Customs Made by ReSound is a custom-fit in-ear hearing aid that offers rechargeability and native Bluetooth streaming for iPhone and Android. Customs resemble a modern set of true wireless earbuds, but offer a full suite of advanced hearing aid technologies, and cost between $4,800 to $7,000 per pair, depending on how many advanced features you need—or want.
Every ear is different. Built for all-day use and comfort, Customs are robust, medical-grade hearing aids that complement GN’s new over-the-counter (OTC) solution, Jabra Enhance Plus. But unlike Jabra Enhance Plus, Customs rely on exact renderings of both ear canals—taken digitally or using silicone impression material—to build hearing aids that fit the unique shape of your ears. As such, they’re designed to be worn comfortably and confidently all day long.
HearingTracker Audiologist Matthew Allsop provides his initial reaction to Custom by ReSound. Closed captions are available on this video. If you are using a mobile phone, please enable captions clicking on the gear icon.
Because ReSound introduced its custom Quattro hearing aids more than two years ago, it is fair to say they’ve needed an upgrade for some time. What makes me say that? Recent custom hearing aid launches by rivals Phonak, Signia, and Starkey have introduced new options for hearing aid users in recent years—offering slick looking devices that bridge the gap between hearing aids, hearables, and headphones. That’s why I would argue that ReSound has lagged somewhat behind in this type of hearing aid.
Well, at least up until now. Here's what's new about Customs.
New technology of Custom by ReSound
- The push button on the Customs by ReSound hearing aid—accessible over most of the surface of the faceplate— looks like what you’d expect from a high-tech earbud
- The charger for Customs by ReSound is also custom; it has inserts that are custom made to exactly match the shape of each hearing aid for seamless, reliable charging—and the aids offer up to 24 hours on a single charge for all-day use
- ReSound says the new device offers up to a 30% improvement in speech understanding in noise and 1-2 dB more directional benefit compared to its previous legacy products
Custom by ReSound features a sleek high-tech design with a central button on its faceplate.
Look and feel of Custom by ReSound
My initial impression of the new ReSound custom hearing aids is that they are just stunning. Why do I believe they look so good, exactly? Because they don't resemble hearing aids at all.
Customs by ReSound is (dare I say it?) cool. And, according to ReSound, 58% of people with hearing problems have tried earbuds or headphones before investing in hearing aids. That explains why ReSound teamed up with their sister company, Jabra—a leader in wireless earbuds and headsets—to release an advanced custom hearing aid that looks the way it does.
Customs are available as a discreet completely-in-canal (CIC) factor or in the larger in-the-canal (ITC) or even larger in-the-ear (ITE) format. Just keep in mind that the tiny CIC form factor doesn't offer all of the same functionality, due to space limitations.
Customs by ReSound styles include (clockwise from top-left) Completely-in-Canal (CIC), In-the-Canal (ITC), In-the-Ear (ITE) full-shell, and ITE half shell.
As GN Hearing CEO Gitte Pugholm Aabo told HearingTracker in a June interview about Customs by ReSound, “Given this information [about people first trying earbuds/headsets], one might also look at the new Custom made by ReSound as a way that GN is building off our expertise in both audio headsets and our wireless earbuds, and supporting the role of consumers in their hearing journey.”
The hearing aids come in a choice of colors and are available in a new In-style™ anthracite color or Blend-in™ hair and skin tones.
ReSound offers 6 color choices for Customs.
Now, I’m an audiologist, and I confess I don’t really care how hearing aids look—but I know that many of the individuals I encounter regularly do. I thus expect that by concealing these and making them appear to be a great pair of headphones, more people will consider using them.
Who is ReSound?
ReSound, one of the top-5 hearing aid brands in the world, is owned by the GN Group (GN Store Nord), headquartered in Ballerup, Denmark. GN manufactures ReSound, Jabra, Beltone™, Interton, and Danavox hearing aids. GN also manufactures and sells wireless headsets and earbuds, keyboards, speaker phones, and video solutions under the brand names of Jabra, Blueparrott, and Altia, and it also owns the e-gaming company SteelSeries.
ReSound's U.S. headquarters are located in Bloomington, Minn.
A closer look the technology in Custom by ReSound
Now let’s take a look under the hood at what Customs by ReSound have to offer for its ITC and ITE models:
Twin microphones and speech-in-noise enhancement
The new Resound custom hearing aids boast twin microphones, which are necessary to get the most out of your ears in terms of hearing and background noise. You won't find dual microphones in hearing aids smaller than these, as they need to be placed some distance apart to be effective.
The dual microphones have a replaceable filter ring, which can be easily serviced at regular intervals by your hearing care professional (HCP). The product also has a recessed vent that contributes to its sleek look while also helping reduce the echoic, hollow own-voice sound (called occlusion effect) that results from closing off the ear canal.
Customs by ReSound is reported to provide 15-30% better speech understanding in noise depending on the hearing loss when compared to ReSound's previous technology. Additionally, Customs' All Access Directionality is designed to work in sync with the in-ear microphones for better speech intelligibility while also allowing you to remain aware of your surroundings.
The ITC and ITE hearing aids have built-in Bluetooth capabilities. Thus, in addition to serving as hearing aids, they also enable direct streaming of audio to both hearing aids just like a typical pair of headphones, including phone calls and music, radio, and podcasts. However, they will also consider your hearing loss and tweak the audio where needed so you get improved hearing with the streamed audio in the same way you do with speech enhancement and environmental sounds.
The hearing aids can also stream phone conversations and they essentially have the same capability as ReSound ONE receiver-in-canal (RIC) hearing aids. If you have an iPhone, you can keep it in your pocket during phone calls since your hearing aid will pick up the sound of your own voice and transfer it to your ears, providing a truly hands-free solution.
Android devices older than Android 10, however, will only support one-way streaming. Therefore, even though the person on the other end of the phone will be audible in both of your ears, you will still need to hold your smartphone's microphone close to your mouth to ensure they can hear you (i.e., not a “hands-free solution”).
Regardless of what type of phone you have, make sure to ask your hearing care professional to assist you in setting up your device for phone calls and providing you instruction on how to use your Bluetooth-enabled devices with the hearing aids.
Customs ITC and ITE styles are compatible with iPhone 5s and newer and most late-model iPads. You will need iOS 15.3 / iPad OS 15.3 or later to access hands-free calling. They are also compatible with Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy, Samsung Note, and One Plus models. ReSound maintains a compatibility guide for more detailed information.
The ReSound Smart 3D App
The ReSound Smart 3D App is designed primarily as a remote control to change programs or adjust the volume, but it can also obtain software updates to your hearing aids, help you find them when misplaced or lost, and check battery status.
In an area where HearingTracker wishes Bluetooth hearing aids were more trouble free, the Smart 3D app is something of a star. It's highly rated in both Apple App Store and Google Play™ store with ratings of 4.7 and 4.2 (on a 5 point scale), respectively. For a hearing aid app, this is excellent as many hover in the 2-3 range. Users report that the app is easy to use and generally works well.
The ReSound Smart 3D app (left) showing ReSound Assist which helps define problems to help your HCP remotely fine-tune your hearing aids. At right is a short summary of some of the Smart 3D App functions.
There is also the ability within the app to request remote care from your HCP. This can be helpful if you live far from the clinic or just prefer to have small adjustments made from the comfort of your home. Most hearing aid manufacturers have similar remote care capability, as it quickly became a necessity during the Covid-19 pandemic. This option remains quite useful for simple adjustments and even firmware updates to your hearing aids.
Unlike some of ReSound's competitors like Starkey and Phonak, there are no health or fitness-tracking features within the app or in Custom by ReSound hearing aids. With some hearing aids, you can track your steps, or even check your heart rate and set fitness goals. This is not possible, at least currently, with this product.
IP68 water-resistance and durability
ReSound takes great pride in the fact that these new gadgets have an IP68 designation, essentially the current industry standard for water resistance. That suggests they could theoretically be submerged for 30 minutes in 1.5 meters (about 5 feet) of water and continue to work. They achieved this by nanocoating the devices' external surfaces and interior parts.
Although I don't advise swimming in them, hearing aids often live in a hostile environment. In general, in-the-ear hearing aids are more likely to malfunction than behind-the-ear aids because of their continual contact with moisture and earwax within the ear canal. ReSound's ability to certify them with this rating, which suggests they will break down less frequently, is excellent news.
According to ReSound, the expected service life of Customs by ReSound is 5 years, and that also extends to the device’s built-in rechargeable battery.
Lithium-ion rechargeable technology
ReSound appears to have followed Starkey and Signia's lead in making these devices rechargeable, and I'm happy to report that a 3-hour charge provides a user with a full day's worth of battery life. In my opinion, this is an advantage over the Phonak Virto Paradise in-the-ear hearing aids which do have built-in Bluetooth but come only in a battery version.
The Custom by ReSound charger has custom inserts that match the shape of the hearing aids, ensuring good battery contacts and proper charging.
The charger also offers what I believe to be an industry first: a specially designed insert that matches the shape of the hearing aids' custom-built construction and allows them to sit snugly inside the charger. As a result, it should be practically impossible to misalign the charging contacts—and wake up with depleted hearing aids. And as a result, especially for individuals with dexterity concerns, this should make it exceedingly simple to insert them into the charger.
No other hearing aid company offers this feature for its custom products. As the ReSound's CEO told HearingTracker:
We believe having a custom insert incorporated into the recharger that mirrors the hearing aid shell is a great advantage, ensuring good electrical contact between the aid and recharger. And the other advantage is it’s much easier for the user, because the hearing aids slip exactly into place, thereby ensuring that charging goes smoothly. Many older users have dexterity issues or may be limited to using only one hand. The new recharger is certainly an improvement in terms of making a product that is truly individualized and customized for the specific person using it.Gitte Aabo, GN Hearing CEO
Tinnitus Sound Generator
If you have bothersome tinnitus, Custom by ReSound can be programmed to generate specific tones that may help with temporary relief. The type of tinnitus noise, signal level, frequency characteristics, and when/where the tinnitus sound generator is employed can be adjusted to your specific needs by your HCP.
How to operate the hearing aid by using the button and app
Most of the hearing aid faceplate is taken up by a single button that serves as a soft key and can be programmed to do various things.
Custom by ReSound.
Starting out, the button turns the hearing aid on and off when you press it for at least 4 seconds. When the hearing aid is turned on, a steady green LED lights up on the faceplate for 2 seconds; when turned off, the LED flashes 3 times.
The hearing aid is designed to be completely automatic, with a self-adjusting volume that changes in response to your listening needs and environment. However, you can also manually adjust the volume using the ReSound Smart 3D™ app on your smartphone or by using the ReSound remote control which is an optional accessory. If you have two hearing aids, there is a Synchronized Volume Control function that, when enabled, allows simultaneous adjustments in both ears.
Because you’ll want to hear in different environments, there are up to six listening programs that can be applied by your hearing care professional—All around, Music, Acoustic phone, Outdoor, Restaurant, and Ultra Focus—with the latter two providing progressively more front-facing focus (directionality) for noisier places that pose more listening challenges. You can change these programs in the Smart 3D app or by briefly pressing the button on the hearing aid. When you do this, you’ll hear a number of beeps that corresponds to the number of the program you’ve selected.
There are also customization options available that allow you to change both the listening programs and the volume using the buttons on both the left and right hearing aids (ie, without the app), and you can request this type of setup from your HCP.
Customs by ReSound CIC
The Completely-in-canal (CIC) form factor in the Customs product line is designed for discreetness—in fact, it's the smallest hearing aid ReSound has ever made—and thus it does not contain most of the features listed above for the ITC and ITE styles, such as wireless capabilities or rechargeability. The CIC is available in three receiver sizes and three tech levels, and uses ReSound's hyrid C6 hybrid chip that “enables a new sound experience in CIC with extended bandwidth and impulse noise reduction.” It is powered by a size 10 disposable battery which provides "days of use" and has a faceplate available in the new anthracite color, as well as five skin tones (the shell of the hearing aid is red or blue, corresponding to the right or left ear, respectively).
Optional wireless accessories are available at an extra cost, and these include a TV streamer, basic and advanced remote controls, a phone clip for streaming phone conversations/music to both hearing aids should your smartphone not provide that feature, a remote microphone, and a wireless microphone that has a telecoil and can also double as a table-top mic.