Phonak introduced their latest hearing aid platform which they are calling the Marvel at EUHA in October 2018. It is their latest hearing aid platform and it is quite an exciting introduction. The Marvel is a full range of Made For Any Phone hearing aids. The devices will be available from November 22nd 2019 and the first to be introduced will be two models on their Audeo Receiver In Canal hearing aids range. They will be offered in the usual four levels of technology, the Marvel 90, 70, 50 and 30. There is quite a lot to talk about with the new introduction, so let's get to it.
Audeo Marvel Hearing Aids
The Audeo range is the first part of the Marvel platform to be introduced. Eventually, the Marvel Audeo family will be made up of five hearing aids of which two will be rechargeable, but for now, only two models will be introduced. The smallest traditional Zinc Air battery size will be the 312. The full Audeo range will not be available initially, below you can see a quick explanation of the devices and their expected availability. The hearing aids will be available in the typical four levels of hearing aid technology as you would expect from Phonak. However, Phonak will make the rechargeable hearing devices available at every level of technology including the entry level for the first time.
Made For Any Phone
With the Audeo B-Direct, Phonak chose traditional Bluetooth to give them a direct connection to any mobile phone. The traditional Bluetooth protocol offered huge benefits to them. It meant that any hearing aid they produced would be technically able to connect to any Bluetooth enabled device, not just phones. The first Made For Any Phone hearing devices (The Audeo B-Direct) did not offer stereo audio streaming of phone calls or any other audio. It also ensured that Phonak's quite famous ear to ear features did not work.
The New System Has No Limits
The new Marvel platform does not have any of those limitations, it will allow users to experience stereo streaming audio from any Bluetooth enabled device, that includes most mobile phones available, computers, and even some modern Bluetooth enabled TVs. Not only will the experience stereo audio streaming they will also receive the full benefits of Phonak's ear to ear features (Binaural Voice Streaming Technology BVST for short).
Fully Featured Hearing Aids
These hearing aids include all of the latest Phonak features including their much-celebrated ear to ear features. They also have a brand new sound management system called Autosense 3.0 which recognises and automatically adapts to precisely match more listening situations than ever before. Autosense 3.0 also classifies streamed signals and will adapt how it works to better help you to hear the way you should. It also includes two new automatic programmes for streaming audio.
Multi-functional and Feature Rich Hearing Aids
These hearing devices are hugely multi-functional and feature-rich, here’s the quick list:
- Stereo Bluetooth streaming: Stereo streaming from any Bluetooth enabled device, that means iPhone, iPad, laptops, computers, Macs, Android phones, Windows phones, hell any Bluetooth-enabled phone.
- Real Hands-free calling in stereo: Like the Audeo B-direct, the Marvel offers true hands-free calling from Bluetooth-enabled phones and VOIP services like Skype, except, to both hearing aids.
- TV Streaming: Marvel can stream directly from Bluetooth-enabled TVs, and can also stream from the Phonak TV Connector accessory.
- Rechargeability: They say both Marvel rechargeables will deliver a full day of hearing aid use from a single charge.
- Remote adjustments: Marvel hearing aids can be adjusted remotely by your hearing expert.
- New App Eco-System: Brand new apps to make life easier and engage the consumer in the process.
- RogerDirect: This is really fascinating, for the first time, users will be able to stream from Roger devices directly to their hearing aids.
- Full Phonak Feature Set: The Marvel will offer full and up to date inter-ear features.
Stereo Bluetooth streaming
Marvel will directly stream stereo audio from any device capable of streaming audio via Bluetooth. This includes almost any device you can think of. You can connect it directly to your Android phone; you can connect it directly to your Mac Book or Windows laptop. You can even connect it directly to any Bluetooth enabled television. That is pretty amazing, that is a direct connection without any streamer. The quality of streaming audio is excellent; audio is full and clear. Music is warm and full, and phone calls are clear.
True Hands-Free Calling
The Marvel delivers true hands-free calling in stereo. You will hear your phone calls in both ears giving you a better chance at understanding what is being said. Hands-free means you don't need to touch your phone. Your phone can be up to thirty feet away. You simply hit the button on your hearing aid to answer the call and chat away. The hearing aids use their microphones to stream your voice to the caller.
More Than Just Audio Connection
The Bluetooth connection is being used for more than just audio streaming though. They will also use that same connection for data exchange between the mobile phone and the hearing aids. This ability offers much more benefits for consumers and professionals alike. The data exchange is the core of the new ability to remotely fine tune the hearing aids in real time and for the user to give real-time day to day feedback with the new Hearing Diary.
Remote Fine Tuning
The new Phonak remote fine-tuning system is excellent, a video calling system gives the same feeling of face to face interaction, just in a different way. While the remote support may not be for everyone, I think it will be welcomed by people who see it as a real alternative to in-clinic appointments
Speech To Text
They have also introduced a new speech to text app with the new products. The new app acts as a transcription system which allows users to read what is being said by the person on the other end of the phone. It works in real time and thanks to hands-free phone calling you can carry on the conversation while you read the dialogue. The app will allow people with hearing loss extra help to understand people on their mobile phone.
Phonak's Roger system is the Gold Standard in FM assistive devices for people with hearing loss. All Marvel hearing aids will be able to be upgraded in late 2019 by hearing care professionals so that the new RogerDirect™ system can be added to the hearing aids allowing Roger microphone equipment to stream directly to Marvel hearing aids without having to attach an external receiver. That is something special and it will provide even better benefit for people in complex sound environments.
Audeo Marvel R
The Audeo Marvel R is Phonak's latest rechargeable Made For Any Phone hearing aid, it is quite discreet and can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. The device will connect directly to any Bluetooth enabled Mobile phone and will stream phone calls and audio in stereo. The devices are available from November 22 in the UK and should be rolled out globally through November and December.
Audeo Marvel 312
The Audeo Marvel 312 is a very small RIC device which uses a size 312 battery, it is quite discreet and can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. It doesn't have a telecoil although as always it is a wireless device. The device will connect directly to any Bluetooth enabled Mobile phone and will stream phone calls and audio in stereo. The devices are available from November 22 in the UK and should be rolled out globally through November and December.
Audeo Marvel 312 T
The Audeo Marvel 312T is a small RIC device which uses a 312 battery, it is still very discreet and can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. This device will have a telecoil. The device will connect directly to any Bluetooth enabled Mobile phone and will stream phone calls and audio in stereo. This device will not be available until Spring 2019.
Audeo Marvel 13T
The Audeo Marvel 13T is a RIC device that will use a size 13 battery. It will be slightly bigger than the 312, but still pretty discrete. It can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. The device will connect directly to any Bluetooth enabled Mobile phone and will stream phone calls and audio in stereo. This device will not be available until Spring 2019.
Audeo Marvel RT
The Audeo Marvel RT is a rechargeable RIC hearing aid which will have a telecoil. It can be used with several receiver variations meaning it can cover a lot of hearing losses. The device will connect directly to any Bluetooth enabled Mobile phone and will stream phone calls and audio in stereo. This device will not be available until late 2019.
Rocker Switch, Not Push Button
Phonak have also changed the push button on the devices, they now offer a rocker switch instead for more functionality.
Versatile TV Streaming
While the Marvel hearing aids will connect directly to Bluetooth enabled TVs, Phonak has also introduced a new TV Streamer. The TV streamer allows low energy streaming offering great audio and reduced battery usage.