Like the rollout of new car models every year, most major manufacturers of hearing devices introduce new models or — more often — new features or accessories for their flagship models. This is no different in early 2018, with Oticon, Phonak, and ReSound all adding interesting and useful items to their inventory.
New features and accessories have been added to Oticon’s Opn line.
An overnight recharge option was rolled out for the Oticon Opn miniRITE in 2017. This takes away the hassle of dealing with battery changes. The new rechargeable batteries can be retrofitted, allowing users to recharge their hearing device overnight and then get a full day’s use on the charge.
In another significant upgrade, the ConnectClip has been introduced. This wireless device — a powerful directional microphone — adds features to any Opn hearing device. It not only can be used to gain better performance by acting as a more powerful microphone in difficult noise environments, but it also can act as part of a wireless headset with smartphones.
It’s designed to pick up the user’s voice when speaking, allowing hands-free conversations to take place. Phone calls with smartphones can take place seamlessly since both the incoming and outgoing voice communications are routed wirelessly from the smartphone to the Opn and ConnectClip.
In late 2017 Phonak introduced a high-end Bluetooth hearing device, the Audéo B-Direct. A patented computer chip — the Sonova Wireless One Radio Digital (SWORD) — was at the core of this new product. It provides simplified direct connectivity to most cell phones, supporting classic Bluetooth protocol, and requires no additional streaming device.
Not to be outdone, ReSound introduced to its LiNX line the LiNX 3D. Testing shows that it identifies speech in loud conditions up to 50 percent better and provides more accurate speech recognition at a rate of up to 40 percent. It won a UX Design Award, which “… recognize[s] excellent experience qualities in products, services, environments and future oriented concepts in all areas of life.”