Phonak Ambra vs Solana

I have an appointment with a new audiologist next month and wanted to know if the Ambra was worth the extra money compared to the Solana. I’ve been wearing a hearing aid for the past 6 years (I should have been wearing one for the past 12 years) and I’m 34. My first ha was an analog Oticon ITE but it finally kicked the bucket in January so now I’m wearing an el cheapo digital Siemens BTE. I need two hearing aids but have only ever been able to afford one. Next month I will be able to afford two new ones. I don’t have my audiogram and won’t get one until I see my new audiologist so I will tell you what I know. I have a cookie bite loss that ranges from moderate to severe. I am really missing my ITE aid, although it wasn’t the best it did a decent job of helping me hear and was comfortable. Switching from analog to digital and from ITE to BTE all at once has just about frustrated me to death. I understand that Phonak makes CIC and ITE aids for these models? Does anybody have a cic or ite of these models and can give me some feedback on their experience? I have been browsing this forum since February and have found a plethora of info and just want to say thanks! Reading posts about these models makes my head spin with all the different settings and now they have remotes-omg!

Hi Candace

I have the Ambra’s BTE SP, full shell molds and no vents! Anyway, yesterday I decided to try the semi-linear feature to see if I could improve sound quality slightly? They do sound better now:D The Ambra’s can be set to; Linear, Semi-Linear or Non Linear, the Linear sound quality is superb, but everything seems a little loud to me, so I went for the semi setting… I think this setting is used for folk who may be struggling when making the transition from analog to digital?

Cheers Kev:D

My short-and-sweet answer is to buy the best technology you can comfortably afford. The Ambras are excellent hearing aids and the StereoZoom is really great for my patients who have them. I have VERY few issues with patients who are in Ambras regarding sound quality and performance. Given your age, and you assumed (I know that can be dangerous but…) activity level, in the long run, if you can swing the better tech then go for it.

Kev, what the default setting…non-linear?

Does anybody know if Solana can be set to Linear, Semi-Linear or Non Linear? I’m really leaning towards the Solana because I got quoted that the Ambra’s are $600 more per aid than the Solana’s. If I can swing the extra $1200 I will, but ouch! And regarding my activity level, I am very active and have two young children and ever since I got my BTE (I have open fit) it has been limiting me. I can’t jump on the trampoline with the kids, I can’t do yoga or aerobics cause it falls off when I bend over or I’m jumping around and that’s my whole reason for wanting an ITE or CIC. Is the stereo zoom the major difference between the Ambra’s and the Solana’s or are there other major differences?

I have Solana MicroP’s BTE-
for Signal Processing Strategy: linear or non-linear
for Compression: linear, semi-linear, or prescribed

How active can you be with those MicroP’s BTE partos? Can you bend your head over without them falling out or coming off your ear?

Hi CryMeARiver, yes I believe the default setting is non-linear!

Cheers Kev

Hi. I’m trying out two Solana hearing aids. My understanding is that the difference between them and the Ambra is that the Solana does not have the stereo zoom you are talking about. My trial period is up in early August – I don’t know If I want to fork out another $1700 to upgrade to the Ambra’s. My Solonas are supposed to have a zoom feature that can be set to one area, but my audiologist says that it is nothing like the Ambra zoom. Where can I find out more about this? I just switched from wearing one hearing aid in my worst ear to Solana’s in each ear and it is soooo much beter. I just wonder If the Ambras would really be a deal breaker for me. The Solana zoom doesn’t seem to work all that well for me.

Well, I’m 74, so not so active, but have had no problems with loose aids. I do have custom molds, however.

I would recommend staying with the ITE since that is a size you are already comfortable with. You should also feel comfortable with the price of your investment. Here are some differences between the Solana and Ambra:

  • 16 channel vs. 20 channel
  • Ambra has 4 programs that it can access in it’s Soundflow automatic program (Solana has 3)
  • Ambra’s stereozoom has a more narrow focus which gives the best speech intelligibility in noisy places
  • Ambra has duophone (holding the phone to one aid and the sound gets transmitted over to the other aid. It’s like listening to the phone in stereo!)
  • both have zoomcontrol but Ambra does it automatically (honestly not much of my patients like to use this feature although it is awesome in my opinion!)

If I were in your shoes, I would spend the extra money to get the best.