The fast pace of hearing care technology and the number of products being introduced can often make it difficult for hearing care professionals to stay current as to what is available. The following New Products Review looks at recently introduced hearing care products. To gain more information on any of these products, circle the appropriate numbers on the postage-paid Reader Service Card on pages 43-44. The information contained on the following pages was supplied by the respective companies upon request of The Hearing Review.
The company’s Multisituation Hearing Solutions provides two new multi-memory products: the Multi-memory QUADRASOUND™ and the Multi-memory OnQue™. The Quadrasound features four diverse signal processors (Linear Class D, Manhattan II, ICL and WDRC) in each instrument. As a multi-memory product, it is designed to deliver the hearing solutions the new wave of customers entering the market demand. The OnQue features two-channel WDRC processing to provide versatility to enhance the wearer’s comfort and ability to hear in even the most diverse listening conditions.
Argosy Electronics, Eden Prairie, MN, 800-328-6105
Audiological Engineering Corp
The company introduces the LTD two-channel Tactilator tactile aid which has been miniaturized into a package less than 1/2 the size of the Tactilator. The unit can be used as an all-purpose aid including speech training and sound awareness, but the processing has been designed to optimally enhance speechreading. The low-channel vibrator presents the real sound signal up to 1 kHz. The high-channel vibrator presents real frequency divided by 8 for frequencies above 6.5 kHz. The absence of signals between 1 K and 6.5 K reportedly enables temporal and voicing information to be utilized. The unit is powered by four AAA batteries.
Audiological Engineering Corp., Somerville, MA, 800-283-4601
ANSI 1996 hearing instrument test software for the RM500 series real-ear hearing aid analyzers is available. This software is designed to incorporate the changes to hearing instrument testing specified in ANSI S3.22-1996 as mandated by the FDA on March 17, 2000. Free software updates are available for most RM500s (installation charge may apply). The Audioscan RE740 Telecoil Test Loop (available as an associated device) incorporates the new Telephone Magnetic Field Simulator required by ANSI 1996. Software updates are provided by the company’s sales and service agents.
Audioscan, Div. of Etymonic, Inc.
Dorchester, Ontario, Canada, 800-265-2093
The ImpaCt DSR-ITE with Dynamic Speech Re-Coding capabilities is available. The programmable ITE, with digital speech analyzer, is designed for individuals with normal-to-moderate hearing loss in the low frequencies and moderately severe-to- profound hearing loss in the high frequencies. The unit has the capability to take high frequency information and proportionally compress it into lower frequencies where individuals have more residual hearing. Initial ImpaCt fittings have been made with a new fitting formula integrated into CFE Version 2.0, the latest version of fitting software. Hearing health care professionals can also program the ITE to operate as a two-, three- or four-program hearing instrument. A Multi-Program Preference module lets the hearing health care professional ask their patient life-style questions, and with the click of a button, multiple programs are set based on user needs.
AVR Sonovation, Eden Prairie, MN, 800-462-8336
The Smile hearing instrument with DSP technology is available in a full digital series from CIC to power BTE hearing instruments. The instruments feature NAL-NL1 fitting rationale designed to maximize speech intelligibility. Smile is reportedly the first instrument to use NAL-NL1 for gain frequency response. Multiple user-control options offer fully automatic operation, local instrument controls or access through an optional remote control.
Bernafon, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN, 888-941-4200
BMT Hearing Products
The Earigator™ automatic cerumen management system is offered. The system was designed by an otologist to assist hearing health care professionals with the removal of ear wax and features fully automatic temperature and pressure controls. Other features include microprocessor temperature & pressure control and fiber optic illumination with magnification for greater visibility. A self-contained, enclosed four-liter reservoir is designed to protect from contamination. The system is designed to be on standby after a short warm up period and features one-person operation with a 3-5 minute procedure. An Earigator™ water catch basin, contoured to rest on the patient’s shoulder, is included and is designed to catch irrigation effluent from the patient’s ear. The unit is designed to fit on a desk or cart for portability. Dimensions of the unit are 15" x 13" x 9" with a weight of 11 lb.
BMT Hearing Products, New Orleans, LA, 800-344-7261
The EL1 plus N2 light-curing unit was recently introduced by the company. The use of nitrogen for the unit is said to replace the LP Cleaner necessary for repolymerization. This is designed to provide clean working conditions for the production of ITE shells along with complete hardening of the ventings and a reported trouble-free application of the adhesive coating. The supply of nitrogen can be controlled in quantity or interrupted completely. In addition to being used to manufacture ITE shells and earmolds, the unit also can be utilized for lacquer works. The light curing unit is available in 110 and 220 V versions.
Egger Otoplast, Kempten, Germany, 610-446-2297
The AudioAim™ Directional Microphone System is available as an option on the Pointe™ programmable, SDM2000™ programmable, Class A Linear, Class D Linear and the new Class D AGC-O circuits. A flip of a toggle switch allows the wearer to choose sound amplification from all directions or focus on sounds coming from the direction the wearer is facing. The new AGC-O circuit features low distortion 8-to-1 output compression and includes an output compression potentiometer. An active low frequency potentiometer is optional. The circuit is available with the directional microphone system.
Electone, Inc., Longwood, FL, 800-432-7483
The company announces the release of its new product line of lead wires featuring the flexibility of copper and the conductivity of silver. The core material is pure copper, plated with a 2% fine silver coating. No cadmium, nickel or beryllium is used. The wire features a first layer of polyurethane enamel to obtain easy solderability and insulation of the core material. The second layer is a topcoat of nylon to gain better protection from chemicals and sweat. The topcoat adds flexibility and smoothness to the wire to help prevent micro cracks when the wire is bent over sharp edges. The wires are available in the colors black, green, yellow, blue, and red and sizes 6/44 AWG (6 x 0.05mm) and 7/44 AWG (7 x 0.05mm). SEE AD ON PAGE 73.
estron a/s, Them, Denmark, 45 8684 8844
Four Point Design
The Loud-R is an amplified cordless telephone featuring a slide-on-the-side volume control. An incoming voice can be amplified as high as 32 dB and the volume is continuously adjustable as the individual listens. The telephone operates on 900 MHz which allows the individual to be several hundred feet from the telephone’s base to make or receive a call with the handset.
Four Point Design, Inc., Newton, CT, 203-270-0226
The FONIX FP35 Hearing Aid Analyzer is a lightweight instrument designed to provide sound chamber measurements and optional real-ear fitting and measurement capability. Upgrades are made through a computer connection. Software development is ongoing. Improvements will be provided free of charge throughout the year, according to the company. The entire unit can also be operated through a computer using the WinCHAP program. .
Frye Electronics, Inc., Tigard, OR, 800-547-8209
Global Assistive Devices
The new Megaphone is a strap-on telephone amplifier with 30 dB gain. The unit features an easy-to-adjust volume control and is designed to boost the sound on any standard telephone. The amplifier is powered by one standard AA battery and can be used by hearing instrument wearers with a “T” switch, as well as non-hearing instrument wearers. The Megaphone is made to CE standards and is backed by a one-year warranty.
Global Assistive Devices, Inc., Fort Lauderdale, FL, 888-778-4237
Both the Danalogic and the Digital 5000 product lines have been expanded to include digital CIC products. The Danalogic CIC has a contour faceplate design and incorporates the 14-band wide dynamic range compression features of Danalogic, in addition to upgraded noise reduction software and digital feedback suppression software. The Digital 5000 CIC incorporates the software-based technology of the Digital 5000 series, with enhanced digital feedback suppression software, 14-band wide dynamic range compression, and Digital 5000 noise reduction software. These products are software-based and can be downloaded with any one or combination of digital performance algorithms via either Danafit software or Resource II software, both NOAH compatible.
GN ReSound, Minnetonka, MN, 800-432-7835
The company has several new products available in their catalog. Catalog No. 3485 is a universal hearing screener (Noise Stik II™ Model EB-23) designed primarily for subjective testing of infants, toddlers and older persons not able to respond manually to auditory stimulus. Catalog No. 3484 is a pediatric hearing screener (Noise Stik™ Model EB-22) for hearing tests in hospitals, baby clinics, doctor’s office and in the home. The screener operates on the principle of infant reflex response to sound stimuli. Catalog No. 3487 is the Dry & Store moisture control system which is an electrical appliance for removal of moisture as well as sanitizing hearing instruments. Catalog 3463 is the Watch Minder System assistive device for alerting the hearing impaired via vibrations.
Hal-Hen Company, Inc., Garden City Park, NY, 800-242-5436
HARC® Mercantile Ltd.
The DemoStation™ features pull-out shelves, fully functional built-in six-station telephone system with dial tone, ring-up and talk path, a built-in telephone ring generator and many electrical outlets. A TV/VCR also is included. Large heavy-duty casters allow the unit to be moved easily from location to location. On-site delivery, set-up, orientation and product training is available.
HARC Mercantile Ltd., Portage, MI, 800-GET-HARC
One of a number of new products in the company’s catalog, the Pocket Speak & Read VCO Phone is designed to easily attach to mobile phones, pay phones, cordless phones and call boxes. After attaching the unit to a phone, simply call a state relay service, talk into the mouthpiece and read responses.The portable unit comes with its own carrying case. A catalog of new products is available upon request.
Harris Communications, Eden Prairie, MN, 800-825-6758
The OtoWizard is an all-in-one software package specifically developed to display clinical data in such a matter as to provide patients with a better understanding as to the need for amplification. The unit integrates video otoscopy, audiometry, speech testing, advanced real-ear measurements, dual-channel master hearing aid and hearing instrument testing. The company has also developed specialized REM tests that include live speech mapping said to be essential for fitting hi-tech products and a protocol for measuring and identifying occlusion. The Hearing Loss Simulator was designed to allow a hearing individual to experience some of the listening difficulties the hearing impaired are challenged with in a variety of listening situations. The Active Audiogram on the Hearing Loss Simulator can be modified to simulate an improvement or reduction in hearing ability. .
MedRx, Inc., Seminole, FL, 888-392-1234
The Chameleon sound-level meter is designed to adapt to the needs of both novice and advanced users. It comes standard with Feature Pack 1 which provides the basic functions of a sound level meter. Additional Feature Packs are available to expand the meter’s functionality (upgradable via Internet). The unit is lightweight and features an ergonomic design. It reportedly operates for 40 hours on a 9 volt alkaline battery and has a five minute "Get up and Go" guarantee.
Metrosonics, Inc., Rochester, NY, 800-654-7778
SafeTouch Cerumen Removal Tools are available from the company. SafeTouch Curettes and safety syringes have patented features to enable the hearing health care professional to remove cerumen easily and more comfortably. Included in the product line are curettes packaged in a flip-top, color-coded dispenser and Ear Hygiene wax softener. A patented safety color keeps the syringe tip at the correct insertion depth. The faceted handle on the cerumen removal tool is designed to provide good control.
Microsonic, Inc., Ambridge, PA, 877-376-7139
The Titanium BTE with Nx2 is a miniature WDRC hearing instrument with a cylindrical titanium case. The titanium case is designed to offer resistance to moisture and provide maximum shielding from electro-magnetic fields like those associated with digital cell phones. The Nx2 is a programmable circuit combining dual-band versatility with a Resonance Booster. The company also offers the NxN, a non-programmable counterpart to the Nx2. This circuit features the flexibility of the original Nx2, in a package for individuals who prefer conventional instruments. Both of these circuits can be combined with DiRx, the company’s patented dual-microphone directional system (Patent 5,757,933). The supercardioid polar pattern produced by the DiRx is designed to reduce noise from the back and sides, offering improved understanding in noise.
Micro-Tech Hearing Instruments, Plymouth, MN, 800-635-3455
Audiowipes® Singles, individually wrapped disinfectant towellettes for hearing instruments, earmolds and headphones, are offered. The singles are said to be suitable for samples, presentation kits and travel bags. Audiowipes’ formula is designed not to hurt plastic, rubber, silicone, acrylic or the patient. The company also introduces Sporox® (7.5% hydrogen peroxide) chemical sterilant. This product contains no glutaraldehyde but has recently been approved as a cold sterilant.
Oaktree Products, Inc., Chesterfield, MO, 800-347-1960
Omni Hearing Systems
Gemini is the newest member of the company’s line of digital instruments. The instrument features SoundScapes digital technology including feedback management algorithm, custom filter design, in situ audiometry and an expanded dynamic range. Designed with flexible compression characteristics, this instrument can be programmable with wide dynamic range compression (WDRC) and/or output compression limiting (OCL). The instrument is available in full shell through completely-in-the canal (CIC) models. Options include a rotary digital volume control, programmable telecoil and single or multimemory. Programming capabilities are available via NOAH compatible or stand-alone Professional Fitting Software (PFS).
Omni Hearing Systems, Carrollton, TX, 800-527-0872
Two new digital products are offered by the company. The Digifocus II Compact Power BTE is designed for persons with moderate and severe hearing losses. This new digital instrument offers enhanced audibility and speech intelligibility, featuring three elements that specifically address the needs of power instrument wearers: fully automatic operation plus programmable user volume control, ASA2p, an extension of the ASA2 speech rationale for severe hearing losses, and the fitting flexibility to fit a wider range of client needs. Digilife.com is a series of digital hearing instruments supported via the Internet. From CIC to BTE, Digilife.com instruments are designed to be easy to fit and easy to use. Digilife.com is also a consumer-oriented website providing educational resources about hearing loss and hearing instruments. The website offers new communication and business tools for hearing health care professionals. The Digilife.com Hearing Center Locator helps people find hearing care professionals in their community.
Oticon, Inc., Somerset, NJ, 800-526-3921
Claro™ is a 100% digital signal processing hearing instrument using cochlea-like digital perception process (DPP) and adaptive digital AudioZoom™ (dAZ). Features include: automatic program selection, automatic AudioZoom™ and automatic feedback control. Claro is available in ITE, ITC and BTE models with on-board program button and optional SoundPilot™ remote control. MicroLink™ MLx is a miniaturized, wireless FM receiver designed to be compatible with a variety of BTE hearing instruments. The small, cube-shaped MLx is designed to attach directly to the base of the audio shoe and receive the signal from the company’s TX3 HandyMic.
Phonak, Inc., Warrenville, IL, 800-777-7333
The DSP Demonstrator is a small body worn unit which allows the user to experience the features and sound quality of the Sapphire DSP hearing instrument. Sapphire processing provides the option of Wide Dynamic Range Compression and/or Output Compression Limiting. People with reduced dynamic ranges of hearing, as well as previous linear instrument users who desire the sensation of power, can be fit with Sapphire. A Feedback Management Algorithm is designed to help eliminate feedback at the time of the fitting without compromising audibility. The DSP demonstrator is built with the multi-memory option and is programmed with PFS software.
Qualitone, Minneaplis, MN, 800-328-3897
The company offers ULTRA Pro Line® hearing instrument batteries featuring a patented thin metal construction to help the batteries last up to 30% longer. The Pro Line packaging features new graphics and ULTRA sub-branding. Rayovac ULTRA Pro Line offers year-round promotion and free marketing support to hearing health care professionals. It also offers personalized battery clubs, greeting cards, patient mailings, office signage and point-of-purchase display units.
Rayovac Corp., Madison WI, 800-356-7422
Rexton 3D digital hearing instruments are available in a full line of models from CIC to BTE. The instruments incorporate a three-channel, six-band processing system with three independently programmable memories for maximum fitting control. Multi-channel processing and individual frequency band adjustments are designed to maximize the hearing health care professional’s ability to fine tune the unit. Other features include six-band Sensitive Voice Processing, six-band Frequency Response Shaping, Microphone Noise Reduction and an Adaptive Feedback Suppression System. Rexton 3D’s programming platform, Connexx, helps optimize fittings with three different adjustment options. A directional/omni-directional microphone option allows individuals to focus on sound directly in front of them or from all around with a push of a button for optimal understanding in noisy situations.
Rexton, Inc., Plymouth, MN, 800-876-1141
Rion Company Ltd
A new behind-the-ear (BTE) hearing instrument, the HB-56P, has been developed by the company. The BTE is said to be suitable for moderate to severe hearing losses and features a sweat-resistant construction that is designed to minimize the chance of perspiration or other moisture entering the unit. The HB-56P offers 210 hours of battery life with a 13A battery. An “eitherway” battery compartment allows inserting the battery without have to worry about plus (+) and minus (-) orientation. A direct audio input is provided as standard equipment.
Rion Company Ltd., Apple Valley, MN, 612-891-8968
Sennheiser Electronic Corp
The DirectEar™ SET100 is a personal, assistive listening infrared system operating at 95 kHz. The device features the TI100 transmitter, RI100 stethophone receiver and a rechargeable battery. The transmitter provides a radiating power of 435 sq. ft. and connects directly into the audio output of a TV, VCR or compatible audio source via an RCA plug with 1/8" mono mini plug adapter. An automatic gain control ensures optimal transmission. The RI100 is a lightweight (1.6 oz) receiver with a large-diameter volume control, individual left/right balance controls and tone adjustment.
Sennheiser Electronic Corp., Old Lyme, CT, 860-434-9190
Siemens Hearing Instruments
The Signia™ digital hearing instrument is available in CIC, ITC, ITE and BTE models and utilizes ConTrast™, an artificial intelligence system (patent-pending) that monitors the input signal, analyzes it and decides how to process the sound. Signia features include Environmental Noise Reduction, Transitory Signal Enhancement, two-stage Anti-Feedback System and multichannel control of gain, kneepoint, compression type and compression ratio. The instrument also offers improved performance with cordless and cellular phones. The company’s directional TwinMic™ system, available on ITEs and BTEs , lets the wearer decide whether to focus on sound coming from directly in front or pick up sound from all directions. Signia is configured using PC-based, NOAH-compatible CONNEXX™ software. The company also recently introduced the Practice Navigator™ office management system which is a 32-bit application built on the Sybase SQL Anywhere™ database platform that is compatible with the new NOAH version 3.0 software. The new system offers integration of everything from patient demographics and scheduling to ordering, repairs and accounting. It is designed to support network environments along with data synchronization and replication to support multi-office practices. The new system replaces the company’s current office management software known as OMS. Data conversion will be available from OMS and HearWare, as well as for other existing applications.
Siemens Hearing Instruments, Piscataway, NJ, 800-766-4500
Songbird’s disposable hearing instruments are designed to begin a new era in hearing care. This disposable product is designed to provide a series of technological advances that address the needs of both the consumer and the hearing care professional.
Songbird Medical, Cranbury, NJ, 609-409-4500
The CONFORMA 100% digital hearing instrument is an in-office customizable CIC that allows the hearing health care professional to fit and program the CIC specifically to the individual’s ear canal and hearing loss in just one office visit. The unit consists of two components: the hearing instrument and disposable soft shell. The disposable soft shell is designed to fit securely around the instrument, allowing it to fit comfortably in the ear canal. NATURA 2™ and NATURA 2 SE are available in CIC, ITC and ITE styles. Natura 2 SE features personalized Noise Reduction technology. This patent-pending technology is based on an adaptive algorithm that processes signals in real-time, constantly monitoring sound levels. Once engaged, it reduces the amplitude of the noise without altering the amplitude of the speech, thus optimizing the signal-to-noise ratio.
SONIC innovations, Salt Lake City, UT, 888-423-7834
The new Aries D13 Mini Digital BTE is a nine-channel DSP instrument featuring WDRC with Expansion Technology. The nine independent narrow band channels are adjustable in 1 dB increments at half-octave intervals from 500-8000 Hz. In Situ Loudness Verification is accomplished by utilizing a built-in signal generator to administer pure tones within each channel for the 50 and 90 dB input curves to verify that the tones sound equally loud. Comprehensive programming capabilities are attained via the NOAH compatible or stand-alone Professional Fitting System (PFS) software from Starkey. The company has also released a new line of digital hearing instruments. DigiStar products feature the latest advancements in digital signal processing. The DigiStar family includes the new Gemini Digital Hearing System featuring SoundScapes™ signal processing for a wider dynamic range, the Aries Digital Hearing System featuring nine independently programmable narrow band channels for a closer emulation of inner ear dynamics and the Cetera Digital Hearing System, cerebral auditory assistant. .
Starkey Laboratories, Inc., Eden Prairie, MN, 800-328-8602
The Select™ FM BTEs now offer three new translucent colors for the Select 1-40s and 2-40s: blueberry, raspberry and rootbeer. The products also offer narrow band channels available in the 72-76 MHz range. The ClassMate SF-50 Soundfield System is an FM wireless system which amplifies the teacher’s voice 10-12 dB above the classroom’s background noise level. Its wired 4-speaker system is designed to evenly distribute sound levels throughout the learning environment and decrease interference, which can be caused by delayed or reverberated sound energy. A wireless lapel microphone and necessary hardware are included. The ClassMate™ Sound-Buddy is a "Soundfield-to-go." The battery-operated, rechargeable, portable system features 16 user-selectable channels operating on wide-band frequencies between 72-76 MHz. The system offers a water resistant all-weather speaker and includes a denier nylon zip-top bag. It is designed to be suitable for use with mild-to-moderate losses and cochlear implants.
Telex Communications, Minneapolis, MN, 800-328-3102
Cushion-Aid™ are semi-circular pads made of soft, thin foam with adhesive on one side. The foam provides a cushion of comfort and helps keep the BTE in place, while at the same time absorbing moisture before it reaches the instrument. To use, the pad is cut to fit the specific instrument, the paper is peeled back, and the pad is pressed into place. Cushion-Aids are available in an individual package of 24 pads, or in a counter-top display with 12 packages.
Westone Laboratories, Inc., Colorado Springs, CO, 800-525-5071
Widex Hearing Aid Company
The A3 Digital mini-BTE features high-level compression which automatically maximizes speech intelligibility and listening comfort at high-level inputs. It also features a two-channel digital signal processor (DSP), three digital trimmers (HTL, LOW, HTL HIGH, UCL) each with eight possible programmable settings; varioslope filters and a standard digital volume control (+/- 12 dB). The unit has a beep-tone indicator, activated when volume is adjusted and there are M, MT and T settings available. The microphone and telecoil inputs each have their own Sigma-Delta converter. The device also is direct audio input compatible. SEE ADS ON CV1, CV2 & CV 3.
Widex Hearing Aid Company, Garden City Park, NY, 800-221-0188