Insio Charge&GO AX is the world’s first wireless-charging custom in-the-ear (ITE) hearing aid. Signia introduced Insio Charge&Go AX in October 2021 as an expansion of the Augmented Xperience (AX) platform, which now includes both ITE and reciever-in-canal (RIC) devices.
Insio Charge&Go AX at-a-glance
- Two custom-shell styles available: half-shell and in-the-canal (full shell ITE coming later this year)
- 6 color options including new black shell and faceplate
- Rechargeable with contactless charging
- Both Apple® and Android™ smart phone compatibility and audio streaming
- 3 power matrices available and suitable for mild to profound hearing loss
- Dual processors to separately process speech and environmental noises
- 110% increase in the binaural audio transfer rate in new e2e wireless 4.0*
- 60% reduction in the binaural latency*
- 22% increase in rechargeable battery runtime*
- Increased input dynamic range*
- Smaller custom shells**
- CROS compatibility with Pure Charge&Go AX
- Available in 3 different technology levels, the 7AX, 5AX and 3AX with the 7 providing the highest number of channels and technology.
*Compared to their previous generation of product the Xperience (X) platform. **Compared to Insio NX products.
Signia Insio AX Expert Review
One of HearingTracker’s resident audiologist, Matthew Allsop, reviews the pros and cons of the new Signia Insio AX hearing aids.
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Insio Charge&Go AX is powered by a contactless magnetic-resonance charging system and built-in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries. Magnetic resonance charging allows for a “drop and go” functionality, meaning you no longer have to worry about lining up (and keeping clean) metal contacts to enable charging. It’s also more efficient at transferring power, allowing for relativity short recharge cycle times. Insio will provide 24 hours of wear time on a 4-hour charge. If you stream any audio, you can expect fewer hours of wear time. Signia suggests you’ll get around 20 hours of wear time if you stream audio for 5 hours. Regardless, these numbers certainly would allow for all day use without having to worry about recharging.
The new charger was also built to be intuitive to use. As you can see, the sections within the case are clearly marked with blue and red to indicate where each hearing aid should be placed (red = right and blue = left). The hearing aids, as with Signia’s other chargers, will automatically turn off when placed in the charger and turn on when removed.
The new Insio AX Charger
A portable charger is not currently available with the Insio AX so you’ll need to remember to take your charging case and power cable with you when traveling.
Insio Charge&Go AX offer both Apple and Android Bluetooth audio streaming. Android streaming is enabled via Android’s Audio Streaming for Hearing Aid (ASHA) protocol, while Apple streaming is enabled via Apple’s proprietary Made For iPhone (MFi) protocol. Signia hosts an up-to-date list of compatible iOS and Android devices.
Insio AX hearing aids do not support hands-free calling without an accessory. For hands-free phone conversations, you’ll need to purchase the Signia StreamLine™ Mic, which also serves as a remote microphone. For accessory free hands-free calling, check out Starkey Evolv AI, ReSound One, or Phonak Paradise.
Augmented Focus provides two separate processors that enables AX hearing aids to important speech sounds separately from distracting environmental noise. A long-time complaint of hearing aid wearers is that hearing aids amplify all sounds equally; this technology is intended to help you focus on the speech you want to hear while minimizing background noise.
This is accomplished by processing sound coming from the front of the listener separately from that of sound coming from behind the listener. The two signals are also sound treated differently with speech receiving more linear amplification while noise is compressed more aggressively. The intent is to improve your speech understanding in environments where competing noise is an issue, such as restaurants.
Extended dynamic range
The dynamic range of the input signal for the analog to digital converter can have a significant effect on sound quality, especially for loud inputs. Insio and Pure AX have a higher input limit of 117 dB which should help improve the quality of loud sounds. For those who enjoy music and/or may sing in a choir, for example, this extended dynamic range should be an improvement over previous generations of instruments. This means loud sounds should sound less muffled and distorted, and should sound clearer and more natural overall.
Acoustic motion sensors
The acoustic motion sensors onboard Insio AX recognize when you are in motion alter the function of the hearing aids accordingly. If you are walking, you may want to hear the person to your side, as opposed to listening to what’s in front of you (hearing aids typically focus to the front using directional microphone technology). For those who are active in groups this could be beneficial and allow you to stay engaged in the conversation.
Signia Assistant is part of the Signia app, which is available for both Apple and Android smartphones. Signia Assistant uses AI to help you optimize your hearing aid amplification settings for different listening environments. This allows for personalized fine tuning of the instruments without the need to return to your hearing provider.
In a small study completed by Signia, 80% of participants reported an improvement in how well they heard and 93% stated using the Signia Assistant improved their overall satisfaction when listening in a challenging environment. It should be noted that speech understanding testing after programming changes had been made via the Signia Assistant did not show a significant change in performance.
Signia has a wide breadth of instruments that offer options to address tinnitus complaints and the Insio Charge&Go AX is no exception. Multiple signal types are available including ocean wave sounds and several static noise choices such as white noise and pink noise. “Notch Therapy”, which offers customizable notched-noise, is also available and is unique to Signia.
A drawback of Signia tinnitus therapies is that they do not allow you to adjust your therapy signal (other than the volume). There are other hearing aids on the market that give users a way to adjust the signal, typically via a smartphone app. This is beneficial for those whose tinnitus changes in tonality throughout the day. Please speak with your audiologist about your tinnitus therapy choices to better understand which options are best for you.
Thanks to smaller faceplates (exterior face of shell), Insio AX are smaller than the previous generation. In Insio NX, the Bluetooth antenna was placed on the faceplate, but with Insio AX, the antenna is manufactured inside the shell. This allows for a smaller and more cosmetically appealing product. It also allows for more flexibility in the placement of the push button, which is now centrally located on the faceplate. This may make it easier for some people to find and use the push button.
Insio Charge&Go AX is currently available in Black, Dark Brown, Brown, Mocha, Tan, and Beige. While Signia did offer its Active X in black, this is the first time the company has offered a black fully-custom shell.
Signia Insio Charge&Go AX is available in 6 colors.
CROS functionality for single-sided deafness (SSD)
Insio AX allows for CROS (Contralateral Routing of Signal) amplification when coupled with the Pure Charge&Go AX. For those that suffer from single-sided deafness, two hearing aids are utilized for better hearing from the affected side. With the AX platform, you can choose to wear a custom hearing aid on one side and a RIC on the other, or a RIC on both sides. Sound is detected on the poorer side and is transferred wirelessly to the better hearing ear. The benefit of CROS amplification is that you are able to hear sounds from the deaf or “unaidable” ear without having to turn your head. For many, this gives the perception of not being so cut-off from sounds on the poorer hearing side.
Signia offers three optional accessories (sold separately) for Insio AX—StreamLine Mic for hands free calling, StreamLine TV for direct streaming of the TV signal to your hearing aids, and miniPocket™, a simple remote for those who prefer simple and discreet control of the hearing aids. The Insio AX Charger a required accessory that is used to charge the devices. The Signia smart phone app is available at no charge from the Apple App Store or from Google Play™.
Pros and cons
The new Signia Insio Charge&Go AX hearing aid offers several advantages over the previous generation of custom products. However, there are also some disadvantages too. Let’s breakdown some of the pros and cons:
Pros of Insio AX
- ASHA Android compatibility now available in custom products
- New contactless charging system should be easy to use, especially for those with dexterity and/or vision limitations
- Excellent battery life on a single charge even when streaming audio
- Augmented Focus has the potential to improve ease of listening and sound quality
- Extended dynamic range of input signal, which should improve sound quality for loud sounds including music
- CROS availability with use of the Pure Charge&Go AX RIC on opposite ear
- Tinnitus features including notch therapy
- Remote care and Signia Assistant features which allow for programming adjustments either remotely with your hearing professional or with the AI learning feature.
Cons of Insio AX
- No Bluetooth completely-in-canal (CIC)
- No full shell ITE, yet
- No hands-free calling without an accessory
- No “tap” feature for initiating streaming; to start/stop streaming wearers can utilize their phone, onboard controls, or an accessory
- Disposable batteries not an option
- Own Voice Processing or OVP™ not an option for the custom instruments.
- Other than volume changes, tinnitus feature cannot be adjusted by the wearer
- Telecoil not available, but may come with the full shell ITE later
Signia now has both custom ITE and RIC products within the AX platform, allowing for a choice of styles and technology levels to address your hearing, lifestyle, and physical needs. We always recommend discussing your hearing healthcare options with a professional to see which choice is best for you.