Hearing Aid Institute
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Ultimate Hearing Aid Guide.
Phonak is one of the leading European hearing aid manufacturers, and are famed for their wireless devices. Based in Switzerland, the company is a subsidiary of the Sonova Group, which itself has a long history in creating audiological devices. As for Phonak, they have been refining their hearing aids for over 70 years, making them one of the most experienced manufacturers in the world.
The company was formed in 1950 under the name Phonak Alpina, but they really got going in the 1960s, with the introduction of products like the Visaton Super - a set of eyeglasses with a hearing aid incorporated into the frame. The Phonette soon followed, and was even more innovative, being the world's very first BTE hearing aid, and was followed in turn by the Super-Front PP-C in 1978, which offered cutting edge amplification and sound quality.
After that, Phonak began to expand its operations across the globe, and they also continued their research and development efforts. The 1990s saw innovations like the Phonica - Phonak's pioneering ITE device, as well as industry-leading directional systems like AudioZoom. Seeing the drift towards wireless technology, Phonak also concentrated on integrating FM, then BlueTooth receivers into their hearing aids, establishing a deserved reputation among music lovers for the quality of their streaming devices.
These days, Phonak's reseach efforts continue to bear fruit, with smaller devices than ever, which are able to connect to more external devices, from computers and phones, to TVs and mp3 players. They have also become leaders in speech enhancement, thanks to systems like Roger, which wirelessly beams speech from conversation partners straight to hearing aid speakers.
The ethos of the modern day company is all about liberating people to experience life to the full. In practice, this means making their devices convenient, user-friendly, and technologically advanced, and you can see all three aspects in leading Phonak models like the Bolero, Virto, and Audeo.
When you browse these products, you'll notice that Phonak labels their brands with a "B" or a "V". The "B" means that the model you are browsing comes from the latest generation. The "V" means that it's one generation behind (which definitely doesn't mean that its obsolete). You may also see an "R" after the "B". This means that the model is rechargeable, making it extra convenient.
Additionally, you'll find that Phonak's major models come in a variety of classes, including Essential, Standard, Advanced, and Premium. Even at the Essential level, the features included are pretty comprehensive, including 8 audio channels, and compact designs. Standard designs come with 12 channels, and greater streaming capabilities. Advanced models feature special settings for listening to music, can suppress wind noise effectively, and have more tools to enhance speech. Finally, Premium Phonak hearing aids come with Bluetooth streaming, and up to 20 programmable channels. So, there's quite a lot of difference, and it's important to research the available features when making a selection.
The most popular Phonak model is probably Bolero, a sleek BTE device with relatively affordable entry-level prices, although the Audeo and Virto are extremely popular as well. If you have specific needs, though, it might be useful to check out Phonak's more specialist products, including the Sky (which is adapted for children), the Naida (which is designed for those suffering from profound hearing loss), and the CROS B device, which is intended for those with differential hearing loss.
Whatever device you choose, Phonak tend to maintain very high production quality, and their highest level devices are as sophisticated as those offered by competitors like Signia or ReSound.
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