Update: View Phonak's latest technology here.
The third level of technology currently available from Phonak is the Bolero Q50 and Virto Q50. These models were launched in October 2012 and have replaced the previous Cassia range.
The Bolero Q50 is available in four BTE (Behind the Ear) Styles which come in a range of colours which now include hair and skin tone options.
Bolero Q 50 M312 - Power Micro BTE
Bolero Q 50 M13 - Micro BTE
Bolero Q 50 P - Power BTE
Bolero Q 50 SP - Super Power BTE
The Virto Q50 is the ITE (In the Ear) option which also comes in a range of styles and colours.
Virto Q 50 10 – CIC (Completely in Canal)
Virto Q 50 312 – ITC (In the Canal)
Virto Q 50 13 – ITE (In the Ear)
Within this range there is also the Virto Q 50 Nano. This is a tiny IIC (Invisible in Canal) hearing aid. It sits deep in the ear canal and is designed for people who want something that is virtually invisible.
As well as having all the same features from the previous Cassia model, Phonaks new Quest technology brings us Binaural VoiceStream. This means that your hearing aids will communicate with each other and work together to enhance your listening experience. Within this technology are innovative new features including the Acclimatisation Manager – This changes your amplification levels automatically when needed. The levels and settings can also be manually adjusted.
• 12 Channels - Each channel processes a range of frequencies so the more channels you have, the more specifically it can be programmed to suit your hearing needs.
• Ultrazoom - This is a binaural microphone application designed to enhance speech capture and noise cancellation.
• Whistleblock – To give the wearer freedom from the annoying feedback that can occur.
• Soundrecover – Improves the wearer’s ability to hear high frequency sounds while maintaining a natural sound.
• Noiseblock – This is designed to suppress background noise leaving speech clearer.
• Windblock – This manages wind noise without having to adjust microphone settings.
• Soundflow– This feature detects even the most subtle changes in your listening environment and using different programmes it can adapt automatically to ensure comfort and clarity in your hearing.
• AOV (Accoustically Optimised Vent) – This ensures the wearer has minimum occlusion
Some styles within the Virto and Bolero Q50 range are also wireless compatible. Phonak have developed a range of accessories to work along side it to give you the freedom to enjoy everyday activities such as watching TV.
• Phonak Compilot – Streamer worn around the neck
• Phonak TV Link S – TV transmitter/compilot charger
• Phonak Mypilot – One touch display screen remote control
• Phonak PilotOne – Basic remote control
Although the Virto Q 50 Nano does not have wireless options, it does have its own accessory called the MiniControl. This is a small remote that can be fitted onto a set of keys that can be set up to adjust either your program or volume settings.
In conclusion, the Phonak Virto Q 50 and Bolero Q50 are the third level of technology that have wireless compatibility
Paul has been in the audiological industry for over 20 years. He studied audiology at Cambridge and has worked in both the manufacturing and retail sectors of the industry. He worked for one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers as Trainer, Product Manager and also Sales Director. He later became the National Sales Manager for one of the national hearing aid retailers. He has dispensed many hearing aids as a private audiologist and he sits on the Council of the British Society of Hearing Aid Audiologists (BSHAA)
Do not spend hundreds of pounds without getting a second opinion from us.
If you are looking at this page then it is likely that an audiologist has suggested that you purchase this particular hearing aid, so is this the best model for you?
In general, any audiologist will always be recommending to you the model that best suits your needs. Here is a useful check list to make sure that is the case.
If in doubt, feel free to give us a call. That's what we're here for.
If you have a significant hearing loss in both ears, you should be wearing two hearing aids. Here are the audiological reasons why:
Localisation. The brain decodes information from both ears and compares and contrasts them. By analysing the miniscule time delays as well as the difference in loudness of each sound reaching the ears, the person is able to accurately locate a sound source. Simply put, if you have better hearing on one side than the other, you can't accurately tell what direction sounds are coming from.
Less amplification required. A phenomena known as “binaural summation” means that the hearing aids can be set at a lower and more natural volume setting than than if you wore only one hearing aid.
Head shadow effect. High frequencies, the part of your hearing that gives clarity and meaning to speech sounds, cannot bend around your head. Only low frequencies can. Therefore if someone is talking on your unaided side you are likely to hear that they are speaking, but be unable to tell what they have said.
Noise reduction. The brain has it’s own built in noise reduction which is only really effective when it is receiving information from both ears. If only one ear is aided, even with the best hearing aid in the world, it will be difficult for you to hear in background noise as your brain is trying to retain all of the sounds (including background noise) rather than filtering it out.
Sound quality. We are designed to hear in stereo. Only hearing from one side sounds a lot less natural to us.
For most people, the main benefit of a rechargeable hearing aid is simple convenience. We are used to plugging in our phones and other devices overnight for them to charge up.
For anybody with poor dexterity or issues with their fingers, having a rechargeable aid makes a huge difference as normal hearing aid batteries are quite small and some people find them fiddly to change.
One downside is that if you forget to charge your hearing aid, then it is a problem that can't be instantly fixed. For most a 30 minute charge will get you at least two or three hours of hearing, but if you are the type of person who is likely to forget to plug them in regularly then you're probably better off with standard batteries.
Rechargeable aids are also a little bit bigger and are only available in behind the ear models.
Finally, just like with a mobile phone, the amount of charge you get on day one is not going to be the same as you get a few years down the line. Be sure to ask what the policy is with the manufacturer warranty when it comes to replacing the battery.
For most people, the answer is yes. But it's never that simple.
The majority of hearing problems affect the high frequencies a lot more than the low ones. Therefore open fitting hearing aids sound a lot more natural and ones that block your ears up can make your own voice sound like you are talking with your head in a bucket. Therefore in-ear aids tend to be less natural.
However the true answer is we can't tell until we have had a look in your ears to assess the size of your ear canal, and until we have tested your hearing to see which frequencies are being affected.
People with wider ear canals tend to have more flexibility, also there are open fitting modular CIC hearing aids now that do not block your ears.
There is also the age old rule to consider, that a hearing aid will not help you if it's sat in the drawer gathering dust. If the only hearing aid you would be happy wearing is one that people can't see, then that's what you should get.
Most people can adapt to any type of hearing aid, as long as they know what to expect. Have an honest conversation with your audiologist as to what your needs are.
Generally speaking, six or more. Unless it's none at all.
The number of channels a hearing aid has is often a simplistic way an audiologist will use to explain why one hearing aid is better than another, but channels are complex and it is really not that straightforward.
Hearing aids amplify sounds of different frequencies by different amounts. Most people have lost more high frequencies than low and therefore need more amplification in the high frequencies. The range of sounds you hear are split into frequency bands or channels and the hearing aids are set to provide the right amount of hearing at each frequency level.
Less than six channels and this cannot be done with much accuracy, so six is the magic number. However, a six channel aid is typically very basic with few other features and is suitable only for hearing a single speaker in a quiet room. The number of channels is not what you should be looking at, it's more the rest of the technology that comes with them.
As a final note, different manufacturers have different approaches. One method is not necessarily better than any other. For example some manufacturers have as many as 64 channels in their top aids. Most tend to have between 17 and 20. One manufacturer has no channels at all.
When we refer to a product as 'New', we mean that the product is new to the market.
When we refer to a product as 'Superseded', we mean that there is a newer range available which replaces and improves on this product.
When we refer to a product as an 'Older Model', we mean that it is has been superseded by at least two more recent hearing aid ranges.