Phonak to launch Belong platform and lithium-ion hearing aid

Media Release

Phonak to launch next generation platform including the first mainstream lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid

Stäfa (Switzerland), 27 June 2016 – Sonova Holding AG, the world’s leading provider of hearing solutions, today announces that its Phonak brand will launch the next generation hearing aid product platform Belong, which includes pioneering lithium-ion rechargeable battery technology in hearing aids. Built on the superior Palio 3 technology and specially designed to simplify consumers’ lives, the new Audéo B Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) products and the first of its kind lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aid, Audéo B-R, will be released to the US market in August with Europe to follow in September 2016.

Highlights

• Phonak to launch next generation hearing aid platform Belong with the new Audéo B RIC products less than 24 months after successful introduction of Phonak Venture platform
• New platform includes Audéo B-R the first ever hearing aid to feature a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery providing 24 hours* of hearing
• Audéo B-R represents the quickest charging, longest lasting rechargeable hearing aid ever produced
• AutoSense OS: the cutting edge industry only system further enhanced for unmatched hearing performance

Commenting on the launch, Lukas Braunschweiler, CEO of Sonova said: “Less than two years after the successful introduction of the Venture product platform, Phonak once again proves its unwavering commitment to pioneer life-changing innovative hearing solutions. The quickest charging, longest lasting rechargeable hearing aid ever produced will be a game-changer in ease-of-use for our industry. It is further evidence of our technology leadership and our promise to empower consumers to live a life without limitations. I am convinced that this groundbreaking new product will further support the longterm, sustainable growth of Sonova.”

Research[1] revealed that rechargeable hearing aids and rechargeable batteries are top of the list of features that hearing aid users are seeking. In response to this insight and based on years of research, development and intensive testing, Phonak Audéo B-R opens a new era to those affected by hearing loss. Today, lithium-ion is the fastest growing and most promising battery technology that offers 40% more power than conventional rechargeable batteries. This makes Phonak Audéo B-R the quickest charging, longest lasting rechargeable hearing aid ever produced. The new pioneering solution is another result of Phonak’s unwavering commitment to change people’s lives for the better.

Audéo B-R – 24 hours* of hearing with one simple charge - Smart charging options offer flexibility

The Phonak rechargeable hearing aid is the first ever hearing aid to feature a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, providing 24 hours* of hearing with a simple charge of just 3 hours. The 30 minute fast-charging option gives 6 hours of immediate use. Additionally, lithium-ion batteries last through the lifetime of a hearing aid, even after years of repeated charging. This combined with the fact that the battery compartment is sealed, frees customers from the cumbersome task of regularly changing their batteries. The new technology is also environmentally friendly with users typically going through around a 100 batteries per year and hearing aid.

Ideal for those constantly on the move, Phonak rechargeable hearing aids also come with smart charging options. The power pack, which is easily attached to the Phonak Charger Case, provides power for seven full charges of two hearing aids, ideal for short trips where no power source is available. In addition, Phonak offers a compact mini charger giving users full flexibility.

AutoSense OS – unmatched industry leading hearing performance[2]

Audéo B runs on AutoSense OS, the cutting edge industry only and leading operating system from Phonak, which has been further enhanced with features such as adaptive SoundRecover2 to offer even better hearing performance in every day listening situations. Its fully automatic operation gives customers an effortless hearing experience without having to press buttons or switch between listening programs, proven to deliver 20% better speech understanding[3] in general and 60% improvement in speech understanding when in a noisy environment thanks to the highly-sophisticated automatic selection. Whether dining with friends in a noisy restaurant, driving a car or listening to music, AutoSense OS does what no other system can. It captures and analyzes incoming sounds in real-time, and then draws upon multiple features blending them to create over 200 distinct settings to match the sound environment.

Phonak Belong – new product platform ready to drive the next technological breakthrough

Less than two years after the launch of the successful Venture product platform, Phonak is ready to launch the next product platform built on the flexible Palio 3 technology. The next-generation Receiver-in-Canal (RIC) hearing aid Audéo B is the first product family based on the new Phonak Belong product platform, which features a host of innovative technologies that have been created specifically to simplify the life of people with hearing loss. The new Audéo B premium hearing aids come in a new design and will be available in 4 performance levels and 9 colors. All models are IP 68 rated, meaning that they are dust tight and protected against water. With Belong, Phonak is once again helping consumers with hearing loss live better lives.

[1] Marketrak 2015, asked of non-owners only (n=2099) - multiple responses allowed
[2] Field Study News under development, Oct 2016 (anticipated availability). Comparing objective and subjective outcomes of Automatic Classification Systems Across Manufacturers
[3] Überlacker, Tchorz, and Latzel, 2014, Automatic classification of acoustic situation versus manual selection, University of Applied sciences Lübeck and Phonak AG, Hörakustik January 2015 edition

  • Expected results when fully charged, and up to 80 minutes wireless streaming time.

About Sonova

Sonova, headquartered in Stäfa, Switzerland, is the leading manufacturer of innovative hearing care solutions. The Group operates through its core business brands Phonak, Unitron, Advanced Bionics and Connect Hearing. Sonova offers its customers one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in the industry – from hearing instruments to cochlear implants to wireless communication solutions. Founded in 1947, the Group is currently present in over 90 countries across the globe and has a workforce of over 10,000 dedicated employees. Sonova generated sales of CHF 2.07 billion in the financial year 2015/16 and a net profit of CHF 346 million. Across all businesses, and by supporting the Hear the World Foundation, Sonova pursues its vision of a world where everyone enjoys the delight of hearing and therefore lives a life without limitations.

Website:
https://rechargeable.phonak.com/

Investor Presentation:

Audéo B Brochure:

Audéo B Product Information:

Phonak is not a pioneer - there are many rechargeable hearing aids from other manufacturers (Siemens and other), even in a Russia - http://www.istok-audio.com/special/production/?SECTION_ID=724&ELEMENT_ID=6157 (in Russian). Phonak lost any new ideas?

60% improvement in speech intelligibility in a noisy environment. This is a phenomenal claim. Can that be substantiated? If this is true, shouldn’t they be shouting this from the rooftops, rather than hiding it in the briefing.

A 6dB signal to noise ratio improvement would potentially give a 60% increase in the articulation index - just a suggestion here, but that looks like a proper beam-formed array across both aids doing their thing simultaneously. I wonder if this announcement is an attempt to put a dink in the Opn retail bubble as it seems to be getting real traction and good reviews.

“Research[1] revealed that rechargeable hearing aids and rechargeable batteries are top of the list of features that hearing aid users are seeking”

…really?

They have lost the plot if they think that rechargable batteries are what we want. I could not think of a worse feature than not being able to switch back to non rechargable if they ran out of battery at a crucial time. I work 24 hour shifts so that would be possible. Also when the rechargable battery wears out they are insisting you buy new HAs as it is not readily replaceable - hence battery lasting the “life of the HAs” claim. Just another way to force you to buy new HAs every 3 years.

And where is the direct connection to iPhones/all Bluetooth mobiles - that is what we all really want! I think they should stop surveying people who don’t wear HAs and start listening to a broader range of those who do! People who have not worn HAs don’t usually know enough yet to know what they want or need. I thought I wanted rechargable before I did a bit of reading and realized they would not suit me at all.

I think the 60% quoted is maybe not a 60% improvement per se, it could be just 60% improvement demonstrated by the Autosense OS over wearers who select the program manually.

The marketing blurb doesn’t make it clear. Guess we’ll know in October, when they release the full product literature.

When one brand makes a claim the other makes the same claim or beats it. You never know if or what to believe from any of them. When they make these 60% improvement claims it has to be for that ideal client that doesn’t exist – except on paper.

Absolutely agree. I am torn between being cynical and hopeful. It does look like speech in noise is a battleground, and the hope is that they can spur each other on. But for me as a simple consumer, there appears to be a lack of bench marking that demonstrates real efficacy in noisy environments, so the only scraps we get are on here, or from some of these internal manufacturer “studies”, where they release very selective and often nebulous data.

Have more respect, stop insulting people or Fuck Off!

That is exactly what footnote 3 says. Of more interest to most might be how Autosense performs vs the previous Phonak Venture firmware and compared to Siemens and Starkey latest offerings.

Yes. Thanks. And compared with the Oticon OPN. They seemed to have really stolen the march on Phonak there.

Hi everybody:

Have we hot any news?. I have just read this document:

and seems the only news are the rechargable battery and the new AutosenseOS. Can we really expect any improvement in terms of better hearing comprenhension or better speech and word recognition?.

May be it is only a slight improvement compare with the Audeo Venture platform? What do you think?

Sorry for my English (is not my mother language) and thanks a lot in advance.

Hi Junkyard,

To answer the question - I think it is reasonable to expect some improvement from the new line (belong platform), over and above that of the Venture line. But whether that is good enough, I’m guessing will depend on what your expectations are, your loss, and what your starting point is. The manufacturers bring out new premium hearing aids around every 3 years. Sometimes the improvements seem to be marginal. Sometimes one release is a big paradigm shift i.e. a big improvement like the Siemens Binax or Oticon OPN - from all accounts. I tend to stick with Phonak, because it is what I know, and can say that over a 10 year period, there have been big improvements, but still room for improvement - especially in situations like echo, and noise.

I don’t think we’ve got to a point yet where we can say one aid is delivering normal hearing levels in all situations.

Graham

1 Like

Thank you very much Glucas for your kind answer. Soon we will have some feedback from users: in August Phonak release Belong plataform in USA and in Europe in September.

It seems Phonak has to make a move as the OPN plataform has a very good improvements

I asked my audi this morning, but it seems some countries get the aids later then others. And Belgium is one of them :frowning:

So, she ordered a pair of Audeo V90 to trial out. They will be fitted next week.

And from what I have read in this article about the Audeo B-R (http://www.ziphearing.com/blog/phonak-audeo-b-audeo-b-r-hearing-aids/) the lithium-ion battery has a lifetime of 4 years. I should certainly prefer the aids with normal batteries.

I guess I missed your suggestion so how about you kiss my ass… asshole

Well I guess the tough guy aint been back since he posted this…

There will be two kind of Phonak Belongs: with recargable baatteries and with regular batteries

Has anybody tried the new Phonak belong hearing aids? Yesterday was the world presentation in Amsterdam (Nederlands).

Any reviews or opinions?.

Presentation? But does this means they are available now of is this only for in the coming months?

I mailed Phonak Belgium Thursday to ask when the Belongs will be launched in our country. I am awaiting their response.

May I expect that the Audeo’s will cost a bit less if the Belongs are available?