WOW!!! I just returned from my aud-guy, pursuant to his having me try out the Phonak Audeo B-Direct BTE aids (or RIE, if you will). Could this be the FIRST TIME in my 30+ years of of new aid fittings that I have a “WOW!” factor going on?!?! I am cautiously WOWED with these aids. Here’s my quick take, just 3 hours into wearing them:
- COMFORT: Right off the bat, the receivers fit more comfortably in my ear canal. The Phonak (L) power dome is significantly smaller and more conical-shaped than the giant, onion-domed Widex (L) power domes I’ve been squishing into my ear canals for 9 mos now. Comfort is KING. My aud-guy said that both Phonak and Widex have a slightly curved receiver “matchstick”, so it tends to go in the ear canal with less pushing against the walls in there. So far, so VERY good!
- SOUND: After literally a two-minute adjustment to boost the higher freqs a bit and set the default volume 6dB higher, I am GOOD to GO! The sound quality seems instantly richer, fuller and with more bass & mid-range than my Oticon Opn aids. I did find I needed a bit more on the high end to get the crispness of speech, but I will also test these out with music tonight. NO prob with speech discrimination, as the Phonaks seem to eliminate the irritating, ambient PINK noise that my Oticons delivered non-stop.
- BATTERY: Yes, this is also a HUGE factor. These Audeo B’s take a size 13. That means I should enjoy a good 10 days of wear before changing the batteries. By contrast, the Oticon Opn miniRITE took 312, which necessitated a change every 5 days MAX, given my TV streaming use.
- EASE OF USE: I like that I can answer a phone or reject a call with just a press on my control button. I just rejected a crank caller from the Wash DC area - s’there! >:-)
PHONE STREAMER: This may not be a deal-killer, but as others have posted here: the Phonak Audeo B-Direct streams to ONE EAR ONLY! And here, my aud-guy & I collectively slapped our foreheads! What gives? Completely sub-optimal. The set-up program asked for “the good ear” and allows one to pick either LEFT or RIGHT ear to stream the phone - NOT BOTH. It appears that the aids are able to send radio freqs to communicate between R & L (for volume and program cycles), but NOT audio freqs. Do you suppose a gremlin rules the development lab at Phonak and is tasked with finding some critical feature that will NOT be built in? I can almost hear the creature cackling with GLEE: “Heh-heh! That should be FUN for the folks to struggle on the phone with single-ear streaming!” AUGH.
STILL TO TRY OUT
TV Streamer: My aud-guy didn’t have the TV box on-hand today, so that will be my next trial in a week when I pick that up and set it up at home. The user manual shows that the TV streamer does NOT require a clip-on streamer of any kind: audio will stream directly into … ONE ear? BOTH ears? I won’t know till I try it out.
Despite the comically A$$backwards thinking of having a phone stream to ONE ear, I am very impressed with these aids after just a few hours use. The sound quality is POWERFUL with my size 90 receiver. I tried out the phone streaming with my Samsung, and it works A-OK, altho I will have to adapt to the challenge of listening with one so-called GOOD ear (as if I had any good ears - isn’t that why I’m wearing AIDS?)
My aud-guy was in such disbelief about the one-eared phone streaming that he says he’ll call Phonak Tech Support to ask, “Seriously?” and see if there is a suggested work-around.
I was beyond amazed when my aud-guy said if the Phonaks work out for me, he’ll take the 9-mo old Oticons and simply hand them over to his sales rep. He said, “The guy OWES me, he will make this work for me - don’t worry about a thing. This will be an even trade.” This is why I’ve gone to my aud-guy for over 10 years now. Very very grateful for all he’s done and the time and customer orientation here.