The right hearing aid can completely change the way you live. However, finding the most appropriate model for your ear can be a challenge. Not only are there many brands to choose from, but there are also various configurations that work in different ways. If you’re unsure where to start, this guide may help you decide if Phonak hearing aids are for you.
Phonak Product Overview
Including Phonak’s hearing aids and accessories, the company manufactures dozens of products. Features and pricing depend on the type of device you choose. If you’ve been looking into hearing aids already, you’ve probably heard each style referred to by several different names. Phonak sticks to four basic categories:
- In-the-ear (ITE)
- Behind-the-ear (BTE)
- Receiver-in-ear (RIC)
Some models contain rechargeable batteries, while others use zinc-air batteries. Wireless connectivity is also an option in some products, though not all. The one common feature across all Phonak hearing aids is a wide range of color choices. Visible devices use mostly skin tones; discreet models may come in red, blue or other bold colors.
To understand what each device category has to offer, the brand’s most popular products have been highlighted below. Read through each option to determine what’s best for your ears.
ITE hearing aids are custom-molded to fit snugly into your ear. Phonak has two main products that fall under this category: the Virto B and the CROS B.
The Virto B series uses a unique feature called Biometric Calibration. This allows the hearing aid to adapt to the specific ear anatomy of each wearer. Approximately 1,600 data points are collected to make it a truly customized piece of equipment. There are several models within this series, all made with zinc-air batteries. Many of them also come with wireless capabilities, so that you can stream phone calls and other media directly to the hearing aid.
The Phonak CROS B technology takes any sound that filters through the wearer’s good ear and transmits it to the bad ear’s receiver. The device can also take in surrounding noises and adapt its settings to suit the situation. The CROS B comes in both ITE and BTE models; the ITE options both use zinc-air batteries.
As the name suggests, BTE hearing aids nestle behind the ear. All device components are held within this piece, while a small tube snakes around the ear and stops just outside the canal. Phonak products here include Bolero B, CROS B and Naida B.
With a Bolero B hearing device, the user does not need to manually adjust the settings as noise levels change. Most of the models in this series use zinc-air batteries, but there is one lithium-ion option that can be recharged.
The CROS B hearing aids use the same technology as their ITE counterparts. The biggest difference here is the addition of the rechargeable battery.
The Naida B BTE models are designed for both moderate and severe hearing loss. Phonak’s SoundRecover2 feature works with both low- and high-pitched noises to improve clarity and sound detection. The company recommends pairing it with one of its microphone accessories to assist in areas with a lot of background noise.
An RIC hearing aid is similar to a BTE. The difference is that RIC devices have a speaker at the end of the tube component, and it rests inside the ear canal. The two main product lines that Phonak has developed for this style are Audeo B and Naida B.
The Audeo product line is diverse in its offerings. The Audeo B-Direct option connects to your cell phone using Bluetooth, so any calls come straight through to your hearing aid. Another choice in this series is the Audeo B-R, which has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that should last you all day.
While the Naida B is available in BTE and RIC configurations, the latter is enhanced by a rechargeable battery. Like the BTE versions, it also contains the SoundRecover2 technology.
The last category of hearing aids that Phonak offers is known as invisible. This is an innovative piece of equipment that slides into the ear canal and disappears. The Lyric hearing aid is Phonak’s only choice in this style.
The most enticing features of the Lyric is that it can be worn for months at a time without removal. It rests quite close to the ear drum, so sound is magnified and comes in clearly. This model is unique in that it’s placed and removed by a medical professional rather than the user. It goes in deep enough that it cannot be seen at all.
Another interesting difference between the Lyric and Phonak’s other models is that it uses a subscription service. Because the hearing aid has no battery, the company sends out new devices in regular intervals. The constant replacement ensures it stays in good working order with relevant updates made to the software.
Phonak also sells a good selection of accessories to help in extreme situations where noise levels are especially loud and chaotic. The basic products include the following:
- Media adaptors
The commonality between these accessories is that they’re able to take in sound and direct it to the speaker in the hearing aid. Media adaptors essentially turn a hearing aid into an earbud; music and television audio are piped through without anyone else hearing it.
Phonak’s microphones come in many different forms, including clip-ons and pens. These are designed for one-to-one conversations in crowded areas. With most of this equipment, you’ll need a receiver to help the accessory communicate with your hearing aid.
Because hearing-aid selection is funneled through audiologists and hearing clinics, Phonak does not sell directly to consumer. This means that pricing information varies from doctor to doctor, and you’re better off reaching out to your chosen clinic with questions about the cost. However, in general, you can expect to spend the following on these features:
|Basic||Inexpensive; good interior sound quality||$1,500 – $3,500|
|Mid-Level||Interior and exterior sound detection; automatic setting adjustments||$3,000 – $5,000|
|Premium||Wireless capabilities; background-noise filter||$5,000 – $6,500|
These costs are per pair, but you may only require a hearing aid for one ear. Though the Lyric is handled through a subscription, the amount you pay still depends on your location. The company does offer a 30-day trial of this program, however. Ask your audiologist if it’s something you’re interested in trying.
You may be able to get reimbursement through your insurance company, depending on your policy. Get in touch with your agent to discuss your coverage.
As you continue to search for the perfect hearing aid, check out our other product guides to help you compare your options. We also have accurate information on senior housing, care, medical alert systems and discounts. Browse through our website or contact us with specific questions. You can also check out the Phonak hearing aid review here.