Ultra Power Hearing Aids Ranked

I’m maintaining a project to quantitatively rank (via a proprietary algorithm) ultra power hearing aids as to how powerful they really are and how well they handle the frequency range (a fancy way of saying “high fidelity”). Ultra power, for this purpose, means a peak output of at least 140dB SPL in real ear simulation. The working theory is the better the bandwidth, the better the perception of sound quality, especially in terms of music. Qualitative user experiences tend to support this. Secondary features such those targeted towards “speech enhancement” do not play a role of any importance in these ranks. If you suspect you may care about such features, then please discuss such with your audiologist so he/she can “value add”.

I have made about a handful of exceptions to the above rule for noteworthy hearing aids and have identified them with “Natural Sound” in the notes. I’m fully aware that “mission creep” is starting to occur as the industry responds with improved hardware, but that should not be viewed as being on the road to a comprehensive ranking of all hearing aids in existence or ever produced (sorry!).

If you know of any other digital or analog ultra power aids and have the technical specifications for such, please PM me and I’ll add it to the list.


I believe you left out the Widex Fusion with large receiver - which would probably be in the top ten of your list. Maybe top five.

Rexton Bridge 12 HP. Lots of features including bluetooth.

http://www.sennberg.se/admin/UploadFile.aspx?path=/UserUploadFiles/Siemens/DatasheetBridge12_HP.pdf

Starkey Xino AP

Speaking of Germany


we have a German elec. engineer friend who says that the US is about five years behind implementing what current research is showing, so I guess I’d lean toward a non-US make.

Of course, he is a very difficult customer for his audiologist. I may be able to get his PTA.

BTW, a data compression book told me that the amount of information in a sentence depends on how unexpected it is, so unless you see people advertising “unnatural sound” or “lack of speech enhancement” or “battery-gobbling circuitry”, there’s not much in sales pitches and pretty much zero info in what any politician says.

Thanks for the links.

so I guess I’d lean toward a non-US make that should be pretty easy

Everyone would be “behind” current research. First you research, then you analyze and plan, then you develop.

Good point.
What would be a typical turn-around time for a project like a HA? The guy implied that Euro (his company is in Switzerland) turnaround time is quicker than the US.

Are you referring to how long it takes to get a new one? I have to wait three weeks for a pair if ITE Oticons, but assume it is different for people with BTE and ITC hearing aids. I guess it also would depend on the manufacturer and your audiologist. Switzerland may have a faster turnaround time on some aids in some places but I doubt that’s true for all of them everywhere because there are so many variables.

No, I mean the time to go from a hearing research discovery to a prototype HA to producing that aid.

I’ll try to get the guys e-mail and find out exactly what he meant; I heard this second hand through a non-techie.

I have no idea but I think you would have to compare company to company, rather than region. If he is talking about his company compared to Starkey, then it does appear Starkey has been late with some features, but leads in others.

Or, maybe he’s talking about the regulatory environment.

It’s not powerful enough to make the cutoff. From what I can tell, the Super440 is essentially the same but with advanced features specific to profound losses.

Added it. We have a new winner!

Do you know if this is a rebranded Siemens 301 SP or is it customized for Rexton?

RIC/RITE’s are generally not powerful enough to fit profound losses, the Super440 being the sole exception so far.

MG

I am a just a little confused by this study. Rexton is the lower tier of Siemens, how can Rexton have the highest ranking and Siemens be listed at 12? Some products have been discontinued, Unitron US80, Starkey Destiny 1200, to name a few. Any study can be made to prove what you want it to prove.
As for turn around time from research to product availability, before you say Euro to US, you must look at each individual companies culture. Each company is different, not where they are located.

I don’t know which Siemens model this equates to but I would guess it would be similar to one of the higher models (5 or 7). But, just a guess. I don’t think there is any/much difference in the Rexton and Siemens models. Siemens may have some models that never make it to Rexton.

Lower price maybe, same hardware and software? There is probably a Siemens model that matches up exactly to the Bridge.

The rankings are as objective as it can be given the constraints of the data to work with. Keep in mind that just because an aid has better relative bandwidth than others, the subjective sound quality isn’t necessarily going to be better. I’m not going to tilt the rankings based on subjective qualitative assessments.

MG

As a Dispenser, you’d be unlikely to choose the top two though, as they would struggle to put that amount of power down without squealing.

Isn’t that what feedback cancellation is for? Surely, that’s not a new technology. Even the older Sparx has 6th generation.

Are you implying the feedback cancellation technology in the Rexton/Siemens or Sonic is poor?

MG

The feedback cancellation on Rexton HA’s are poor.

Let’s just say it’s like having a 6 litre engine, rear wheel drive and leaf springs.

Loading your truck with sand-bags may improve traction a little, but it’s not going to be brilliant.

To quote Pirelli: Power is nothing without control.

(or Spiderman’s Uncle; who pretty much says the same thing)