At Oticon, their goal is to make hearing aids that work together and work like the brain does. The reason is that we hear with our brain, even though the sound is transferred from the outer ear to the middle ear and through the inner ear to the brain, the brain is where speech understanding and comprehension happens. To achieve this goal of, as Oticon calls it, "BrainHearing ™, there is a newer faster processor for their latest line of hearing aids.
To accomplish this, they developed a newer, faster processor called the Inium. The Inium is a quad core processor, which is the most processing of any hearing aid on the market. The Inium allows the hearing aids to communicate with each other better than before, which helps utilize the different aspects of the aid that Oticon wants to use.
There is Speech Guard E, Spatial Processing Premium, and the Inium feedback shield.
Most of these features mentioned, such as the Spatial Sound Premium and Speech Guard E, work when you are wearing an aid in each ear. Since the brain hears best with two ears, it is usually more effective to wear two hearing aids.
Their Premium version using this idea of BrainHearing is the Alta Pro. As far as styles, the Alta Pro is available in custom made products such as a small Completely-in-Canal aid to an In-the-Ear aid. There are also Receiver-in-the-Ear devices, which are otherwise known as "open fit" aids.
The open fit device is a small Behind-the-Ear aid that has a thin wire attached to it. At the end of the wire is the receiver, or speaker. The receiver fits in the top part of the ear canal, leaving most of the ear open. This is better for mild to moderate high frequency hearing losses. Open fit aids have become increasingly popular because of their cosmetic appeal and natural sound quality.
Pictured below is the Alta Pro Open Fit aid:
The Alta Pro also has a push button on it to change to different programs. The main program would be for most listening situations you might be in. However, one way of hearing might not work in every environment. In that case, you have other programs that would have a different frequency response that may be more successful, and, hopefully, let you hear better than in the main program. In addition to being able to change programs on the aids, you can also adjust the volume (if you are wearing one on each ear). The aids can be programmed so that when you briefly push the button on the right aid, the volume goes up in both. Conversely, if you push the button on the left aid, the volume lowers.
For those who want a more midlevel (instead of Premium) of the Alta Pro but with fewer features, there is the Nera Pro. The Nera Pro has up to 3 programs, as well as Speech Guard.
The most basic aid available is the Ria Pro. The Ria Pro has up to 3 programs as the Nera Pro has, but has less adjustments that the hearing aid professional can do. It has the Inium processor that the more advanced aids have, and is a good alternative for those who want great quality in an aid but don't want to invest in more expensive aids.
In addition to these newer features, the Alta, Nera and Ria (and several other models) has the ability to connect to a cell phone (or other device) that has Bluetooth capability. Bluetooth is a means by which different devices can communicate with each other. To use the cell phone you need what Oticon calls the Streamer Pro. The Streamer Pro has several buttons on it and a volume control and is worn around your neck. When there is an incoming call you will hear it ring in your hearing aids, similar to a phone. You would press a button on the Streamer Pro and you are then connected to the phone. When you are done, just press the button again and you will be disconnected so that you can use your aids for normal conversation. The latest is the Streamer 2.0, which is smaller than the previous version and has more ways to connect, such as to their ConnectLine Mike.
Pictured below is the Streamer Pro, along with a ConnectLine Mike, TV adapter and phone adapter:
The Streamer can be connected up to 8 devices (such as an IPad, IPod, or computer) that have Bluetooth capabilities.
A new option that you can use (if you have an IPhone) is an app that is available that will let you control the volume and program changes. It is called "made for IPhone" and is used along with the Streamer Pro. So, instead of taking out the Streamer Pro, you just use your IPhone to make adjustments on your hearing aids. Since most people take out their phones to make calls or send texts, taking out your phone to adjust your aids won't be as obvious as using your Streamer Pro.
For first time hearing aid users (or previous users who want a smaller aid) and want something easy to handle, Oticon has the Intiga line of hearing aids. The Intiga has a streamlined design for the part that fits behind your ear, and a slightly curved speaker that goes in easier for certain ear canal shapes.
The Intiga is also available in different levels of technology. In other words, there is the Premium (Intiga 10), a Mid-Level (Intiga 7) and the Basic (Intiga 5). The features at each level are the same as in the Alta devices. The main difference is that there is a push button on the Alta aids and there isn't one on the Intiga. Also, the Intiga uses a different processor than the Alta. If you want to change the programs and adjust the volume, you will need to get a Streamer Pro. Of course, with the Streamer Pro you can pair the Intiga to different Bluetooth devices, such as a cell phone.
A custom made version of the Intiga is now available, called the Intiga-i The Intiga-i is an ultra small aid that fits deep in the ear canal. This allows it to be virtually invisible. The aid has the same processor as the Intiga Receiver-in-the-Ear, which means it has some of those nice features such as Speech Guard for better discrimination of words.
However, because the aid is so small, it doesn't have the ability to do Bluetooth connectivity.
There is also another aid from Oticon called the Chili. It is a Behind-the Ear aid that packs a lot of power in a small package, and is designed for those with severe to profound hearing loss. Some of the features of this new aid include Speech Guard, the use of the Rise 2 digital processor, dual microphones, and coating of the internal circuits to lessen the effects of moisture that may get into the hearing aid.
In addition, the Chili can use the Streamer Pro to connect to Bluetooth enabled devices, such as cell phones. With the Streamer Pro, the user of the Chili can take advantage of Oticon's Connect Line products for listening to the TV or using a land line phone.
Oticon has also developed a special rationale to use with the Chili aid. It is called Dynamic Speech Enhancement (DSEsp) and is designed to use Speech Guard as well as a wider bandwidth of frequencies. This will, according to Oticon, preserve "the speech
cues and utilizing more of the users residual dynamic range" and making "the signal far more useful for the listener"
Chili comes in three levels of technology. There is the Basic (the SP5), the midlevel (the SP7) and the Premium (the SP9). Obviously the Premium level has the most features, but many people with a severe hearing loss would also do well with the basic or midlevel aid.
No matter how advanced the hearing aid is, it can't do everything in every listening environment. One item that Oticon has that seems to have helped our clients who have used it is the ConnectLine remote microphone. The microphone can be clipped onto a shirt or lapel. The person wearing the new Oticon hearing aid would also use the Streamer Pro. The StreamerPro is worn around the neck. There is a button on both the Streamer and the ConnectLine microphone that you push to connect the two of them wirelessly.
Pictured below is the ConnectLine Mic:
Here is an illustration of how the ConnectLine Microphone works:
What is the benefit? Well, if the person wearing the hearing aids is trying to talk to someone across the table in a noisy restaurant it will be much easier to hear that person if they are wearing the ConnectLine microphone. The speech is picked up by the microphone and transmitted to the Streamer, which then sends the signal to the aids. This way the speech of the person you are trying to hear goes directly to the aids, making it much easier to understand the conversation above the din. The ConnectLine microphone will work with most of the latest Oticon aids as long as you have a Streamer Pro.
For more information on the Alta, Nera, Intiga, Chili ,or other Oticon aids, just contact us at 203-866-3838 or go to oticonus.com (All photos and illustrations c
Dann Hearing Center
650 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06850
office: (203) 866-3838
fax: (203) 899-0601
The Dann Hearing Center has been helping the people of Fairfield County (Norwalk, Darien, New Canaan, Weston, Westport, Stamford, Ridgefield, Redding, Greenwich and elsewhere) to get more out of their lives with better hearing.
all materials copyright ©2021
Dann Hearing Center