The Starkey Soundlens Synergy is an invisible in the canal (IIC) hearing aid was released last spring and comes in three technology levels. 2400/2400i is the premium, 2000 advanced, and the 1600 is the standard. It has a fitting range of up to 100dB in the high frequencies and comes in either wireless (i2400) or non wireless (2400, 2000, 1600) options.
Based on the Synergy platform the Soundlens utilises Acuity OS 2 as its environmental adaptation system. It comes with a bandwidth up to 10KHz with up to 24 channels for adjusting the fitting parameters. It also offers wireless ear-to-ear communication and access to wireless accessories but this is in the i2400 only.
There is a focus on music with the new Soundlens and they boast unprecedented listening enjoyment. They have created a new prescription which should automatically detect when music is being played and improve the sound quality without the need to manually change program on the hearing aid.
Multiflex tinnitus technology is also standard on all technology levels and can be programmed in to the hearing aid to emit a broadband white noise with varying frequency and amplitude. This can help provide relief from tinnitus and assist with a rehabilitation program.
The Soundlens synergy has become a favourite of mine over the past year or so and is certainly one of the strongest IIC’s on the market at present. It appeals to those who desire a hearing aid that is aesthetically pleasing but still manages to deliver sufficient high quality amplification. I have a handful of customers that tried alternative IIC’s and felt they were lacking clarity and volume but when converting to the Starkey Soundlens Synergy the outcome has been a lot more positive.
The hearing aid always matches target well when verifying and although I have mostly used the 1600 model my patients have commented on the improvement in discriminating speech in noisy situations.
Feedback is the one repeated problem I have faced with the Starkey Soundlens Synergy which is surprising given that Starkey have a reputation of having one of the best feedback cancellation systems on the market. I have had several customers attend on more than one occasion with feedback issues. Customers always seem to report the same thing which is a strange whining sound that appears sporadically, often when eating or yawning. I think this might be the result of sound leaking out of the ear canal and the feedback system trying to suppress it creating a modulation in the gain settings. I have tried to overcome it using their special UV coatings. However, this often leaves them with sore ears as it appears to create a very tight seal. As such, the only resort has been to turn down the volume which is disappointing. This has only impacted on those with hearing thresholds near the upper limits of the hearing aid and so for those with mild-moderate it is perfectly adequate.
Starkey appear to have achieved a fantastic product with the Starkey Soundlens Synergy IIC. It continues to impress both myself and my patients with its first fit performance and sleek, modern design. If it could improve on its feedback management system it would be very difficult to criticise.