Phonak introduces Marvel platform and Audéo M hearing aids

phonak

#848

Hi, Gary. Your comment about your piano-playing passion got me to thinking, “Why do we just think it’s the kids at rock concerts at risk. Symphonies are plenty loud and the musicians in the orchestra must get plenty of exposure.” So the following NIOSH link discusses amongst other things hearing loss to classical musicians.

https://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2015/07/07/musicians-hearing-loss/

And I see that piano tuners tend to suffer occupational hearing loss. Maybe you don’t spend as much time a day as a piano tuner with your ears close to the strings and hammers but perhaps in addition to worrying about the possibility for hurting your ears through streaming to your HA’s the music from playing a piano very loudly could be a possible source of some additional damage to your hearing?

In searching around to find out if classical musicians suffer hearing loss from exposure to the music they make, I found an interesting set of Audicus web pages on occupational exposure: Hearing Loss Causes by Occupation

But what was most interesting from that page was the link to entertainers that have suffered occupational hearing loss. Particularly striking was the description of Nimoy and Shatner who were exposed to a sudden unexpected explosion of a special effects device on a Star Trek set. Both suffered tinnitus as a result and Shatner’s was so bad that at one point in his life, he contemplated suicide because of it, the page reads.

Oh, and Bono, also a loss sufferer, is said to have derived his stage name from a hearing aid store in Dublin that had a sign that read “Bonavox Hearing Aids.”


#849

Sorry, I’ve been out for a few days, so catching up on this thread. Lots of good discussion. Sorry for the long post.

  1. New Phonak remote app update for Android: I’ve seen no improvement in the connection times. I just tested again and I’m at:
  • 5.8 seconds when opening the app that is already running
  • 7.3 seconds when the app is not running in the background already
  • 9.2 seconds when it’s a first time connection after enabling BT
  • 10 - 90 seconds if it’s the first time connecting for the day after charging
    It’s a pain when I’m trying to adjust something quickly on the down-low and I’m busy waiting and watching my phone while still trying to act like I’m paying attention in a meeting or conversation. My old Phonak’s had the Watch Pilot which was old school, but a quick button click without even looking at the watch swapped programs and volume. We really need a widget for Android for Volume and Program changes. I wouldn’t care if it took 5-10 seconds to make the change, as long as I could quickly submit the request and let the app make the connection and the adjustments when possible.
  1. Streaming volume: I noticed a lot of commentary on this and I’ve been making a lot of changes to this setting with my audiologist. By default, the Marvels lower the mic volume a few notches during streaming and phone calls. This was really disorienting since every time you get a notification or your phone makes any sound it switches the program to streaming in order to deliver it to your hearing aids. If you’re in the middle of a conversation you’ll have the other person drop out suddenly for a few seconds just so you can clearly hear that you got a message. I’ve changed mine so that there is no change and now when I’m in a quiet room having a conversation I get the perfect volume tone for the notice right in my ear without any drop. I’ve heavily customized my notifications so I can tell who or what is delivering the notification and whether or not it’s urgent. I love having my watch for notifications so I don’t need to get my phone out, but this is even better and the person I’m talking to doesn’t think I’m checking the time instead of paying attention to them. There are two problems with this setup though:
  • Notifications or any kind of streaming in noise loses the auto-sense and noise cancelling, so program switching can be painful. If I’m working out in the noisy shop, the Marvels will usually be doing a great job keeping the noise down and the speech up. But a notification causes a sudden program change and it brings in all of the noise around me, and sometimes the volume seems crazy high. By the time I get my finger on the volume rocker, the notification is gone and the program option has disappeared from my phone, so I can’t change the volume for streaming. In this situation I have to force it to streaming by playing some music, fixing up the settings and volume to my liking for the noisy environment, and then stopping the music so it will go back to notifications only and Autosense 3.0. It’s a pain, but it works once it’s done. Phonak really needs to have the Marvels recognize notifications vs. actual streaming so that it dumps you the notification while in Autosense and only switches to full-on streaming program when I’m playing music.
  • The other issue is trying to listen to music quietly. When I’m working and trying to concentrate, I’ll have some ambient music playing in the background, (better than the tinnitus masking). The lowest volume setting on the phone is still way too loud to be considered background music. To compensate, I have to adjust the Surrounding vs. Audio slider almost all the way to the left in order to get more range out of the volume control on the phone, (more mic input from the hearing aid, less audio from the phone). This gives me room to adjust the music volume really low, but now the mic volume is cranked! The final step to solve this is to lower the volume of the Marvel mics directly in the app a couple of notches. Once done, I’ve got a nice range of volume for music and I can still carry on a conversation if needed when someone walks into my office or if I’m paying for something at the store. It’s really great, but a pain to setup each time. There is also no way in the Target app to default these settings. I think Phonak was brilliant making the volume rocker on the Marvels control the Surrounding vs. Audio and then let the user control the media volume on the actual media device, but they really need allow more control over the settings and levels in the Target app or ideally in the Phonak Remote App and let the user save the changes as the default, and even better as a unique default for each streaming device, (but that’s another issue all together).

Overall I’m still loving the Marvels for sound quality, but I’m praying that the firmware changes that are coming will allow the multi-device pairing and will give a little more control with the app. There is so much potential with these devices, but the pairing limitations and the terrible remote app are almost a deal breaker. Last week I bought a pair of Bluetooth on-the-ear headphones from Amazon. Cheap!!! These $20 headphones have the ability to simultaneously pair with 2 devices. I’m getting music and notification from my cell phone, AND phone calls from my cell phone AND office phone. The headphones automatically prioritize things for me. I turn them on at home, and it connects to my cell phone and my laptop with no additional pairing. I have a $350 pair of Bose headphones that do the same, but $20 bucks! That’s the kind of stuff that makes me frustrated when it should be that awesome, but I’m stuck pairing and re-pairing and turning these things off over and over during the day, blowing out my fine-tuning settings in the remote-app and starting all over.

Here is a screen shot of the Surround vs. Audio slider in the app. I can watch it move dynamically when I press the volume rocker on the Marvels. To change the actual volume, you have to use the app up/down volume slider on the 2nd image.


#850

Definitely not just the kids and loud music! I just got back from seeing Kiss in Las Vegas on their big tour. It was awesome! And it was loud! I was able to use a trick I figured out with my last BTEs and picked up some small rubber vent plugs from my audiologist before I went out of town. I have the silicone custom molds from Phonak, so the vent plugs turn these into custom ear plugs. It’s fully occluded when I talk, but there isn’t much of that going on anyway once the show starts. It was so loud that I kept Marvel’s muted for most of the show, but it was nice to un-mute them when necessary. The rest of my group had splitting headaches and ringing ears the next day and I was fine, (relatively speaking). I’m really hoping I can figure something out for faster setting adjustments like I had with the Phonak Watch Pilot with these Marvels. I race motorcycles off-road and used plug the vent in my old hearing aids instead of wearing ear plugs. I could mute them or turn them way down while riding and then flip them back up when I came into the pits or needed to talk to someone. Taking the helmet off to talk or getting out my phone and firing up the remote app is not ideal.

P.S. [Rant on] I don’t mean any offense to the gray hair members on this forum, but it’s such a turn-off to me to be constantly marketed with pictures of senior citizens trying to hear their grand kids. I know that’s the largest demographic buying them today, but surely there are smart marketing people who know how to market without alienating the future client-base. It’s no wonder so many adults don’t want to wear these when the stigma is reinforced in that way. I wear mine proudly and make it a point to tell people I have them so they can speak-up and help me out a little, but many people are not that way. There are motorcycle racing, rock concert attending people that need this product. It’s getting better lately, but they have a long way to go. [Rant off]


#851

How do these look like?


#852

How did you measure these (exact) times?

Do you use these headphones in combination with your hearing aids, or instead of your hearing aids?


#853

This is great insight. As mentioned above, I am on Quattro’s, and excited to trial Marvels soon. However, the Quattro’s really have the advantage here for iPhone users. When I get a notification, it actually assumes what program I am in (all around or speech in noise, etc), and lowers it just slightly to hear the notification but I don’t lose how the environment sounds (ie, if in a restaurant with speech in noise, it still is speech in noise with the streaming). Also amazed at how quickly it connects for the app (sometimes less than a second), as well as initiating streaming - almost no lag. It seems you’re running Android and squared away there. Thanks again for the detailed post, it helps me understand what I may be giving up. Still looking forward to trialing Marvels!

Also - feel your pain on the marketing. I’m in my late 20s, totally ignore and often roll my eyes at HA marketing.


#854

You look to be in large vented domes (previously called large closed domes before the marvel stuff came out).

Looks like medium open dome on the left and medium (small?) power dome on the right.

Shatner went to Jastreboff for help.

Classical musicians are certainly at risk for job-related noise-induced hearing loss, and should be wearing hearing protection. They are also at risk for tinnitus and, perhaps worse for their job, diplocusis.
It can be tough to get an older musician into hearing protection because their music sounds different through hearing protection, but it is becoming more and more common with younger musicians who train their ear with hearing protection right from the beginning. For musicians using monitors, you also need an educated sound guy. First of all, two monitors should always be used, never one. Secondly, the mix going into the monitors should be the minimal amount of music required to cue the performer for their part. Monitors themselves can easily cause hearing loss if they are misused.


#855

Here are some pictures of the plugs I use when I’m around loud noise. They work great in these silicon Phonak molds. Your Audiologist should have a big box of these things. With these plugs in I can effectively wear ear plugs during an event and then mute/un-mute the mics as needed.




#856

I’m a nerd, so I used a stopwatch webpage and a spreadsheet and did it 10 times for each test and recorded the average.

For the headphones, I figured that the on-the-ear would work better since my Bose are over-the-ear and squeal when my hearing aids are in/on. They worked okay, but they had to blast past my ear molds and of course didn’t give me any hearing loss specific amplification. I’m still tweaking these molds and the pressure of the headphones on my right ear was uncomfortable after a while, but that will get better eventually. Of course the ideal solution is to have the sound come in through my hearing aids, but the pairing is still a bit of a hassle.


#857

Now I understand, thank you. My hearing is probably much worse than yours, so I won’t need it most likely.


#858

I was told that flutists tend to have worse hearing in their right ears. I guess I’m not a very good flutist because my ears are pretty much equally bad. I think it was all those years of many hours a day sitting in a lab with a bunch of vacuum pumps clacking away.


#859

I didn’t mean to take the Marvel thread off topic by debating with warneral the wisdom of turning up streaming volume (while turning down HA mic input, it turns out). Don has started a thread on OSHA noise levels that I think would be a great place to continue discussion of how to deal with hearing-threatening noise while wearing HA’s - and the first thing that came up in that thread is there is a serious difference between OSHA workplace permissible exposure limits (PEL) and NIOSH “safe” recommended exposure limits (REL).

I still think the best approach to too much outside noise while streaming, if it doesn’t seem dangerous, just annoying, would be just to turn down the HA mic volume (not turn up streaming volume) and if that doesn’t work, plug one’s vents in molds as gr8dane604 has suggested, wear ear muffs or ear plugs over the HA’s, or as Neville suggests, if it’s really bad, just remove the HA’s entirely and don proper ear protection - the max of which is foam ear plugs combined with ear muffs - but I read somewhere that custom-made foam molds work best as ear plugs because of the irregular shapes in ear canals - I wonder how the foam “impressions” that are used to make molds would work?!)

Anyway, I suggest further remarks about combating noise go to Don’s OSHA limits thread or if there is a better, older thread, that thread could be revived to allow the Marvel thread to be more about what a great choice Marvels are as a very premium HA.


#860

but I read somewhere that custom-made foam molds work best as ear plugs because of the irregular shapes in ear canals - I wonder how the foam “impressions” that are used to make molds would work?!)

I am a competitive pistol shooter. I had custom molded earplugs made by a specialty lab that was present at a competition. I wear those with ear muffs over them. Not easy to converse but ears are fully protected. Unfortunately while on active duty with the Army in my youth, I did not adequately protect my ears, especially my right ear and I’m relatively certain that is the primary reason for my hearing loss.


#861

Great idea! I had thought about molds as potential earplugs but know that most of them are vented to some extent and didn’t know how that would work out. So plugging them is a great idea.

As I previously mentioned, though, for all the expense and technology, HA OEM’s, etc., could just as well rate the noise-attenuating potential of a dome or a mold if properly fitted and used. Just like a foam ear plug, it might not work as well as advertised and live up to its potential but at least if you knew the maximum potential, you know that you’re not going to get any better than that. Say at a Kiss concert then, you pull out your phone and it has a reliable sound meter app on it. The concert is 130 dBA average. Your molds or domes (even when plugged) are only officially rated by your HA OEM for 20 dBA avg reduction. So you know at best you’re still going to be getting 110 dBA exposure for x hours - and maybe if you use the NIOSH REL standard, you know you’re going to be suffering some hearing loss anyway. (Hearing loss is slowly cumulative and not reversible, as we all know, when you supposedly exceed the recommended limits and probably still happens to a lesser extent when you’re below the exposure limits, anyway. It just a matter of how your “bank” balance is going to grow over your lifetime. Higher exposure, you earn a higher “interest” rate and you get a bigger “payoff” in the end).

So I’d rather go with ear protection that’s officially rated and I’d be happy to rely in part on my HA equipment, the more so if it could be officially rated but perhaps HA OEM’s and providers don’t want to go there for liability issues, etc.

P.S. I would say the advantage of my noise-canceling over-the-ear MS Surface headphones versus plugging mold vents is that I can with two independent earcup dials dial up the exact amount of noise cancellation that I want and independently dial up the streaming volume - one is not coupled to the other. I can also switch to amplified environmental listening at the extreme noise cancelling limit - that’s not terribly good - Microsoft should improve the environmental listening. But it’s a lot of control along with very good CERTIFIED hearing protection. There is the bulkiness factor but then 1/2 the folks at Gold’s Gym seem to be wearing Apple AirPods (or whatever they’re called) or Beats Headphones. So if one could capture the Apple coolness factor in the right device, maybe everyone at a rock concert wouldn’t mind being seen wearing a device that certifies that they have Apple-like coolness but also certified hearing protection tuned to the level of the concert that they want to enjoy - and no ear pain, ringing, down payment on a hearing loss the next day.

Edit_Update: Discovered, though, that headphones are TERRIBLE to wear while running. Haven’t run in a long time due to a series of minor operations (cataract, gum graft surgery, etc) and took to stair-climbing and walking on treadmill on 7% incline @ 3.5 mph since then. Today went back to running and HA’s alone would definitely be better for that - headphones vibrate terribly and possibly add bad noise levels even when trying to run as smoothly and quietly as possible. Perhaps lighter weight gun muffs would be a suitable substitute just for blocking noise with streaming direct to HA’s or I’ll go with gr8dane604’s suggestion of getting molds & blocking vents.


#862

Hello everyone is a new user and I write from Italy; a few days ago I’m trying phonak marvel m90 r black color (I use glasses with black temples and so 'you notice less) on my left ear; I actually need a bi cros device because my right ear is very weak and even the left has some problems; I could buy the model audeo b r with the cros bicros b r, but I would like to use the marvel; when you think that the marvel will become compatible with the bicros b r version; will it be possible to make a firmware on actual marvel or will I have to buy another marvel model??? if not i prefer to use only on my left ear or you suggest to try also a marvel on the right side?

thanks for the help and sorry for my spelling


#863

A question for those of you demoing or wearing the rechargeable Marvels:

I have not worn rechargeable hearing aids before, and am hesitant to try the rechargeable Marvels (had my audi put in an order for Marvel M-13T, to demo), for one reason. What happens when you run out of juice for whatever reason and you don’t have a charger on hand? I can’t really hear without my HAs so I feel like I would be pretty screwed in this situation, whereas with batteries I could just pop in a fresh one and continue on my way.

I understand such a scenario is not likely to happen often with nightly charging and portable charging cases, but what if I forget to bring it with me on a travel trip, or go camping and accidentally leave it at home, or the built-in-battery runs out while I’m far from home?


#864

That is exactly why some people, surely when they’ve got similar hearing losses, are hesitant to get rechargeable hearing aids, unless you’re sure that you have some spare chargers everywhere.

Fyi, I am interested in Marvel with a telecoil and battery (not out yet)


#865

I wear the rechargeable Marvel M90R aids. They are supposed to last up to 24 hours. I typically wear them 13-16 hours each day. My audiologist included in my package two of the larger Omni Charges, one Clamshell charger and the battery pack. The battery pack can be put onto the bottom of the Omni Charger and will provide 7 additional full charges without having to use a charging cable, so this would be the option for camping, etc. where you don’t have power available. Obviously if you forget to take a charger with you on a trip or while away from home overnight, you will most likely run out of battery. In my case, I take multiple chargers with me every time I travel (phone, watch, laptop computer, etc.) so one more small charger is no big deal for me. Also, my hearing is not incapacitating without aids but if you are concerned then the disposable battery option is a better choice for you.


#866

My trial M90Rs have died before I made it to bed for the last 3 days in a row, which is also why I have the M-13T’s on order. Even if I could go a full day consistently, I like hauling batteries more than I like hauling a charger when I travel. I know the chargers aren’t heavy, but I don’t want to haul anything extra on a backpacking trip. Early into my Marvel trial I had the right hearing aid die 3 days in a row at around 1:00pm. It would not respond to any button presses, no lights, nothing. I’d take it home after work, drop it in the charger for 5 mins and it would fix itself and show at 95% charged. Stuff like that would drive me crazy compared to just being able to pull the battery cover. My AuD reset the right Marvel and it hasn’t had the issue since thank goodness.


#867

Moreover, you’ll be able to find regular batteries at many shops, whereas phonak chargers are (obviously) not available everywhere.