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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Phonak Introduces Marvel Hearing Aids with Real-Time Support and Voice-to-Text Transcription

Phonak_Audeo_Marvel_5_charger_1810_LR.jpgPhonak has launched Marvel, a revolutionary hearing aid family that combines the benefits of exceptional speech understanding and reduced listening effort in noise with the ability to stream all audio content seamlessly from iPhone, Android smartphone or billions of other Bluetooth enabled devices to both ears in stereo quality. Marvel hearing aids are rechargeable and empower consumers to benefit from remote real-time support via smart apps as well as real-time voice-to-text transcription of phone calls. It has the AutoSense OS™ 3.0 operating system which was developed with artificial intelligence to provide exceptional sound quality from the first fit, better speech understanding in noise, reduced listening effort, and rich sound experience when streaming. The Phonak Audéo™ M will be the first Marvel hearing aid to feature this breakthrough technology.

The Marvel hearing aids include the following features:

  • Wearers can stream any audio content, including music, eBooks, and more to both ears from any Bluetooth device
  • Built-in microphones allow completely hands-free phone conversations from both iPhone and Android devices while the conversation is heard in both ears
  • Lithium-Ion rechargeable option available for a full day of hearing including streaming on a single charge
  • Smart apps enable remote fine-tuning and live voice-to-text phone transcriptions

Sound quality

AutoSense OS 3.0 was developed using artificial intelligence, to automatically learn, detect and adapt, providing the best hearing experience in any listening environment.

With Marvel technology, AutoSense OS 3.0 can even classify streamed media. In a recent study1, Audéo M was top-rated for quality of streaming media against five competitors. The enhanced operating system also includes Binaural VoiceStream Technology™ into Marvel hearing aids. This highly-sophisticated four-microphone technology has been proven to significantly improve speech understanding by 60%2 in noisy places like restaurants while simultaneously reducing the amount of effort by 19%3 required to listen and understand.

"Audiology is at the heart of everything we do at Phonak." said Martin Grieder, Group Vice President, Hearing Instruments Marketing at Sonova. "That's why Marvel is such a game-changer for our industry. Marvel technology empowers people and provides a true "love at first sound" experience. We believe the sound quality is second to none, and it begins the moment the person puts the hearing aids on."

Stream from iOS, Android and billions of Bluetooth devices

The Android operating system accounts for 86%4 of all smartphones worldwide, yet until today, binaural (two-ear) streaming of phone calls, music, and other multimedia content directly to hearing aids has only been a reality for iPhone users, who only account for 13% of smartphone owners worldwide. Empowering all consumers regardless of the smartphone operating system has been a driving force behind Phonak. Audéo M is capable of direct audio streaming from virtually any smartphone around the world.

"For years, the hearing aid industry has waited for a single solution that streams phone conversations, music, and video content in stereo from both iPhone and Android devices," said Thomas Lang, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Phonak. "Today, we're proud to announce that the wait is over. Marvel technology gives wearers access to billions of Bluetooth-enabled devices, so people no longer have to think about whether their hearing aids will work with their phones or other personal electronics."

Continuing the rechargeable revolution

There are numerous benefits to not having to change tiny hearing aid batteries, not only for people with vision or dexterity challenges. In fact, rechargeable hearing aids are cited as the top feature most likely to attract potential first-time hearing aid wearers5. In 2016, Phonak released the world's first lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids and set new standards for efficiency and convenience.

With Marvel hearing aids wearers can enjoy a full day of hearing - including streaming - on a single charge. The Audéo M rechargeable hearing aid turns on automatically when taken out of the charger. Integrated LED lights and a new mini charger provide the usability people expect.

Enhancing the user experience with smart apps

With Marvel hearing aids comes the introduction of a suite of convenient smart apps. The myPhonak app allows wearers to have their hearing aids adjusted in real-time, in any situation, anywhere via video call by the hearing care professional. It also gives consumers the ability to rate their hearing aid satisfaction in various environments and directly send this feedback to their hearing care professional. Finally, the myCall-to-Text app provides live transcription of phone calls from the other party in more than 80 languages. This is an ideal solution for noisy environments, or for people who prefer additional visual captions when using the phone.

The Audéo M will be available in the U.S. beginning the end of November. The new hearing aids are also RogerDirect™ ready, meaning they can receive signals from Roger™ microphones directly and without attaching a separate receiver in the future for better understanding in noise and over distance. RogerDirect functionality will be available as a firmware upgrade in Fall 2019.

REFERENCES:

  1. Legarth, S., Latzel, M., & Rodrigues, T. (2018). Media streaming: The sound quality wearers prefer. Phonak Field Study News, retrieved from www.phonakpro.com/evidence
  2. Field Study News about Phonak StereoZoom in preparation, available by end of 2018 at www.phonakpro.com/evidence.
  3. Winneke, A., Latzel, M., & Appleton-Huber, J. (2018). Less listening- and memory effort in noisy situations with StereoZoom. Phonak Field Study News, retrieved from www.phonakpro.com/evidence
  4. Global mobile landscape 2016, eMarketer, November 2016
  5. Marketrak 2015, asked of non-owners only (n=2099) – multiple responses allowed