Pure Charge&Go AX is Signia’s latest flagship product and the first product to be launched on the company’s new Augmented Xperience (AX) platform. Launched in May 2021, Pure Charge&Go AX offers several advantages over its predecessor, Pure Charge&Go X.
*Compared to their previous generation of product the Xperience (X) platform.
While we won’t go into all of the features of this product as many are now standard in the industry such as directionality, noise reduction, listening scene classification and the availability of a smart phone app; let’s take a closer look at some of the key features of the product:
Charge&Go Pure AX offers both Apple and Android streaming compatibility. Android compatibility is a first for Signia, but Android connectivity has been available from other manufacturers for some time. This is a big step for the company as, according to Statista, approximately 50% of the U.S. smart phone market is Android. Android streaming is achieved via the ASHA (Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids) protocol. For a list of smart phones that are compatible with the Signia AX platform, see here.
The microphones on the Charge&Go Pure AX do not act as an input while talking on the phone. While on a call, you’ll still need to speak into the phone. However, this is true for most hearing aid manufacturers (an exception is the Phonak Paradise). The StreamLine Mic is a separately-purchased accessory that enables hands-free phone calls with Pure AX Signia. The accessory also acts as remote microphone.
According to Signia, for the first time, two separate processors are utilized with the intent of processing sound that you want to hear, such as conversation, separately from surrounding noise. A long-time complaint of hearing aid wearers is that hearing aids amplify all sounds equally; this technology is intended to allow you to focus on the sounds you want to hear while keeping background noise to a minimum. This is accomplished by processing sound coming from the front of the listener separately from that of sound coming from behind the listener. The obvious intent is to improve your speech understanding in environments with competing noise such as restaurants.
Signia has long offered rechargeable hearing aids and has continued to perfect that feature within this new product. Pure Charge&Go AX has built-in lithium-ion rechargeable batteries designed to provide up to 36 hours of wearing time if utilizing the larger model (T AX) with the telephone coil (T-coil) or up to 24 hours for the smaller no T-coil version (AX). Signia says that these numbers include 5 hours of streaming time, which can drain batteries more quickly. Three different chargers are available depending on your needs and preferences: the standard Pure charger, portable charger and the Dry&Clean charger.
Signia Pure Charge&Go AX Chargers
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. Pure AX hearing aids 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 those loud sounds won’t sound muffled and should sound clearer and more natural overall.
This feature also allows for separate processing—this time for your own voice. For many hearing aid wearers, adjusting to the sound of your own voice can be difficult. After all, we’re not accustomed to listening to our voices being amplified. With OVP, your voice is recognized by the hearing instruments and then minimized to help ensure listening comfort; this is done without sacrificing sounds that you need to hear. Currently, Signia is the only company to offer this technology (also available in previous generation of products—Xperience platform) and for those that have struggled with the sound of their own voice through the hearing aids, this can be a significant feature in improving overall satisfaction. It should be noted that OVP is only possible with binaural fittings (both ears) and both instruments require directional capability. In other words, 4 microphones are needed to accomplish OVP. For example, one hearing aid on the right/left ear would not be able to offer this feature.
These sensors were also available in the previous generation of instruments and recognize when you are in motion and automatically modify how the automatic directionality is applied. The thinking here is that, when in motion, you may want to hear voices from other directions other than just in front of you. Keep in mind that directional microphones work by limiting amplification from the side and rear of the listener with the assumption that you are looking at the person with whom you are speaking. However, if you are walking, for example, you may want to hear the person to your left or right. This feature recognizes your movement and aligns the signal processing accordingly. For those who are active in groups this could be beneficial and allow you to stay engaged in the conversation.
This feature is part of the Signia app available for both Apple and Android smart phones and allows you to adjust your hearing aids in real-world situations. Artificial intelligence is utilized to learn what adjustments are made in what environments resulting in programming changes that reflect your preferences and hearing capabilities. This allows for personalized fine tuning of the instruments without the need to return to your Hearing Healthcare Provider (HHCP). 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 Assistance did not show a significant change in performance from before use of the app.
The Signia App allows the user to control the direction of listening focus and also provides an AI-driven virtual assistant to help you fine tune the sound of your hearing aids on the go.
Redesigned receivers, cables and plug system for the new Pure Charge&Go AX RICs. Signia claims better retention and better cosmetics through a new ergonomic design. They have also introduced a new reinforced cable with the intent of increasing overall durability. There are also new tips and sleeves which should accommodate a wide range of ear shapes and sizes as well as acoustic needs.
Signia has a wide breadth of instruments that offer options to address tinnitus complaints and the Pure 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. A “Notch Therapy” of customizable notched-noise is also available and is unique to Signia. A drawback of Signia tinnitus therapies however, is that they do not allow you to adjust your therapy signal other than the volume of the signal. Some other manufacturers allow you to adjust your tinnitus therapy signal via their 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.
Signia notes that this is their smallest rechargeable RIC product available (non-Tcoil version) and as noted above doesn’t sacrifice battery life or processing power.
The new Signia Charge&Go AX hearing aid offers several advantages over its predecessor and has some unique qualities not seen with other manufacturers. There are, though, some disadvantages of the product compared to other manufacturers. Let’s breakdown some of the pros and cons:
For those with hearing loss there are numerous choices of hearing aid brands and models, with a dizzying array of style and feature choices. Hopefully, articles such as these can help you make informed choices. However, please always discuss with your HHCP what they believe is a good choice for your hearing loss and lifestyle needs.