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Widex EVOKE Hearing Aid

Widex has introduced a new digital hearing aid, the EVOKE™, that works seamlessly with the Apple iPhone. The EVOKE builds upon the success of the previous version, which was the BEYOND.

The EVOKE, like the Beyond, is a Receiver-in-the-Ear hearing aid. This is a small device that fits behind the ear. There is a thin, nearly invisible, wire that comes from the aid and goes into the ear canal. At the end of the wire is a receiver (or speaker) where the processed sound goes into the ear.

The EVOKE has are more streamlined application to make changes (compared with the BEYOND). With the app, you can make adjustments to the programs, change volume, and fine-tune the sound you are hearing with the 3-band equalizer. The equalizer allows you to adjust the bass, midrange, and treble to your liking. For example, if someone doesn't seem clear to you, you might adjust the treble higher to bring in more of the important areas for understanding speech.

Another new development is an artificial intelligence section of the app, called SoundSense Learn. SoundSense Learn provides an A/B comparison of what you are hearing in your hearing aids. The digital processor estimates what would sound good to you in that listening environment. You choose either A or B and move a slider bar towards the one that sounds the best. You then go to the next page and compare them again. Usually after 7 or 8 tries, you will get the sound you want. If you like that particular way of hearing (in a restaurant you might frequent, for example) you can save that as an extra program to access each time you go to that restaurant. SoundSense Learn evolves to learn your preference, and those of others around the world, in similar environments. Widex anonymously gethers data of the favorite listening settings of other wearers of the EVOKE. According to the company, this will "create better listening experiences for everyone. So the great hearing aid you buy today evolves to be even better tomorrow."

Another helpful section of the app is the ability to change the direction you are hearing. For example, if you are driving and someone is speaking to you from the backseat, you can choose to have the hearing aids more focused behind you. Just go to the direction focus section and choose "back." Of course you would want to do this before you start driving! In most circumstances, however, you would use the "front" designation. This is useful in a restaurant where there is a lot of background noise, since you will hear more in front of you and lesson the back and to either side of you. Even though most hearing aids today (if they have two microphones) should automatically switch to a more forward facing way to hear, they don't always do so. With the directional focus in the Front mode, you can be sure you are going to give yourself a chance to hear better in noise.

As with all "made for iPhone" hearing aids, you will have the ability to stream phone calls. When you answer the call, the sound will go directly to the hearing aids. This direct input will allow you to hear the conversation as clearly as possible. You can also stream music or podcasts from your iPhone. If you don't have an iPhone, you can still stream phone calls, but you need a device called the COM-DEX, that hangs around your neck. When you get a phone call, you just push a button on the COM-DEX and you can connect. This works with most Android phones.

In addition to being able to stream phone calls, change programs and frequency responses with the app you can create your own personalized programs. For example, if you go to a certain restaurant and sit in the same area (since the acoustic properties of the room would vary depending upon where you are) you could modify a program to have more treble to enhance the speech and a front focus to hear more of where you are facing and less on the distracting noise around you. If it seems to work, you can save that as a special program for that restaurant.

The EVOKE is also available in custom devices, such as Vanal or In-the-Ear aids. All the same great processing is available, but unfortunately, there is no ability to connect directly to an iPhone. There are different levels of technology in the EVOKE custom products. The premium is the 440; the mid-level is the 330; and 220 is the basic model. There is usually not a push button available on the waid. You can, however, get a free RC-DEX, which is a small remote control that allows you to change programs and adjust the volume.

Dann Hearing Center provides a no-obligation 30-day trial of any EVOKE hearing aid. For more information, call Chris Dann at the Dann Hearing Center or visit

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