In recent years, the manufacturers Phonak and Starkey have taken enormous steps to take their products to the next level. In addition to the hearing aid being used to remedy hearing loss, the hearing aids are increasingly turning into a gadget. Almost all hearing aids from Phonak and Starkey contain (direct) streaming, which means that you can pair the hearing aids with the smartphone. As a result, you receive the phone call directly to your hearing aids and you can listen to music or a podcast through the hearing aids in a relaxed manner.
Because the microphones of the hearing aids remain active, you are not completely cut off from the environment. The Starkey Livio AI is a Made For Iphone (MFI) device, this means that the direct streaming is only possible with an Iphone. If you have an Android phone and also want to use the streaming functions, you can use a Starkey Remote Microphone +. The biggest advantage of an MFI device is that the connection requires much less power from both the hearing aid and the smartphone. The connection between hearing aid and smartphone is also a lot more stable. The Phonak Audeo Paradise uses different versions of Bluetooth, making this hearing aid suitable for both the Iphone as the Android. The disadvantage of this is that despite they use Low Energy Bluetooth, it still consumes more power from both the hearing aid and the smartphone compared to MFI hearing aids. Due to the connection with Bluetooth, the connection with the hearing aid and the smartphone is not always stable.
MyPhonak and the Thrive app
Phonak and Starkey have also about an app, with this you can (temporarily) adjust settings on the hearing aid and you are less dependent on the hearing care professional. In both the Phonak and Starkey app are the following functions: adjust volume, equalizer (adjust bass / mid / treble), create manual programs, how much ambient sounds come through. The great thing is that the hearing care professional can remotely adjust the hearing aids via the app. But the Starkey Thrive app is many times better and more extensive than the MyPhonak app. Starkey also focuses on the health of the hearing aid user. The Thrive app contains a pedometer, mental activities are tracked, fall detection and alarms. In addition to health, the Thrive app can also be used to convert speech to text, translation function (available for 27 languages) and reminders when appointments have to be scheduled or other personal tasks. In addition to a hearing aid, the Starkey Livio AI is also a gadget with a personal assistant.
You can choose from both manufacturers whether you want a hearing aid with a battery or the rechargeable version. The advantage of the rechargeable hearing aids is that you do not have to worry that the battery will suddenly run out during a telephone conversation or during a dinner. With both Phonak and Starkey, the hearing aid battery lasts 24 hours, if you use streaming about 15 hours. The great thing about Starkey is that they also have a Mini Turbo charger, with which you can charge the batteries quickly. If you put the hearing aids in for 7 minutes, the battery can last for 3.5 hours. This is ideal so that you can quickly charge the hearing aids in between in case you are afraid that you will not make it through the day.
The sound quality
Our hearing care professionals get a lot of positive feedback from the sound quality of both Phonak and Starkey. In recent years, manufacturers have paid a lot of attention to maintain comfort without compromising speech understanding. Phonak has a slightly warmer undertone and Starkey has a very clear sound. Sound is incredibly personal and what one person thinks is great is terrible for another. We notice that the clarity in the sound does ensure better speech understanding in a noisy situation, which makes Starkey stand out more compared to Phonak.