I recently reviewed the Phonak Audeo M (or Marvel) hearing aid that will be released at the end of November 2018. The Audeo M shocked everyone because it will be the first hearing aid capable of streaming directly from an Android phone to both ears. The Audeo M is the newest member of the Audeo family, with its predecessor being the Audeo B.
In November, Phonak will release the Audeo M-312, and the Audeo M-R. The 312 is the smallest option at 7.1 millimeters. The M-R is the rechargeable option, and is slightly thicker at 8 millimeters. Other members of the family including the M312-T and M-RT will be available in February of 2019. The “T” means that the aid will also have telecoil capabilities.
Physically, the Audeo M looks much like its forerunner, the Audeo B, with a few key differences. One difference is that the Audeo M features an exterior button that can be pushed up to increase volume, down to decrease volume, and in to change programs. The Audeo B only had a singular push button to accomplish this.
I believe that Phonak has improved the wire tubing for this device and that they are now better able to contour. Another difference is that the dome and wax traps have been slightly altered. Other than these small changes, these hearing aids fit similarly to the Audeo B and are quite comfortable.
The Audeo M is power-packed with incredible features.
Connectivity – The Audeo M can connect to and stream anything (phone calls, music, YouTube videos, podcasts etc) from literally any phone. It uses Bluetooth Classic rather than Bluetooth Low Energy, so there are no restrictions on connectivity for brick phones, iPhones or Androids. The Audeo M has massively improved a big flaw with the Audeo B in that it can stream directly into both ears. The Audeo B was only able to stream to one hearing aid. The Audeo M still uses the microphone on the hearing aids to pick up your voice. Because of this, you could walk away from your phone and continue conversations because they are happening exclusively through your hearing aids.
Integrated Roger Receiver – The Audeo M hearing aids will also come equipped with an integrated Roger Receiver already build in. Roger receivers are incredible at cutting through background noise and allowing for increased speech understanding in noisy environments. Previously, Roger Receivers would need to be “added on” to Phonak hearing aids – thus greatly increasing the device’s size. With the Audeo M, there is no need for this extender – the added technology is built right into the tiny design and will be available in Fall of 2019 with a simple firmware update.
T-Coil – Beginning in February of 2019, Audeo M will release three hearing aid versions that include telecoil technology, which allow you to loop your hearing aids into the audio at any facility such as a church or a movie theatre that is equipped with T-coil technology.
Recharge-ability – The Audeo-MR rechargeable hearing aid will use lithium technology and will be able to give 24-hours of reliable use after a full-charge, and 16 hours of continuous use if you stream up to 4 hours a day. The mini on-the-go charging ports were improved to include a lid to help protect your hearing aids while charging.
Unlike Audeo B aids, the newer Audeo M aids actually turn on as soon as you pull them from the charging port, which saves a lot of headache for those with limited finger dexterity.
Access to Apps – The Audeo M will be capable of connecting to powerful applications that will help you to make your own adjustments quickly and directly from your phone and they will also allow your hearing professional to make adjustments remotely – without the need for an appointment.
Call to Text Feature – With this feature, when someone calls you, their speech will be automatically transcribed and written directly on your cell phone. This way, you won’t only have to rely on the audio of the person speaking, you will also have real-time closed captions of the conversations as well.
Binaural Features – With binaural features, the Audeo M hearing aids are able to communicate with each other. When they can communicate, they can create “beam forming”. Beam forming allows you to hone in on the main speaker you are trying to listen to.
Auto Sense OS 3.0 – For Audeo M hearing aids, Phonak updated their Auto Sense technology to Auto Sense 3.0. This feature allows your hearing aids to automatically detect when you enter a new environment, and instinctively kick into the correct settings for that particular environment. The OS 3.0 is also able to adjust according to your streaming. It will detect whether you are listening to speech, music, or television and will adjust accordingly.
Not Compatible with CROS – If you have single-sided hearing loss, the Audeo M will not be an option because it does not have access to the CROS transmitter.
Charging Ports – Although Audeo M hearing aids turn on automatically when they are removed from the charging port, they are still very difficult to remove, which can be an issue for anyone with poor finger dexterity. Also, the battery life is not ideal
Apparently, Phonak has been lying in the weeds because they just announced the release of their newest hearing aid the, The Audeo Marvel, other wise known as the Audeo M hearing aid. Which will be available on November 30th.The Audeo M will have an impressive lineup which includes a Size 312 disposable battery version, Lithium Rechargeable, Size 312 battery with Telecoil, Size 13 battery with Telecoil, and Lithium Rechargeable with Telecoil.
New Audeo M Features:
1. Connectivity – These devices will connect with any Bluetooth device including Apple, Android, brick phones, or anything else you can think of. This is because it uses Bluetooth Classic not Bluetooth Low Energy. They also fixed the major flaw with the Audeo B-Direct. It can stream phone calls to both ears, and it can even use the microphones on the hearing aids to send your voice to the caller. This means you can walk away from the phone and still have a clear conversation. You can even answer, hang-up, or reject a phone call with the hearing aids themselves. When I say you can stream to both ears, I mean anything from phone calls, music, podcasts, audiobooks, YouTube videos, and even the Television. They also have a Roger receiver built into the devices which is comical since the devices are so small. If you don’t know what an integrated receiver is, it is how you connect to a Roger device. If you don’t know what a Roger device is, you need to Google it because they can help you hear significantly better in background noise.
2. Rechargeability – The Audeo MR and M RT gives you 24 hours of battery life. This drops to 16 hours of life if you stream 4 hours per day. They also have a new mini charger with a lid and will use the same charger as the Audeo BR devices. However, these devices will turn on immediately after removing them from the charger case which is a major improvement.
3. The Audeo M will also have access to Several Different Apps including:The Remote App will control Program and volume changes, allow you to adjust the environmental balance when streaming, and give you battery readout for rechargeable models. The myPhonak App will give you access to a patient portal for eSolutions. This will contain a hearing diary, and access to Remote Support with your hearing care professional. The Call to Text feature will turn your smartphone into a captioned telephone so you can read conversations as you hear them.The Tinnitus app will let you control tinnitus masking sounds as well.
4. Binaural VoiceStream Technology – This is great news for Phonak and their users. This allows for features like StereoZoom and Speech in Loud Noise programs in their devices. Phonak claims that the StereoZoom feature alone improves speech understanding in background noise by 60%.
5. New AutoSenseOS 3.0If you watched my video on the best hearing aid features in 2018 https://youtu.be/-9eNd85_bEg , you would have seen Phonak’s previous generation of AutoSenseOS ranked as #1. This is because Phonak’s Operating System can automatically switch between different programs based on your environment, and it does this more accurately than a human can. Phonak has made a huge leap forward with the Audeo M Hearing aids.
However, there are still a few things that it can’t do. It isn’t CROS compatible - If you have Single Sided Deafness, the Audeo M won’t be the devices for you. While the Audeo MR rechargeable devices now turn on upon removal, they can be difficult to remove from the charger if you have finger dexterity issues. Also, Battery life for rechargeable isn’t as good as some other products on the market.
They have changed their First Fit algorithm, aka Auto programming, to decrease high frequency amplification, in an attempt to improve sound quality to a new user.In my opinion, this is catering to professionals who do not use Real Ear Measurement during their hearing aid fittings. Yes, it may make amplification more natural to an individual with a hearing loss in the high-frequencies, it may even be preferred by a new user at their fitting appointment, but it doesn’t change the fact that high-frequency is needed to maximize speech clarity.
Adapting to High-Frequency amplification is critical to maximizing performance with hearing aids. If you want to learn more about REM and why it is so critical for success with hearing treatment, check out my video here: https://youtu.be/cHR0Oa6I-wY