Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic health condition facing older adults (1). As the baby boomers age, the incidence of hearing loss is increasing substantially. Presbycusis, also known as age-related hearing loss, first affects the higher frequencies, reducing the clarity of speech, and later affects the low frequencies, reducing the volume of speech (2). Studies suggest it is linked to a higher incidence of Alzheimer’s, dementia, falls, depression, and income decline (3). This is why early intervention of hearing loss is crucial. An Audiologist can offer services to assess your hearing and provide treatment options.
One option to treat hearing loss is through hearing aids. These are small devices that are programmed to an individual’s hearing loss in order to offer amplification to improve speech clarity and volume. Hearing aids have come a long way in terms of the technological revolution. There are many different styles which are extremely discrete and offer features such as wireless and Bluetooth connectivity, digital noise reduction, and tinnitus maskers. The latest technology on the market is the rechargeable hearing aid which uses a built-in lithium-ion battery that can be recharged using a charging station and power source. This revolutionary technology eliminates the hassle of disposable batteries that need to be changed every 3-14 days depending on the battery size, the severity of hearing loss and the use of hearing aid. This rechargeable hearing aid is also an ideal choice for individuals with hearing loss who have issues with dexterity and vision loss. In this article, we will explore the features behind two of the latest rechargeable hearing aids from two industry leading manufacturers - Phonak and Signia.
Phonak released the Audéo B-R in August 2016 as part of their Belong platform. Offered in 4 technology levels and 9 colours, this hearing aid is a receiver in the canal (RIC) hearing aid which discretely sits behind the ear with a thin wire connecting to a speaker that sits inside the ear. It is IP68 rated which means it is dust and water resistant. Phonak claims this is the longest lasting rechargeable aid on the market with a battery life of up to 24 hours after only 3 hours of charging time. This hearing aid also offers a fast charge option which allows for 6 hours of use after a 30 minute charge. The hearing aid comes with a charger case, mini charger, and power pack that allows for short trips where no power source is available. In a study on satisfaction, hearing aid users reported a 9.4/10 overall rating (4).
Signia’s Cellion is a receiver in also a RIC hearing aid which operates on the Primax platform. It was launched in October 2016. It is offered in both mid and high end technologies and 12 colours. It is IP-68 dust and water resistant. According to Siemens, this rechargeable aid offers up to two days of use in one charge of 4 hours (5). The Cellion aid also offers a fast-charging option of 30 minutes which enables 7 hours of use. It also comes with a micro USB interface which allows for the user to use any USB compatible source. Once the aids are placed in the charging case, they automatically turn off and once removed, will automatically turn back on. All in all, a great option for rechargeable hearing aids.
If you are interested in a private demo of these rechargeable hearing aids simply go to the Ontario Association of Speech-Language Pathologists & Audiologists website at www.osla.on.ca to find a regulated hearing healthcare provider near you.
Contributor: Sabrina DeToma, Au.D. Salus Hearing Centre Sabrina DeToma is a licensed Audiologist in Ontario with a clinical doctorate degree and over 10 years of experience in the hearing healthcare field. She independently owns and operates Salus Hearing Centre in Maple, Ontario. Sabrina assesses, diagnoses and treats hearing loss and the hearing related conditions of tinnitus and hyperacusis. She dispenses hearing aids, assistive listening devices, and custom earmolds and earplugs. For more information: www.salushearing.com or 905-303-HEAR (4327)
1.CDC (2017) https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/HearingLoss/index.html 2.ASHA (2017) http://www.asha.org/Articles/Untreated-Hearing-Loss-in-Adults/ 3.CHS (2017) http://www.chs.ca/facts-and-figures 4.Phonak (2017) https://www.phonak.com/us/en/about-us/rechargeable-os-technology.html 5.Siemens (2017) https://www.sivantos.com/en/press/2016/07/05/sivantos-unveils-the-worlds-most-advanced-lithium-ion-inductive-rechargeable-hearing-aid