Phonak, currently managed by Sonova Holding, began in Switzerland in the 1940s and started expanding internationally twenty years later. Today their products are sold in over 100 countries. They provide a number of products related to hearing loss such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, assistive listening devices and other accessories. Over the years their innovations have given them claim to a number of firsts. They created the first hearing aid capable of linking wireless Bluetooth found in mobile phones to hearing aids and an ear canal hearing aid that can be worn for four months at a time.
• Virto V, a custom made hearing aid fit to your own ear
• Lyric, a hidden hearing aid placed directly into the canal that is long lasting
• Audéo V, a behind the ear portion secures it, but the receiver is inserted into the ear
• Boléro V, a classic behind the ear hearing aid
They have also played an active role in raising awareness for hearing loss, creating the non-profit Hear the World Foundation in 2006. More than providing information about hearing loss prevention and treatment, they also raise funds to help provide children and families in need with hearing solutions.
One of the perks of Phonak’s technology is the helpful smartphone apps created to accompany their hearing aids. Apps explain how to use and clean your specific device, and how to find solutions for any problems that pop up over the years. One app for Phonak Venture provides configuration options to control the hearing aid directly from your phone. They even have an app with songs designed to help ease tinnitus.
Many people find Phonak’s aids to be convenient and easy to use solutions, but any manufacturing errors that arise can be tricky to deal with. Although the company has been around for a long time, they have not been accredited by the Better Business Bureau. When problems arise after the one time limited warranty expires, customers are charged with large service fees.
Another common problem may have to do with misleading advertising. Although Phonak makes many bold claims about being able to listen to conversations easily in loud environments or that some hearing aids have been designed to quite the sound of the wind, users are usually disappointed when they actually test their hearing devices in these loud environments.
Some find Phonak’s limited customer support troubling. Phonak is only a manufacturer, so when there are complaints, your own audiologist usually facilitates any fixes or adjustments. Contacting Phonak directly if you suspect a manufacturing error may be a time consuming and difficult experience.
Phonak hearing aids have a good reputation overall, especially with regards to product battery life and innovation. Not available in all areas and customer support is limited as well. Not recommended for individuals with severe hearing loss.
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- Smartphone apps designed for trouble shooting, care and tinnitus
- Long battery life
- Innovative solutions
- Humanitarian focus
Before buying Phonak technology see what your audiologist recommends, and if you can extend the warranty later. Because hearing aids are expensive in themselves, additional adjustments or issues that could arise after the warranty expires may rack up the bill even further. Extending the warranty will cover your bases in case issues arise. As with any hearing aid, although Phonak’s devices strive to provide a quality solution have limitations and take time to get used to.
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