No visual indicator for on/off switch
Signia Pure Charge & Go Rechargeable Hearing Aid Review
The Safe Choice
I always used to think Signia, previously Siemens, played it safe. They never really pushed the market forward. Instead, they sat safely out of the spotlight. They have always done everything well though, and their products are generally very reliable. This is why they are widely adopted by the NHS and large chains. Over the last couple of years, my opinion has definitely changed.
The Shake Up
Since Sivantos purchased Siemens we’ve seen a shift in the way they operate; a dramatic one.
Over the past couple of years they have produced innovative products like the highly acclaimed Signia Silk, an instant fit in-ear device. They were also the first, along with Phonak, to introduce lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids on the market to last a full 24 hours after each charge.
Skip forward to today and they have improved on this even further with the Signia Pure Charge & Go NX which has the world’s first ‘own voice processing’ feature, iPhone connectivity, AND binaural processing. Not only that, but they guarantee each charge will last a full day. I’m not quite sure how they have achieved this but the only thing I can think of is witchcraft and wizardry.
Own Voice Processing
Own voice processing is a feature which makes our own voice sound more natural when wearing hearing aids.
There is a high probability that when you put on a hearing aid for the first time you will notice your own voice sounding different. This is because you are picking your voice up through the microphones on the hearing aid. It isn’t a natural way of hearing ourselves. It can make our voice sound echoey and shallow.
This effect gets worse if we close the ear off. Therefore, wherever possible, we put vents in moulds and domes, so the ears can breathe, and we can maintain a natural feel.
With own voice processing, we calibrate the hearing aid to recognise your own voice. After calibration it behaves differently and will make your voice a more comfortable, natural level. This results in quicker acclimatisation times and a higher first fit satisfaction.
I was a little sceptical about it at first, thinking that it can’t make much of a difference, but after trying it first-hand the effect is quite dramatic. With users out on trial they noticed an immediate improvement in own voice quality.
There are of course limitations to this technology. Wearing a hat or being too near to a wall can affect how efficient the technology is. I’m sure this is something that will improve in future but as a first-generation solution I am very impressed.
Ear-to-Ear and Bluetooth
The Signia Pure Charge & Go NX is the first to combine full bandwidth ear-to-ear communication and Bluetooth processing in one device. This means that the hearing aids still maintain the ability to process speech in very loud noise despite the introduction of the bluetooth chip, something that hasn’t been achieved before. The difficulty has always been battery drain. Somehow though, Signia have pull it out the bag. I expected there to be a compromise on hearing aid performance, but I am yet to find it.
The app itself is quite basic compared to some of the other manufacturers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it means understanding the controls is easier.
My experience with the other additional features has been quite limited so far but I will keep you updated as I learn more over time.
The latest software for programming the hearing aids is very intuitive. They clearly put a lot of time and effort in to making the workflow seamless. I’ve had great feedback so far from my clients. The sound quality is reportedly good and the main selling feature over and above the Phonak Rechargeable hearing aid is the auto on/off feature when charging.
I also love the new intelligent receivers they are using. The devices recognise if you are using the wrong receiver and prevents human error when switching them over. I can see a future for this advanced communication between device and receiver. It would allow for real-time monitoring of auditory output, perhaps advising the user that the wax filters are blocked through the app.
My biggest complaint is the lack of clarity when the device is on or off. The Phonak Rechargeable has a lovely transparent button which flashes either once or twice to advise if it is activated. On the Signia you rely on listening to the startup/shutdown melody which can make it difficult in a noisy situation for carers or professionals.
I also feel that, although Sivantos have massively improved on innovation and technology, the overall look of the Signia Pure Charge and Go NX is a little lacklustre. The Signia feels solid but it lacks originality in the design and colour range.
The Signia Pure Charge & Go NX has demonstrated real strength and ingenuity ahead of its time. Signia has gone from a follower to a leader in technological advancements. The question is, has it got on to our best buy list and is it better than the Phonak Audeo Belong Rechargeable? To find out, BOOK IN at one of our clinics today to talk with one of our associated audiologists.
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