Praise for Phonak Paradise (and Marvel)

Many years ago I got my first pair of hearing aids, Phonak V90. I think they were in the Audeo series, RIC style, using size 10 batteries. I wore them somewhat intermittently during the years I had them, and they worked fine until I accidentally wore them into the shower just at the start of the pandemic.

Finally I made a return appointment to my hearing aid center, and decided to try out rechargeable Marvels. I didn’t really consider other brands very seriously, since none seemed to offer the seamless Android Bluetooth support the Marvels promised. The day after I placed my order, Phonak announced the Paradise series, and so when I picked up the Marvels for my trial, the HA center went ahead and placed an order for Paradise P90s so I could swap them at my first HA check 3 weeks later.

The net result is that I trialed Marvels for about 3 weeks, and then switched to Paradise that I’ve used for about 5-6 weeks now. Both are rechargeable, without telecoil.

I’ll keep this brief, but I thought the Marvels were great, and the Paradise add a few useful features that make them even better. Bluetooth is wonderful, and a feature I can’t imagine living without now. It works and sounds much better than the Compilot Air thing I used with the old V90s. I had no trouble pairing with my Android Pixel phone. I mostly stream podcasts (speech), but sometimes music, and both sound pretty good. I’ve also had very good luck using it as a phone headset; callers say my voice comes through clearly. I’ve not yet tried pairing them to a second device, but apparently that’s something that works better with Paradise than Marvel.

I didn’t use the Marvels enough to really notice much difference in sound quality compared to the Paradise HAs. So I can’t claim sound quality is a solid reason to upgrade. But I do like the Paradise motion sensor feature that lets me start/stop Bluetooth programming by double-tapping my ear. It’s a life saver when my phone’s in my pocket streaming a podcast, and my wife asks me a question and I need to quickly pause the audio. I’m sure it looks bizarre to anyone watching, but works well for me, even when wearing glasses. The only glasses-related issue I’ve found is that sometimes if I bump or jiggle my glasses, I think the sensor detects a double-tap and pauses whatever I’m listening to. I guess another issue is that sometimes I’ll be listening to audio the traditional way, e.g. not streaming, and start repeatedly tapping my ear to try to make it stop. Someday I’ll learn…

I’m also a big fan of rechargeable aids now. It’s great never having to worry about changing the battery, and so far I haven’t had any problems with low batteries or the charger not charging them. The only issue I have is that once in a while, for no apparent reason, the right HA will use an unusually large percentage of its charge. Most nights they’re both around 50-60% when I put them on the charger, often with the right HA 3-5% lower than the left. But a few times, the right HA has been in the 8-15% range while the left HA is at 50+%. I’m hoping Phonak will release a firmware update to fix this issue, but who knows. So far it’s a little worrisome, but hasn’t actually caused any problems.

That’s all. Mostly I guess I’m just really excited about having an always-on Bluetooth headset.

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I am glad you are getting good service from your aids. I think the thing with the right aid using more power than the left is normal. When you connect to your phone with Bluetooth, it is the right aid that actually connects. It then sends the audio over to the left aid. So, it is doing more than the left aid. I believe which aid connects can be changed in the software, but I can’t think of a good reason why you would want to change it. Unless maybe you only have a left aid. Happens sometimes. I usually get a low battery alarm in my Marvels in the right aid first. If I ever get another set, I think I will go for the rechargeables. I don’t get very good battery life even though mine use the size 13 battery.

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I suspect that explains why the right HA’s battery is typically a few percent lower than the left, but I don’t think it explains the instances when it’s dramatically lower.

I use Bluetooth every day, some days more than others. But the days when I saw the big battery differences were not days when I used an unusual amount of Bluetooth, and furthermore the difference isn’t a continuum from small to large like you’d expect with various amounts of Bluetooth: most days the difference in battery is around 5%, even on days when I’ve spent hours listening to podcasts and on the phone, but once in a while the difference is 30% or more. Nothing in between, and the big differences don’t correspond to days with unusually large Bluetooth usage.

I took a screenshot of the Phonak app the last time this happened (last Tuesday, a no-more-than-normal-Bluetooth day), and it shows the left HA at 47% battery, and the right HA at 16%. Today I had maybe 90 minutes of Bluetooth usage including one phone call, and the HAs are at 55% and 53%, respectively, which is much more typical. I might add that after this happened the first time, I suspected maybe I hadn’t properly charged the right HA, so now I always check that the battery indicators are green in the morning.

My theory is that there’s some unexpected situation arising (like maybe a weak Bluetooth signal from something else that it repeatedly tries to connect with?) that causes pathological power usage, and I’m hopeful a firmware fix could avoid that situation.

I’m going to a follow-up with my HA provider tomorrow, so I’ll be discussing this. If I learn anything relevant I’ll post it.

Why don’t you get your audiologist clinic to swap the BT set up, as in make the left HA the master and the right the slave, this would show what’s going on and why.

Based on your description, that would be my assumption as well.

Or you have one faulty HA.
In my short trials of rechargeable marvels and paradises (around 2 weeks each) I didn’t notice such big disparity, but I wasn’t religiously checking every night at the end of the day.

And also, can’t recall that someone else mentioned such big difference either. So, faulty HA could be an explanation.

I have to agree. You might have a weak battery in your right aid. I think you are doing the right thing by having your provider check it out.

Quick update: I spoke with my audiologist. She called Phonak, who agreed this isn’t normal and the HAs ought to be serviced. They apparently said that up to 20% difference between sides is considered normal, but not the 30%+ that I’m seeing.

But when reviewing my screenshots showing the battery issue, I realized that the first time it happened was with my previous trial of Marvels. So now I’m skeptical the problem is a defective HA. The screenshot also reminded me of another difference between Marvel and Paradise: the Marvels seemed to have slightly better battery life, typically ending the day at 60% charge compared to the 50% I see now.

We reconfigured the Bluetooth master from right to left, and I’m going to use them in this configuration for a week or so to see if the problem recurs, and if so, in which ear. Then we’ll decide the next step.

The ear swap may actually be relevant, because I typically carry my phone in a left side pocket of my pants (I wear cargo shorts, which was the style at the time). So Bluetooth has to pass through a lot of me to get to the right HA. Time will tell if this helps.

It’s been two weeks since I had the Bluetooth master swapped from right to left. Two conclusions:

  1. There’s still something amiss with the right HA and/or the charger base.
  2. Switching the Bluetooth master to the same side where I typically carry my phone improved Bluetooth performance, with fewer connection drops while streaming.

The longer version is that since my last appointment, on most days, the ending battery levels are just 2-3% different with the left slightly lower, for example 47% in the left and 49% in the right. So this is consistent with the Bluetooth master using a little more battery than the other HA (and Paradise using more battery % than Marvel).

But this past Friday, my right HA was totally dead when I took it from the charger in the morning. Returning it to the charger didn’t help, so I tried the compact (USB-C) charging case instead, and that was able to charge it. That evening I tried the regular charger again, and this time it seemed to drain the right HA rather than charge it. I’ve started using the compact charger exclusively now, and so far no problems, but it’s too soon to tell if this is a “fix”.

So it seems the standard charging base is a problem, though I’m not sure the right HA is totally off the hook, either. I discussed with my audiologist, and we’re going to just swap the whole setup with new ones (HAs and base) and send the problematic set back to Phonak to let them debug.

Other than this issue, however, they’ve been great.

And I highly recommend people who get fitted with Marvel or Paradise aids have the Bluetooth master set to their preferred phone carry side.

Quick update: I swapped my HAs and charging base with new ones a couple months ago, and they’ve been trouble-free ever since. No more mysterious battery usage. So it seems some part of my first set was defective.

I’m still very pleased with them.

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Thanks for updating! Very helpful.

Thanks for sharing the review, just got the Phonak Audéo Paradise P-RT, this is the first hearing aid I have ever had, so far three days into hearing them and I am quite pleased!!