by Hung Mai, AuD
In this hearing tect spotlight, I'm going to focus on Signia Styletto AX and go over how it stands out from other hearing aids. Note: I am not affiliated with Signia or any other hearing aid manufacturers. As an independent audiologist, I'm providing my own feedback on some of today's exciting hearing technology. There's so many options today, and here is another one:
It Looks Different
The first thing that stands out about the Signia Styletto is how it looks. The Styletto doesn’t look like your typical hearing aids. It has a unique, slim profile that looks more like one of those hearable or bluetooth gadgets.
COMPACT PORTABLE CHARGER
The portable charger looks very similar to another charger from big technology brand that rhymes with snapple. I personally like the charger for it’s efficiency and practicality. With a 4-hour charge, it’ll give you a full 17-20 hours of use.
On top of that the charging case has an internal battery system to give you at least 3 additional days of charge without having to plug it into the outlet.
So essentially you can take this on a weekend trip without bringing along another charging cord. That’s a big plus in my book.
There’s 12 colors to choose from with a variety of 2-tone combinations, and there’s also solid colors for those who prefer more discreetness.
One thing to note is that there are no physical buttons on the device itself. You will not be able to adjust the volume or programs directly from the devices like other RIC style hearing aids, which may or may not be a big deal depending on your preference; instead, you can make adjustments through the Signia app with a smartphone.
The Signia app has a very simple interface with the following adjustments available:
- volume control
- changing sound programs
- Sound Preference (bass and treble control)
- Directional Hearing (manually choose which direction to focus in) (only available in the 7AX (premium) and 5AX (advanced) levels)
- Mask Mode (boost speech frequencies in situations where you're still struggling to hear voices)
- My Well Being - promotes a more active lifestyle by tracking your steps, daily activity level, hearing aid usage time, and coversation level.
This Signia app is one of the most simple app in the hearing aid industry. Great for those who are not very tech-savvy and wants an easy-to-use app. One thing that the app doesn’t have that many other hearing aid apps have is the “Find My Hearing Aid” tool to help you locate a lost hearing aid, which would’ve been nice. Click below to watch the Signia app in action:
The Styletto can connect to all Apple Iphones (must be Iphone 7 or newer) and many Android phones that’s ASHA compatible to stream phone calls and any media from your smartphone. There’s also 2-way audio so that you can take hands-free phone calls with an Apple Iphone 11 or newer. There’s a microphone in the hearing aid itself that picks up your voice as you speak, so you don’t have to hold the phone near your mouth anymore. Again, this only works with Apple Iphone 11 or newer. For older Iphones and Androids, you still have to hold the phone within a few feet from your mouth during phone calls.
AUGMENTED EXPERIENCE TECHNOLOGY
And while the Styletto looks interesting from the outside, the more exciting thing for me is on the inside. It’s finally updated with Signia’s latest platform called the the AX chip, which stands for Augmented Experience. In my opinion, it’s a significant improvement over their previous technology with several unique features.
- Split Processing - The sound processor separates sounds into two different processor. One processor for environmental sounds and the other processor for speech sounds. Environmental sounds are processed with more compression so that it’s audible in the background at a distance, while speech sounds are processed with no compression which helps make speech sounds clearer and closer to you. Both of the processed speech and environmental sounds are then combined and delivered into your ears with the goal of making speech sounds more prominent than environmental sounds. According to Signia, the split processing provides 25% better speech understanding in noise compared to other hearing aids.
- And while the feature can be helpful, in reality, there’s other factors that’s beyond the hearing aid capabilities that will affect how well you’ll be able to understand speech in noise such as the severity of your hearing loss, and your brain’s ability to focus on the intended sounds, and how noisy the environment is compared to the speech quality of your partner. But at least you know with the Signia AX chip, you'll get a quality sound signal to improve your chance of hearing in noise.
- And if you’re still struggling to hear in noise, you may want to consider an additional accessory called the Streamline Mic. It can be used as a remote microphone to be worn by your partner to send their voice to your hearing aids and improve your chance of hearing speech in noise or at a distance.
- Own-voice processing – One of the most common complaints for first-time hearing aid users is tolerating your own voice when talking. Part of the reason why your own voice sounds louder is due to the amplification of your own voice when it is being picked up by the microphone and sent back into your ear as you speak.
With own-voice processing, Signia uses a unique algorithm to detect and reduce the loudness of your own voice without affecting other environmental sounds, so that it’s easier to adapt to.
- AutoEchoShield is a feature that helps with hearing in challenging places with too much echoes by reducing echoes so that sounds are sharper and clearer, and it does it automatically. The autoEchoShield feature is only available in the premium technology level, the 7AX.
While the Styletto may look like a hearable product that can be purchased over-the-counter, it’s actually a prescription-class hearing aid that requires a professional fitting by a hearing care provider. With all of Signia's latest technology packed into a slim profile, the Styletto is a very capable hearing instrument that can work well for almost anyone wanting a unique hearing aid that looks like no other.
As a reminder, no matter how fancy your hearing aids are, it will only work as well as how it is fitted to your ear. Your hearing care provider can help you get the most out of your hearing instruments using an objective measurement called Real-Ear measurements to verify that you’re getting the most optimal performance along with using your subjective feedback during your follow-up visits to adjust it to your tolerance level, and guide you along the way so that you can have a successful journey to better hearing.
Interested in trying out the Styletto?
If you're near the Kenner area and would like to test out the Styletto or any other hearing aids, contact us by calling (504) 375-3075 or by filling out the online form below.