Phonak Hearing Aids
Originally founded in Switzerland in the 1940s, Phonak is now one of the “Big 6” multinational manufacturers of hearing aids. They have consistently brought cutting edge advancements to hearing aid technology, starting in the 1970s, when Phonak created the first behind the ear hearing aid. Before this, hearing aids were worn on the body, with a long wire traveling up to the ear!
Presently, Phonak offers a full lineup of hearing aid styles, and they also offer Roger accessories, which help with hearing in background noises of all kinds.
I first started fitting Phonak hearing aids when I was a student training in a university clinic. Now, as an audiologist, Phonak has become a regular part of my professional life, and I’m consistently impressed by their products and innovations.
Pros and Cons of Phonak Hearing Aids
- Stellar Sound Quality
- Bluetooth Compatibility
- Roger Accessories
- Available Worldwide with Global Customer Support
- Excellent Rechargeable Battery Life
- Less Affordable
- Cannot be Purchased Directly
Phonak Hearing Aids at a Glance
Phonak has a great lineup of hearing aids across all styles, from superpower devices for those with severe hearing loss, to a CROS system for people with hearing loss just on one side. They even have a long-term wear, in-the-canal hearing aid.
Regardless of the specific device, the entire Phonak lineup has crisp, clear sound quality that goes head-to-head with the best competition. Phonak is the go-to hearing aid manufacturer for many hearing healthcare providers because they are proven to work well for patients with all levels of loss. However, a hearing aid wearer should make sure that the sound quality is right for them. The best way for a hearing aid wearer to assess sound quality is to try the hearing aids in daily life situations.
What has really made Phonak stand out the past few years, however, are their Marvel and Paradise Products, which we will talk about more later. First, let’s take a look at how Phonak names it’s hearing aids.
The first part of a Phonak hearing aid name is always related to the physical style. A receiver-in-canal style hearing aid, for example, is always called Audeo. This name stays the same from platform to platform. After the physical style comes the name of the platform. Marvel and Paradise are Phonak’s latest platforms. You can think of platforms as the name for a “generation” of products. So there is an Audeo Marvel, then the next generation of the Audeo aid is the Audeo Paradise. Each platform has hardware and software improvements.
The last part of the name is the technology level. Phonak has three technology levels, 50, 70, and 90. So the latest high-end receiver-in-canal Phonak product is the Audeo Paradise 90, sometimes abbreviated Audeo P90.
If you see a Phonak aid advertised without the platform and level, make sure you know what you are getting because the very first Audeo product was released over 10 years ago!
Phonak Hearing Aids Comparison
|Style||RIC||BTE||Superpower BTE||Custom||Available in all styles||Long-term wear|
|Battery||Built-in Rechargeable or changeable zinc||Built-in Rechargeable or changeable zinc||Built-in Rechargeable or changeable zinc||Changeable zinc||Changeable zinc||Built-in battery that lasts 2-4 months|
|Built-in Bluetooth Connectivity||Yes||Yes||Yes||Sometimes||No||No|
Current Phonak Platforms
Marvel was the first line of products anywhere to offer connectivity via Bluetooth to any cell phone. It doesn’t even have to be a smartphone, which means that your hearing aid selection doesn’t need to dictate your cell phone choice! You can stream phone calls, music, podcasts, or any other sound you want, hands-free, from Bluetooth compatible devices.
Phonak continued to improve on their Marvel line and released its next platform, Paradise. With Paradise, you can use the push buttons on the hearing aids to activate voice recognition, answer and hang up calls, or pause and play audio. Currently, Paradise is only available in Audeo products. Phonak usually releases a new platform in the Audeo style first, and the other hearing aid styles follow soon after. If the style you need is not on the latest platform yet, it’s usually coming soon.
Before Phonak released the Marvel and Paradise products, there were no hearing aids that could stream audio to both ears from any type of Bluetooth device. Most hearing aids streamed only from iPhones.
Phonak Marvel and Paradise products can also be purchased with a telecoil, which is necessary if you want to use the loop systems often found in churches and theaters. With Marvel and Paradise, this means you don’t have to choose just one kind of connectivity.
FYI: If you think you might want a Telecoil, make sure to mention it to your hearing healthcare provider, because not all providers automatically order hearing aids with telecoils.
How to Purchase Phonak Hearing Aids
Although Phonak products are not sold directly to consumers and are purchased through a licensed hearing healthcare provider, Phonak makes it very easy to find providers using the “find a provider” tool on their webpage. Once you have made an appointment, the licensed provider will assess your hearing and provide recommendations about the best products for your hearing needs. When choosing a hearing aid, I always recommend consulting either an audiologist or hearing healthcare provider, as they will have the best advice.
Beware of Third Party Sellers: Although you might see Phonak products for sale on eBay or other websites, resist the temptation to buy them for less by skipping the provider. You would still need to pay a provider to program them to your specific hearing loss, and you don’t know if they are covered under warranty. Ultimately, you might end up spending more money.
At your hearing assessment, the hearing healthcare provider should make recommendations about the style and level of hearing aid that is right for you. The physical styles will vary based on the level of hearing loss. Phonak hearing aids usually cost about $1500-$3000 each. The price varies based on the level of technology and the length of the warranty, as well as what provider services, are included in the purchase. Remember that most people have about the same amount of hearing loss in both ears, and it’s usually advisable to wear hearing aids in both ears, especially for Bluetooth streaming.
A pair of Phonak hearing aids will usually cost about $3,000-$6,000, depending on the style, features, and technology level. Additionally, a Roger system upgrade is advisable if you particularly struggle hearing amidst background noise or multiple talkers. However, each Roger accessory costs $600-800, which can be a sticking point for some.
Alternative to Hearing Aids: Personal sound amplifiers offer an affordable alternative to hearing aids and can work wonders for those with mild to moderate hearing loss.
If you prefer to pay for the purchase over time rather than upfront in full, many hearing healthcare providers offer interest-free financing through medical finance companies. Pricing can vary from provider to provider, as does the quality of care and how much follow-up care is included in the initial price of the hearing aid. We recommend exploring different providers and asking about pricing, services included, and other terms before making a final choice.
Pro Tip: Hearing phone calls in both ears provides better speech understanding than in one ear alone.
Phonak Roger Accessories
Paradise and Marvel products have an integrated Roger receiver. This means that without any additional add-ons, they can connect directly to Roger accessories. These products work better than other remote microphone products because they allow you to participate more easily in multiple talker conversations. Most remote mics clips onto one other person, which is great for one-on-one conversation, but not so great from a table full of people. There are three styles of Roger available.
The Roger Pen is a discrete accessory that – you guessed it – looks like a pen! It can be held by the listener and be discreetly pointed at whichever person is speaking, allowing you the control to quickly switch focus between speakers.
The Roger Select is a disc-shaped mic designed to sit in the middle of a table and facilitate participation in group conversations. The mic itself chooses which speaker to focus on and automatically switches the direction of focus when the speaker changes, meaning that you can get the benefit of multi-talker conversation, hands-free. It allows for streaming from media devices like your TV, making it perfect for in-home use.
Roger Table Mic II
The Roger Table Mic II is similar to the Roger Select but is desired for working professionals participating in meetings. A single mic can be used in a smaller meeting, or multiple mics can be networked together for larger meetings (Think of a conference room with a really long table!).
Both Paradise and Marvel hearing aids can connect to any Bluetooth-compatible phone. If you do have a smartphone, there are additional features you can access through the MyPhonak app. The MyPhonak app can be used as a remote control, hearing aid status tracker, and even to make remote adjustments. You can make volume changes, select programs, and even save your favorite settings.
You can also keep track of your battery charge status and wearing time using the app. Through the remote support feature, the app allows you to access remote programming from your hearing healthcare provider. You can have a virtual appointment to troubleshoot issues, and if you need a minor adjustment, your provider can adjust them remotely in real-time, all through the app, saving you a trip to the office.
Phonak Returns and Warranties
Hearing aids are typically covered under a manufacturer’s warranty for one to four years. It’s important to ask your hearing healthcare provider what the warranty period is. Some providers include their own services (hearing tests, follow up appointments, in-office repairs, etc) in the price of the hearing aid for the duration of the manufacturer’s warranty if you purchased your hearing aids through them, while other hearing healthcare providers might charge less for the hearing aid itself, but also change for each appointment and follow up service. It’s good to discuss which specific services are included at the time of your purchase.
The Phonak warranty is valid globally, which means you can find a provider almost anywhere in the world to service the hearing aids for you if you need a repair in a pinch. Do note, however, that while the repair itself would be covered abroad, there may be additional charges for the hearing healthcare provider.
If after you purchase your hearing aids you find that they are not working for you, all states in the U.S. have some provisional return period, usually at least 30 days. The provider is required to inform you of return policies at the time of purchase.
Phonak hearing aids are some of the best in the industry, and they are priced accordingly. They provide excellent sound quality and connectivity to all Bluetooth phones regardless of make and model. The accessory line up is also a great solution for anyone who struggles with background noise and finds that they need more than hearing aids alone. However, if you are cost-conscious, or want to purchase your hearing aids completely online, then I’d recommend checking out one of the options from Eargo.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Should I use a Phonak hearing aid if I don’t want to use Bluetooth streaming?
Phonak hearing aids are leading in sound quality and can be used as excellent top of the line hearing aids on their own.
- Where can I purchase Phonak hearing aids?
Phonak hearing aids must be purchased through a licensed hearing healthcare professional. You can use the locator on Phonak’s website to find your nearest provider.
- How much do repairs typically cost?
Out-of-warranty hearing aid repairs usually cost between $200-400 if the hearing aid needs to be sent back to the manufacturer. If it is a repair your hearing healthcare provider can change in the office it may cost less.
- How long is the manufacturer’s warranty on a Phonak hearing aid?
The manufacturer’s warranty is at least one year but can be up to three years, and this can vary based on the provider. It’s also usually possible to purchase an extended warranty through Phonak, up to 4 years.