“Platforms don’t change frequently, but when they do, it’s the result of a carefully planned paradigm shift in sound strategy. Radiant, the first Sonic hearing aid on their Extend technology platform, represents a significant step to a truly personalized hearing solution”
– Sonic Innovations
Technology sure changes fast these days…
and hearing aid tech is no different. It seems new hearing aid models and innovations are being released around every corner.
It can be hard to know which one is the right fit for you because your hearing is unique, and no one will ever experience what it is like to hear the way you do. With advances in technology, improvements are coming fast.
And this is great– because the best hearing aid for you is one that easily integrates into your lifestyle and will address your specific and individual needs.
Since there are so many options out there and it’s hard to know which one is best for you, I wanted to outline a few of the newest models available and highlight some of their strengths.
By Donovan Hickman
Wichita Falls Hearing
Sonic Innovations has been breaking new ground with hearing aids for over 20 years. Through their advancements in digital technology and microchip manufacturing techniques, they have brought the beauty of everyday sounds and conversations to people with hearing loss. With the Radiant miniRITE T R, the first hearing aid utilizing their state-of-the-art Extend technology platform, Sonic has stayed true to their 4S foundation: “Sound that’s natural, Speech understanding in noise, Simplicity in everything we do and Style that stands out.” Built upon their revolutionary SoundDNA platform, the Extend platform takes their award winning sound management features and adds “Radian-technologies” for 360° speech processing and noise management. The new Radiant miniRITE, utilizing the Extend operating platform, holds onto the features of the previous Captivate miniRITE that solidified Sonic as an industry powerhouse. They built upon those qualities to create a hearing device that is unparalleled in ease of use and personalization, all while maintaining style, comfort, and reliability.
First up, I want to outline the features that Sonic has retained from the Captivate miniRITE. The most obvious similarities are the physical build of the hearing aid and the charging dock. The hearing aid sits comfortably behind the ear and the natural color palette is designed to blend in with hair. Each hearing aid has two buttons for volume and other controls. The charging dock is simple, easy to use, and minimalistic. And managing the hearing aids with the charging dock couldn’t be easier. Simply place the hearing aids in their color-coded slots (red for right and blue for left) when you are done using them and the devices will do the rest. There is no need to turn them off or on when placing them in the charger or removing them for use. Beneath the surface we find the Extend operating system. This platform utilizes the features found in their previous SoundDNA platform and adds more fine-tuning options and radian-technologies. Many sound processing features from SoundDNA are still in use, however, a couple of the standouts are SmartCompress and Speech Variable Processing (SVP). These are unique digital signal processing strategies that give Sonic’s hearing aids their signature brilliance and clarity of sound. Standout noise management features that have been carried over are features like SPiN Management and Binaural Noise Management. These features help to clarify speech in noise and maintain comfort in differing levels of noise. Sonic has held onto these attributes because they have been tested and proven to be desirable and highly beneficial to the hearing impaired.
The real interest, however, is in the new features and aspects of the Radiant miniRITE. With the new miniFit OpenBass domes, Sonic has addressed a common complaint with open-fit hearing aids: lack of fullness when streaming wireless audio or listening to music and the proclivity for open fit hearing aids to cause feedback. Radiant delivers better sound quality and more feedback management with its miniFit OpenBass Dome solution. These are available in five sizes and replace the previous open dome style utilized with their Captivate line. Personalization is a key focus with Sonic Innovation and the additions to processing power and programming features are geared toward the individual. The upgraded memory in the chipset allows the instruments to be fine tuned much more precisely than previous models. This is where the radian-technologies come into play. Sonic has engineered a new core DSP that streamlines noise management and compression systems to advance the user experience. Together, Radian Noise Management and Radian Speech Processing precisely find, filter and fine-tune sound from the optimum angle within a listening environment using intelligent, integrated systems.
As Sonic explains:
“A radian is an angle of measure within a sphere. Radians are versatile — they can represent a full 360 degrees or any angle in between. Like radians, both meaningful sounds and distracting noise can arise for a hearing aid user from any direction, at any time.
That’s why hearing devices must adapt quickly. Radian- technologies are poised to perform rapidly, responding to speech and noise where and when they emerge in the listening landscape.
The result for the user is better sound, all around.”
These technologies are able to layer noise filtration and directionality on multiple levels and frequencies simultaneously. While this may seem a bit theoretical and dry to read about, the end result is a hearing aid which is constantly performing demanding layered processing and giving the wearer a tremendous amount of clarity and focusing power in any situation and environment.
A Very Versatile Approach
Sonic has been on the forefront of wireless connectivity and integration within wireless smart devices like Apple iPhones, Android smart phones, and other smart devices on The Internet of Things. Using the “If This Then That” (IFTTT) network.
With their SoundLink 2 App, not only do wearers have control over a myriad of features within the programming of the hearing aids, they can get audible signals for an email received or an alert when someone’s at the front door. When its power is low, the hearing aids can send a text message with a reminder to change the battery. You can even have your coffee maker start when you first turn on your hearing aids in the morning. Pretty impressive flexibility, really.
New uses for IFTTT are appearing every day, with smart devices like these:
- Entertainment systems
- Electricity and thermostat controllers
- Car stereos or remote starters
- Smartphone apps
- Home security systems and kitchen devices
This allows for an incredible amount of personalization that is expanding constantly. Technology is never at a stand still and is always advancing. Sonic has kept this in mind with Radiant and the robust connectivity options will keep up with today’s fast-paced technological developments.
Suffice it to say, Sonic Innovations has developed a hearing device that has personalization at its core. If you want to keep it simple and let the hearing aids work for you, Radiant will fit the bill perfectly. On the other hand, if you are tech-savvy and love to tinker, Radiant hits the nail on the head. Life happens in 360° and Sonic’s Radiant miniRITE with the Extend platform will allow you to hear speech naturally with unprecedented clarity and comfort. Add to this simplicity of use and a stylish form factor and Sonic has pushed the boundaries of hearing aids for a streamlined and personalized end user experience.