Since the release of the Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct, we have learned a few things. While the B-Direct is the first hearing aid to allow direct Android connectivity via Bluetooth for phone calls, there are also some limitations to the technology:
Having stated these limitations, there are also a number of unique firsts achieved by Phonak:
The following Phonak press release has been edited to include content relevant to the Phonak Audeo B Direct:
Stäfa (Switzerland), August 17, 2017 – Phonak, the leading global provider of hearing instruments and wireless communication solutions, today announces the Audéo™ B-Direct, a revolutionary hearing aid that directly connects to any Bluetooth® ** enabled cell phone*. The new hearing aid is the first product to make use of Sonova’s revolutionary SWORD™ chip and wireless radio technology. Audéo B-Direct delivers excellent sound quality thanks for the proven Belong platform and AutoSense OS™. The low-voltage wireless chip has the lowest power consumption of any hearing aid using Bluetooth Classic. As it supports the classic Bluetooth protocol, it provides direct connectivity to cell phones – including Android™, iPhone® and even classic cell phones – with no extra body-worn streaming device required. Based on the innovative Belong™ platform, the Audéo B-Direct simplifies the life of consumers by offering them the freedom of direct connectivity, truly hands-free calling, and excellent TV sound quality. [Audéo B-Direct] will be available in the U.S. end of August with Europe and other countries worldwide following step by step from September 2017 onwards.
“For 70 years, Phonak has continued to develop life-changing solutions that break down barriers”, says Thomas Lang, Senior Vice President of Phonak Marketing. “With the Audéo B-Direct, we’re now breaking barriers to accessibility and connectivity. Audéo B-Direct also works similar to a wireless headset. We’re giving more hearing aid wearers access to proven Belong technology without limiting them to a single cell phone, manufacturer, or operating system. This is a true game-changer for our industry.”
The Audéo B-Direct simplifies life even more thanks to real hands-free voice calling. Hearing aid wearers can answer or reject a phone call by simply pressing the push button on their hearing aid. The ringing of the phone is heard through the hearing aids and once the call is accepted, the conversation is instantly streamed. The wearer’s voice is picked up by the hearing aid’s intelligent microphone network and transmitted to the other caller similar to a wireless headset. All this is done without the hearing aid wearer ever having to physically touch the phone.
The new TV Connector, using proprietary AirStream™ technology, is a state-of-the-art compact multimedia hub that seamlessly connects wearers to their favorite TV programming for an immersive audio experience. It’s a true plug and play solution that automatically turns a pair of Audéo B-Direct hearing aids into wireless TV headphones. The TV Connector is also capable of connecting to multiple Audéo B-Direct hearing aids simultaneously, ideal for watching TV together.
As a ‘Made For All’ hearing solution offering universal connectivity, the new Audéo B-Direct fills a significant gap for both hearing aid wearers and hearing care professionals. According to a recent report, over four in five smartphone buyers worldwide choose the Android operating system. The Audéo B-Direct addresses this sizeable so far neglected market while also providing compatibility with Apple’s iPhone. In addition, the new solution addresses the more than 23 percent of hearing aid wearers ages 50+ who own a classic cell phone. Universal connectivity to any cell phone is especially important considering the intense growth in smartphone ownership over the last decade. The pioneering Made For All solution is another result of Phonak’s unwavering commitment to change people’s lives for the better.
* with Bluetooth® 4.2 wireless technology and most older Bluetooth phones
** Bluetooth is a registered trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc.; Android™ is a trademark owned by Google, Inc.; iPhone® is a registered trademark of Apple, Inc.
The new B-Direct™ allows the user to answer and reject phone calls without touching their phone. The user can also stream audio directly from their TV, and may pair their hearing aids to most Bluetooth enabled devices.
A collection of street interviews showing reactions to the new Phonak Audéo™ B-Direct.
The Phonak Audéo B Direct B70 has water resistant coating, push button, ip rating (liquid), ip rating (solid), disposable batteries, android compatibility, wireless connectivity, directionality, spatial noise cancellation, adaptive adjustments, clarity volume control, frequency lowering, preference adaptation, ear simulation, adjustment bands, feedback suppression, noise reduction, wind noise reduction, sudden loud noise reduction, adjustment synchronization, occlusion reduction, tinnitus relief, automatic acclimatization, automatic phone program, environmental adaptation, listening programs, and audio stream mixer. More features are available in higher technology levels: Phonak Audéo B Direct B90. Fewer features are available in lower technology levels: Phonak Audéo B Direct B50