Phonak Audeo Direct

Looks like Phonak are starting to slowly release details of their new aids that will directly stream to either Android or Apple iOS:

The video doesn’t say very much, but I did see a video earlier today, which they subsequently removed from Youtube, claiming direct connectivity to all cellphones, and wireless transmission to TV.

Thank you so much for the information!!!

Does anybody Know anything more about it? It sounds great!!!

This is a big step from phonak

All cellphones just isn’t in the cards. Android exacerbates that with many vendors never updating from earlier versions.

The phone will need a wifi/bt chip that can support the BT 5 LE release and with that a driver that supports it. Because Android is configurable by the manufacturers, there is no way to say whose new phone works or if they will support it in older devices.

As an example of the greed/differentiation, Samsung TV with BT will not work with the extra device we buy with our aids to use android. They connect to regular BT but won’t work with their proprietary BT.

I think that is why they pulled the video.

You are probably right Ken. This is a dubious claim.

Phonak are late to the party anyway.

Oticon OPN looks like a more attractive proposition at this point, but Phonak’s custom range is strong.

Waiting for the next breakthrough in hearing in noise (Sigh…).

Phonak are late to the party because they are trying to do the impossible and allow all mobile phones to directly connect to the HAs. Unless they build in lots of overlapping systems and capabilities they aren’t going to achieve this and are just bogging themselves down. Eventually (10-20 years?) all surviving mobiles will have a standard Bluetooth compatible with HAs and Phonak could do this easily then but by then it will be way too late!

Do not always look on the BLE, technology will always improving.

Phonakpro blog:
We at Phonak understand the importance of connectivity and are listening to your needs and the needs of your clients too! These solutions are being worked on, and novel approaches are being explored. Most importantly we want to ensure that the benefits of Bluetooth are accessible for everyone regardless of the brand of cell phone. So keep an eye out for these technologies. Hearing is an important part of everyone’s life, and anything that can help make hearing easier and clearer is something to be desired.

Meanwhile patients who do not want to use an intermediary device are excluded from connectivity by Phonak. Their stubborn policy will see me purchase a different brand next time I buy aids because Phonak will not meet my needs. Waiting until market share reduces to learn the lesson will be too late for Phonak.

Not long ago I linked to a interview with the main Bluetooth SIG guy where he said that they expected new ble audio profiles next year, but that ble for hearing aids was top of the priority list. To my uneducated mind this might mean universal connectivity between hearing aids and other devices within six months. Double that if you like but it’s still better than 10-20 years. Apple seem very keen to lock people into their eco-system before this happens. Personally they’d have to drag me in kicking and screaming.

  1. I don’t think anyone else would have bothered if Apple did not do it first.

  2. Every hearing impaired person getting a new phone within 6-12 months is exceedingly optimistic. Phonak are wanting backwards compatibility. So when all those old phones wear out they will get what they want.

Phonak has booked a big launch date around the first week in Sept, this could be what we’re going to be looking at. The march towards iOS controlled devices seems fairly inevitable at this point.

Nothing from the fanboy POV, but the stability, integration and accessibility of a ‘fixed’ iOS and hardware using the BLE protocol is going to make a huge difference to the product cycle drivers towards iOS. It’s going to become the default standard as Mr Jobs mantra of keeping both ends of the mechanism under his hat is likely to appeal to the HA manufacturers who like their programming to be out of sight of unlicensed developers.

I know this is the direction things are moving, but after a brief trial of my Smart Connect (Rexton version of EasyTek) I don’t quite get why the intermediate device is such a big deal. It seems like it has two big advantages: 1) It provides a way to do truly hands free phone calls that direct streaming to hearing aids doesn’t and 2)It provides a lot more battery capacity. Actually a pretty big third advantage. This stuff eventually breaks. If you use an intermediate device, you just send it back. If it’s all in the hearing aids, they have to go back for bluetooth issues and more traditional hearing aid problems. I know this ship has sailed, but seems like developing really solid intermediate devices would be a big plus. Because of what seems like an obsession with direct streaming, that will never happen.

I think it falls down on having ‘another link in the chain’ that you have to re-charge is seen by many consumers as an unnecessary complication. I don’t disagree though, having stuff like this built into ‘intelligent’ clothing would make the final devices much smaller, but it doesn’t seem the way the market is headed.

  1. I think it was more that while everyone else was involved in the inevitable long process of negotiation that comes with setting standards, Apple- coming with its own gravity- were big enough to just do it.

  2. Bluetooth 5 brings bandwidth and range benefits. It may be that a Bluetooth 5 solution is better than what Apple can offer now. If so, Apple may have to adapt or adopt. That would mean a new phone to go with your new hearing aids whichever platform you choose.

I’m a long term Phonak user who is currently testing the GN Resound Linx3D hearing aids with direct to iPhone integration. I will say that the direct iPhone integration is a game changer and I will probably buy these hearing aids because Phonak is late to the market. It’s hard to describe the difference between direct to iPhone vs. using an intermediate device until you have tried it for a few weeks. The Compilot was a nuisance. It was just something else to charge and carry around. I was always fumbling to put it on and connect it whenever a call came in. Now, the iPhone just rings right to my ears. It’s always available and it’s fast and reliable for phone calls, music and video. And btw…its not just being able to transmit to the hearing aids. It’s the deep iOS integration (i.e. The integration is built right into iOS’s Accessibility system) and an app that is fast and full of features to allow you to tweak and customize programs.

Jordan

There’s a client at one of my branches who identifies himself as iGrandfather - he’s a senior Proff at a local University. He’s just done the comparison between the Apps at my request and has ordered the Lynx 3D - we’re fitting them next Thursday. This is a bit of a paradigm shift as the product is now being judged more on the App SW than the intangible claims within the hardware.

The Linx3D app is very well thought out and it is the first app that I am aware of that lets you make your own changes (in a simplified way) and then save these changes as a new program. The thing to point out is that the app is fast and the hearing aids respond to any change in the app instantly. So yes…I agree that it’s the whole software and iOS integration platform that differentiates the product. Plus…like anything from Apple, it just works.

Jordan

Phonak’s product launches will become this month。

Yes, very probably which is why we’ll see the regional roll-outs at the beginning of September - Logistically it makes more sense, it’s not just dropping a flag and everybody starts to dance - they actually have to get bodies around the World to explain what is going on and perhaps give a bit of training too?

Actually Apple are heavily involved in setting those Bluetooth standards for hearing aids. They have been instrumental in driving this. If you search up there was a whole thread about it. They are also early adopters of new technology not followers. I don’t think anything would have changed with HA connectivity if it were not for their efforts. All those clunky old around the neck solutions would be going on with only minor incremental changes and no one would have bothered to connect directly to any phone.