The New Exelia M BTE, MyPilot, iCom Bluetooth review

Product: http://www.exelia.phonak.com/en/

I’ve just put down $8060 on a set of BTE Exelia M’s…With the iPilot remote control and iCom Bluetooth/FM device thrown in “for free.”

I’ll have a flesh colored Exelia M fitted March 3rd for evaluation…Along with the iPilot remote control.

If I like the Exelia M, I’ll receive a Graphite/High-Tech Grey version of the device with the iCom wearable Bluetooth fob (which is apparently on back-order)

If I get too much of the “Occlusion Effect” I hated from my previous in-the-ear devices…I’ll get my money back.

Cheers!

Biggeek

good grief! Golly Gee! Only $8000. I could buy a good used car for that kind of dough. Travel to Europe, take a vacation in the Islands, buy 16 iPhones for that amount.

Perhaps these aids are diamond encrusted with solid gold cases?

By the way I have a nice bridge in Brooklyn, NY I’ll sell you for that amount. Ed

that is a LOT OF MONEY…

You are getting hosed, royally.

I have a pair of Naidas, $4400, including 200 batteries, new molds, 3 years repair/loss.

I can get the iCOM for $350, and the MyPilot for $400.

I know they are not the same, so for reference, I can get from the same audi (and this is a local audi in a high rent big city), the Savia Art for $5200 pair, BTE.

I know yours are the newest, and command a premium, but I repeat, YOU ARE GETTING HOSED, ROYALLY.

Where are you located?

:eek: I agree with the other two folks. I’ve done some research as well - check out hearingplanet.com - you can get excelia Vs for 4200 (w/o the extra bells - with them looks like 5K). For the extra 3K you are paying you should get fittings for life :rolleyes:

I’m located in San Francisco.

I appreciate the feedback from you and the others…That’s one of the reasons why I registered and posted this thread.

I haven’t seen any reviews of the Exelia M’s so far, and this is going to be one…When I get them and have a chance to try them.

Is it a huge ripoff? Well, it’s the cutting edge of Phonak’s line…Of course it is. So is buying an Apple iPhone or a MacBook Air.

Frankly, with my experiences with Widex…The entire hearing aid industry is one huge ripoff. :slight_smile:

In any case, my credit card “purchase” is just a 30-day evaluation…Which I intend to follow up with in this thread. If I don’t like the Exelia M…I’ll return it and it’s no big deal.

Again, I appreciate everyone’s input. I’ll definitely bring up the Savia Art and the Naida when I get fitted with the Exelia M.

Cheers!

biggeek

No doubt there are a lot of rip offs in the industry.

I am in the DC suburbs so cost of living wise, I think our prices should be comparible.

The Naida is the sister to what you are getting, yet it was priced (to me) roughly $600 - or so, more than the aid it replaced. It has some of the same advances as what you are getting.

I put the savia art price in there as well as I assume that your new aids are the ‘replacement’ for them - so the price if it was/is to go higher should still be in the ballpark.

Look, do try them, hopefully they will be a significant improvement, but there is simply no way, that I’d pay that much for any aid - unless it gave me 100% natural hearing again - and that ain’t happening.

Good luck

Biggeek & Jaw

Well first off sorry for jumping into your tread uninvited. I should probably introduce myself - I’m very new at this - actually getting first hearing aids, so can’t be very helpful, but I’m sure you can be to me. So I wanted to ask a few things:

Big Geek - are you using SaviaArt currently? If so, which type and what is your impression generally? Why did you decide to get excelias? Why did you like the excelias better than the naida’s?

Jaw2000 - Did you consider other brands/models? If yes why did you decide on the naidas?

Thanks so much for your feedback!

First off, it’s not my thread - but that’s ok too. I just hate to see folks taken advantage of.

I did a lot of home work, I got a new hearing test, and I went to 2 local audiologists for recommendations as well as going to Genesis Hearing labs.

Naturally all 3 recommendations were different and each put me in a NON profound hearing loss aid.

Prices were also all over the map.

So, I tried the Genesis product, and it was underpowered for me - was not a comfortable fit, and I began doing more homework, one of the 3 had suggested that I might want to try the Naida - but that it was not out yet.

I found my old audiologist (she had relocated to the west coast). She was/is a sane and unbiased opinion - JUST WHAT I NEEDED!

She also suggested that the other models were all good, but perhaps not good enough for my needs (Profound loss).

So, when my defacto audiologist called and said she had a pair of Naidas for me to try - well I jumped at the chance.

They are not perfect, none are, sometimes I am not sure if they are even any better than what I had before, but I am still in the trial period, and I think I will be keeping them.

Wish I could tell you more, but that’s it. for me.

Just a quick note, I learned today that my audi charges $3k per for the Excelia.

This does not take into account that the buyer does get $500 off on a pair.

But with the numbers that I am aware of essentially a fair price for what you are getting for $8k should be around $6k (aids); $400 ipilot and $350 icom.

That would be $6750, minus $500 which is nearly $2k less.

I am not trying to make this into mine is better than yours - not at all, I just hate to see people get taken advantage of.

Good luck - I hope these work for you, I am looking forward to learning more about icom.

i saw the excelia presentation, and it has some program blending…

what i did not heard, and i think im mistaken…

is

  1. someone in the forum said it needs a special battery- is this right?
    for the instruments of the icom or for both

  2. exelia does not exchange information for processing right?
    meaning using the wireless capabilities to sinc directionality compression, noise reduction between ears right? -

Although the Exelia and Naida products appear similar, there are some differences, such as the fact that the Naida does not have the zoom control feature.

In addition, buyers will notice a huge difference in price between the two, with Exelia being much higher, because the net cost to dispensers and audiologists are much higher on the Exelia versue the Naida.

Thus, $8,000 or so for the full combo of 2 Exelia’s, Icom and MyPilot would not be out of the question. In fact, in many markets, it will probably end up being much higher.

The Exelia also does some blending of modes/programs, which is different from the Savia Art, which only chose one distinct mode (between calm, speech in noise, comfort in noise and music), whereas the Exelia will blend between 2 programs, thus reducing the noticeable “shifts” that users hear when moving from one noise environment to another.

As for whether the processing occurs when signals are combined, such as in the Epoq, I am not sure. Yet, the Exelia does transmit a lot of information and fast, thus they do need a special battery.

They require the Power One X battery, which is a 1.45v battery, otherwise, the wireless functions will not work. I will post this as a main post in the battery area later.

I believe the price difference between the Excelia and the Naida V (there is a Naida III too), is roughly $1100 (for 2 aids).

One cannot in good faith compare the 2 models as they are for different types of loss.

Greetings.

I was actually first recommended a Widex Senso Diva SD-XM in-the-ear ( http://www.widexusa.com/b1l.php ) , which I ended up disappointed with in terms of beforementioned occlusion effects. I found out later that the model was inadequate for my hearing loss curve.

The Exelia M will be my first behind-the-ear hearing aid…So I’m kind of in the same boat as you are experience-wise. Check back after Monday, March 3rd and I’ll post my initial impressions.

Take care!

Maybe it’s how I’m parsing my google searches, or perhaps it’s that those batteries are not in wide retail distribution right now, but I’m having a devil of a time trying to locate an on-line retailer of the Power One p 13 GenX.

Biggeek, I’m also in the SF Bay Area, and would be interested in your experience with the bluetooth streaming of these aids. As well as overall sound quality. Also, have you checked out the Epoq? If not, why not?

Just to let you know, Kaiser has the aids for 2900 each, not including the iCOM. So that might be an option for you if possible.

FAir enough, thanks Jaw! I’m doing my homework now – that’s why I aked. :))

biggeek, I hope we didn’t scare you off here. I’m sure lots of people are awaiting your review on the Exelia! :slight_smile:

I guess I’m going to bullet list this to keep it organized.

  1. The entire package with the small behind-the-ear design and the open plug earpiece is so comfortable that I forget I’m wearing it. So much better than my previous in-the-ear hearing aids. This is probably a “duh” observation to anyone who has compared both behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids.

  2. Since this is a new product, I saw the audiologist struggling with the configuration software. She turned her monitor towards me so I could see how she configured the hearing aids…But she struggled a bit. She didn’t even have a spare USB cable ready for the Phonak myPilot remote control.

I questioned her about how many Excelia fittings she had done, and she nicely dodged the question. She said had attended a Phonak training seminar, but I think I was her first.

  1. After my audiologist connected my Excelia’s to a special base via small standardized connector plugs built into the aids…She entered in my hearing test profile graph into the hearing aid configuration software, a point-and-click process on a grid, to program the Excelia.

During the process, I noticed a “volume” window which was labeled “New User” to “Advanced.” My configuration was just above “New User.”

I have to wonder if they keep the volume low just to have users come back each week over the 30-day evaluation period…And jack up the volume each time to create the illusion of an improved configuration.

  1. When my audiologist first fitted my Excelias, she asked me how I heard her voice. Personally, I found little difference.

I did hear more upper-range details like the rustling of paper, the clicks of a keyboard, or the chirps of birds…But they’re tinny and artificial. I also hear them only in my right ear, which either may be a function of adjustment or that my left ear is just more damaged than my right.

  1. I don’t think my language comprehension has improved too much. We shall see in the follow-up when they increase the volume.

  2. The audiologist enabled three software options on the Excelia’s: “Automatic” which is some sort of adaptive program, “Speech in Noise” and “Comfort in Noise.”

There are many more software options…

Part of the marketing I presume is, again, enabling more options with each evaluation visit to encourage consumers to keep the hearing aids.

  1. The remote-control is nicely convenient…But not worth the $6-8k for the option.

  2. The Excelia’s do not have Bluetooth built-in. The Bluetooth functionality is in the wearable iCom fob (which is back ordered and I don’t have an evaluation unit until next week.)

http://www.exelia.phonak.com/fileadmin/user_upload/img/accessories/iCom.jpg

The iCom negotiates Bluetooth communications (and also FM signals via an add-on component) and transmits the information through the wire loop “necklace” which is picked up via induction through the Excelia’s built-in t-coils/Tele-coils. (edit: According to Hearnow: “I also don’t believe the t-coil is employed for wireless functionality as the chip responsible for the body area network (One of 3 dual core chips in the CORE platform) has it’s own digital induction antena vs the analogue coil used for t-coil.”)

  1. The Excelia’s do communicate with each other via their built-in t-coils…So if you push the program button on one hearing aid (and not use the remote control) it communicates the change on the other. A nice detail I was missing on my Widex in-the-ears where I had to poke each hearing aid button to coordinate the settings. It’s a subtle change than can be disguised by one swipe to one ear for those who are vain about changing their hearing aid modes.

Personally, I think it’s a nice change instead of having to poke the in-the-ear buttons on both sides of my head.

1st week evaluation: Unless I get better spoken word comprehension on week 2 and/or some decent cell phone integration with the iCom…The cost/benefit curve is too small and I return the suckers.

However…There’s still the 2-3-4 weeks left in my evaluation period where my audiologist also fiddles with the earpieces (open vs. closed), behind-the-ear tubes (mini vs. large) and device volume.

I will update after the next appointment!

Cheers!

PS.

The p 13 GenX batteries required by the Phonak Excelia M’s are only manufactured by the European company Power One and by Rayovac.

http://www.rayovac.com/hearing/extreme.htm