Hearing Aids

The Evolving Technology That Has Led to Modern Hearing Aids

Prior to the use of apparatus to assist those with hearing difficulties, those who were deaf tended to form their own little communities and develop ways in which to communicate between themselves. Later, the concept became more formalised with the formation of special schools where pupils could learn by means of lip-reading and sign language. Today, such establishments still serve those whose hearing is too profoundly impaired for hearing aids to be of any benefit.

For the rest, however, there has been a non-stop quest to develop increasingly effective technology to help them manage their deafness. The quest really began with the development of simple acoustic devices, such as ear trumpets and speaking tubes. These were first produced in the 18th century, although hollowed-out cow and ram’s horns are known to have been used for this purpose as early as the 13th century.

Apart from the fact that these devices were either highly obtrusive or too large to be portable, their effect was much the same as that of a speaker shouting in the ear of a deaf person. This is because simple acoustic devices take no account of the fact that hearing loss tends not to affect all frequencies of sound uniformly, while modern hearing aids are tuneable and, therefore, designed to compensate for this effect.

As has proved to be the case in so many other branches of current technology, digital electronics have also transformed the design, improved the performance characteristics, and extended the functionality of 21st-century hearing aids. For proof of this, there can be few better examples of a total transformation than the premium offering that we provide. Appropriately known to many thousands of delighted users as the Audéo Marvel, this device represents a new milestone in the evolution of digital hearing technology.

Consisting of four models, the M90 (Premium), M70 (Advanced), M50 (Standard), and M30 (Essential), the first thing that is certain to strike a new owner is the clear, rich sound qualities of the Phonak Audéo Marvel range. All models allow the wearer to listen in comfort when engaged in one-on-one conversation in quiet surroundings while, in noisy environments, their performance to optimise the signal-to-noise ratio, cutting out annoying background chatter. For those whose hearing aids are consistently required to contend with exceptional noise levels, the Premium (M90) model is the ideal option. Together with the Advanced (M70) model, it also shares the option of the expanded dynamic range, reduced compression speed, and increased gain necessary to optimise the user experience when listening to music.

Another feature common to the range with its standard AutoSense 3.0 Operating System and Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ is its top-rated ability to stream speech and music to both ears from digital sources, such as DAB radios, TVs, and iOS and Android smartphones, as well as from other Bluetooth-enabled phones. The facility means a wearer is able to make hands-free calls from any of the hearing aids in the range, answering, ending, or rejecting calls with just a quick push of a button. The facility extends the boundaries of home entertainment for the hard-of-hearing with the option to stream music and movies, as well as eBooks and podcasts.

In keeping with modern needs, these units are designed to support up to three useful apps that serve to further extend their already impressive basic capabilities. One of these is the Real Ear Sound feature that emulates the function of the pinna, allowing the wearer to better localise the source of incoming sounds, for example, to identify a speaker from among the others present in a group. Other features of these advanced hearing aids serve to block feedback, wind noise, and echo effects, so as to maintain a comfortable sound experience.

For those who may have thought that enjoying all these incredible functions might take its toll on the battery life, the Phonak Audéo Marvel range employs lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that are engineered to provide a 6-year lifespan, while providing a full day’s usage, including streaming time, with a single charge.

Available from Ear Institute clinics nationwide, our remarkable, compact, behind-the-ear units are available in a range of colours to match most skin tones for maximum discretion. These hi-tech products are not mere hearing aids, but multi-functional marvels.

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