targeted solution for people seeking direct connectivity. Audeo B-Direct is the first entry into the direct connectivity segment with universal connectivity. Devices in the range can connect easily to any Bluetooth enabled mobile phone as well as televisions and other Bluetooth enabled devices. The low-voltage wireless chip has the lowest power consumption of any hearing aid using Bluetooth Classic.
This universal connectivity is an important step forward for Phonak. Until recently, only iPhone mobile users – estimated to be only 10% of all mobile phone users worldwide – were able to make a wireless connection to their hearing aids. Phonak’s new technologies have addressed this issue and now almost any phone – including Android devices and even simple feature phones – can connect to the company’s hearing aids. This development is a game changer in the hearing aid market, and will allow tens of thousands of users to thrive socially and emotionally.
Delegates were also impressed by the hands-free capability of Audeo B-Direct. This new solution allows the wearer to answer or reject a phone call by simply pressing the push button on their hearing aid.
In order to fully appreciate the benefits of this new Bluetooth connectivity and discover for themselves how easy it is to use, delegates were able to try Phonak’s new Audéo B-Direct hearing aids in an authentic cinema environment. They were impressed not only by the seamless connectivity, but also the high-quality sound performance enabled by the brand new TV Connector accessory, which is a plug’n play interface to TV and other audio sources, supporting direct connectivity to Phonak Audeo B Direct hearing aids. It’s designed to simplify the setup and usage and offers superior stereo sound quality using Airstream technology.
The launch events were a huge success and delegates left with an invaluable audiological insight into Virto B with biometric calibration, Audeo B Direct and the TV Connector as well as an understanding of how the consumer benefits of these new technologies can also generate additional revenue for independent audiologists.