Ruby is the latest budget-friendly, behind-the-ear style hearing aid from Danish hearing aid manufacturer Oticon. Ruby is available in rechargeable and non-rechargeable models and comes in a variety of power levels to suit a large range of hearing needs. If you have a mild, moderate, or severe hearing loss, you can benefit from Ruby.
Oticon designed Ruby to provide modern speech processing at an affordable price point, while providing access to the same connectivity and rechargeability available in more advanced Oticon products from the same generation, like the Oticon Opn S.
Five models available
Ruby is available in three receiver in canal (RIC) models and two behind-the-ear (BTE) models. The miniRITE and miniRITE-T (includes telecoil) models both use a size 312 disposable battery, while the miniRITE-R utilizes a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The miniRITE is the smallest form factor available, but is also the only form factor to not offer a volume rocker switch. All miniRITE models are IP68 rated for moisture and dust protection and provide sound using wired speakers that sit inside the ear canal.
The BTE and BTE PP both operate on a size 13 battery, and use traditional earmolds and tubes or thin tubes that connect to interchangeable ear canal domes or custom fitted earpieces. The PP model includes a more powerful speaker for more severe losses, and both BTE models use IP68 rated for moisture and dust protection.
All five Ruby models are compatible with the Oticon CROS. A CROS device is used for those patients who have single-sided deafness.
Ruby technology overview
Ruby runs on Oticon’s Velox S sound processing platform, which was launched in 2019 and powered Oticon’s previous flagship, Opn S. Oticon has since launched More, which runs on their latest sound processing platform, Polaris. Ruby replaces Oticon’s previous budget-friendly behind-the-ear solution, Siya. Siya utilized Oticon’s Velox sound processing platform, which was first launched in 2016 and powered the original Opn device. Oticon still sells in-the-ear Siya hearing aids, but no longer offers the behind-the-ear models.
Ruby is available in two different technology levels: Ruby 1 (more expensive, and more sophisticated) and Ruby 2 (less expensive, and less sophisticated). Both levels utilize the Velox S platform, which utilizes Oticon’s BrainHearing™ technology. Oticon claims that BrainHearing enables “less listening effort” and “better speech understanding and capacity to remember more of what one has heard.” The following is a list of key features available within this platform for improved communication.
- Noise Reduction LX - reduces background noise interference, even in-between words
- Speech Rescue LX - provides high frequency speech information in a more audible range custom to your hearing levels (not available in Ruby 2)
- Multiband Adaptive Directionality LX - analyzes the sound environment and adjusts microphone focus according to hearing needs
- Wind Noise Management - provides better listening in windy environments
- Single Compression LX - concentrates speech sounds into a more audible range custom to your hearing levels
- Feedback shield LX - suppresses feedback over time
- SuperShield - prevents whistling feedback from occurring in the first place. Works in tandem with the Feedback shield LX. (not available in Ruby 2)
- Tinnitus SoundSupport - presentation of sounds to provide relief for patients experiencing tinnitus
Oticon On Smartphone App
Ruby is compatible with Oticon’s latest app, Oticon ON, which allows you to customize and control your listening experience. This is helpful if you prefer to override or adjust the automatic environmental adjustments provided by Oticon’s Velox S platform. Of note, many patients do well in the automatic settings and may never change their devices themselves. The app also allows connection to Bluetooth cell phones and options to help you find your hearing aids if you lose them.
Oticon Ruby and the Oticon On Smartphone App
The Oticon ON app allows you to switch between programs, adjust volume, connect to an array of Oticon wireless accessories, and control Internet of Things (IoT) devices like light bulbs and coffee makers. Accessory options from Oticon include remote microphones, remote controls, and TV adaptors for those who still struggle to hear with their hearing aids. These are the same options available to all Oticon product lines.
The Oticon On app also allows you to connect to your hearing healthcare provider through RemoteCare. Basic adjustments and fine-tuning for your hearing aids can be completed via virtual appointments from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Considering the other options
While Ruby is a good budget-friendly hearing aid, there are other manufacturers that offer more modern lower-priced options . For example, Phonak offers the Audeo Paradise P30, which runs on Phonak’s current technology platform (unlike Ruby, which runs on Oticon’s previous generation platform). Purchasing a product from a manufacturer’s most recent platform may be helpful to ensure you get the most out of your investment.
Oticon claims the technology in Velox S enables reduced listening effort in complex listening environments, like restaurants. However, since Ruby runs on a previous-generation technology platform, it won’t perform as well on noise processing and speech enhancement as products running on Oticon’s new Polaris platform.
If you are an existing, successful Oticon user interested in an upgrade — but not a high price tag — consider Ruby. Many audiologists have found that patients are typically successful with new technology from a given manufacturer, if they’ve been successful with that manufacturer in the past — even if the new technology isn’t from the flagship technology level. As always, ensure you go to a provider who knows the technology inside and out, and therefore can adjust the devices to suit your needs in the most optimal way, regardless of the bells and whistles involved.