Reviews

Phonak Lumity Detailed Hearing Aid Review

Well Phonak is at it again, adding a variety of new features to their new Lumity line of hearing aids, building upon the momentum that they had with the Marvel line of devices, as well as their Paradise line of devices.

Phonak Lumity Detailed Hearing Aid Review

Video transcript

Video transcript

Hi guys, Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiology and founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Phoenix, Arizona. And in this video, I'm doing a detailed review of the new Phonak Lumity line of hearing aids coming up!

Well Phonak is at it again, adding a variety of new features to their new Lumity line of hearing aids, building upon the momentum that they had with the Marvel line of devices, as well as their Paradise line of devices. The main focus for this new and improved platform is better speech understanding, particularly in background noise, which continues to be the number one priority for individuals with hearing loss. According to phone act, this new line of Lumity hearing aids is their most significant leap forward and sound processing in nearly a decade. So how much better is the Lumity line of hearing aids compared to its predecessors? Well, I'm going to be covering that in this video, but before I do, if you could do me a huge favor and click the like button, it really helps out my channel. And let's me know that you want me to make more detailed review videos, just like this one.

And while you're at it, if you have not yet hit that Subscribe button with notification, be go ahead and do that as well, because that ensures that you never miss one of my newly released videos and I release multiple new videos every single week. That being said, I really appreciate it. Now let's get into some of the disclaimers for this review video. First, I never give pricing in my review videos because price can heavily depend on where you live and what services come along with your hearing aid purchased. Trust me, I really wish that I could give you accurate pricing, but it is impossible. Second, none of the review videos on my channel are ever sponsored. So I get to say whatever the heck I want to say about these hearing aids and if Phonak doesn't like it, then that's too bad. And third, it does not matter how awesome any one of the hearing aids are that I talk about on my channel.

If you have not had them fit and programmed by a hearing care professional who follows best practices, you will not get the full amount of benefit out of them. Now, if you do not know what best practices are, then I highly recommend that you check out my video talking about best practices that I will link in the description. If you would like an easy way to find a hearing care professional who follows these best practices, then make sure that you check out my website, hearing up.com to find a hearing up network member near you so you can experience the difference that exceptional hearing care makes. All right, let's go ahead and jump into the review. And as usual, let's go ahead and take a look at the different form factors that Phonak has rolled out with this new Lumity line of hearing aids Phonak ultimately decided to launch the Lumity with only rechargeable options.

They have the a Lumity R the a Lumity RT and the Audeo Lumity R-Life. Each of these Lumity models come in four different technology levels. You have the premium top tier Lumity 90 followed by the Lumity 70, the Lumity 50 and the bottom tier Lumity 30. Now there are some features inside of these hearing aids that are only available in the top tier 90 and the second tier 70 level of Lumity hearing aids. And I will be talking about those features a little bit later, of course, to get these more advanced features and more customizability of your hearing aids, you're gonna have to go with one of the higher tier levels that will cost you more money than one of the lower tier levels. In general. I always recommend that you go with the highest level of technology that you can reasonably afford if you cannot afford it.

That is the only reason you should be dropping down in technology level. And then it is the responsibility of your hearing care professional to maximize the performance of those devices. Now, the Audeo Lumity hearing aids do look slightly different compared to the previous generation of paradise hearing aids, but none of these physical changes or that dramatic. All right, so now I'm gonna show you what these Lumity hearing aids look like as I'm wearing them. I'm gonna in my left ear, use an open dome to show you what it looks like when I'm using one of those ear tips. Here we go. And then on the other side, I'm actually gonna be using a custom sea shell. This particular type of earpiece would be more appropriate for someone with a steeply sloping, high frequency hearing loss, or a hearing loss that has a low, mid and high frequency component to it.

So there we go. I've got both of them and let's go ahead and start with the dome fit on my left ear. As you can see that ear wire blends in really nicely, I always feel like Phonak hearing aids have a really good fit when using their domes. That's what the hearing aid looks like behind my ear. Typically you would wanna match that to hair color, if you could. And then on this ear, you can see that I'm wearing the custom ear mold inside of there. And like I said, this is more particular for individuals with more complex cases of hearing loss. One thing I do notice is that those push buttons on the backs of the hearing aids. I don't know if you can see them here, but those push buttons are definitely more distinct than what they were like on the Paradise models and the Marvel models before these.

Now each of the Lumity hearing aids, no matter what tech level you have have Bluetooth classic capabilities. So you can stream audio directly from a smart device into both of your hearing aids, whether you have Android devices or whether you have apple devices. Now Phonak is unique in that they allow you to pair to up to eight different Bluetooth devices with two of those devices, having an active connection at the exact same time. So if you're connected to your laptop and to your phone, you can stream from your phone. And then as soon as you wanna stop streaming there, you just start streaming from your laptop. You don't have to turn off and on Bluetooth. Now, the streaming that I'm talking about is virtually any type of audio. So whether it's audio books, podcasts, YouTube videos, music, or even telephone calls. Another thing that I love about phone curing it's in general, not just Lumity hearing aids is the ability to customize the streamed audio, whether it's speech related media or music related media, you can go in separately and adjust that inside of the programming software.

So as long as you're here, care professional knows what they're doing when it comes to programming, they should be able to customize the stream audio exactly to your liking. Just keep in mind that if you were trying to use it an open dome when streaming music, a lot of the low frequency based tones are just gonna leak right outside of your ears, and it will make that music sound flat. So for that, you'll either need a custom ear mold like the one I have on my right ear or use an act event receiver. The act event receiver is extremely unique in the fact that it can open and close the venting depending on what you're trying to hear. So if you start streaming music into your hearing aids, the event will actually snap shut to trap in those low frequency base tones to make music sound much more rich and full, but then if you stop streaming music and you need more of an open fit, that event will open back up.

So it's good for a variety of different situations. Now, if this is your first time hearing about the event receiver, don't worry. I have a full review video of the event receiver on my channel that I will also link in the description. The phone act Lumity hearing aids also allow you to be completely hands free. When you're talking on the phone, you can answer the phone either with tap control, which is a double tap of your ear to answer a phone call, or you can just click one of the push buttons to take that call. And then the microphones of the hearing aids actually pick up your voice and send it to the person on the other end of the line. And you can literally do this with your phone, either in your pocket or in your purse. You do not have to take out your phone, just a heads up though,

there is a little bit of a negative to this. If you do not have a powerful voice, your voice might not be able to be picked up by the microphones very well. So the person on the other end of the line might have trouble hearing you, even though you're able to hear them just fine phone act does not have a way to toggle off this feature of picking up your voice through the hearing aids. So if it's not working well for you, you're gonna have to either hold the phone up to your ear or put it on the speaker phone, which kind of defeats the whole purpose. These hearing aids also have a motion sensor to allow for motion sensor hearing, which is a hearing aid's ability to identify if you're moving or if you're staying stationary. So it can configure your microphone settings more appropriately.

This motion sensor is also what allows for the tap control functionality. So just like I mentioned before of answering the phone by double tapping your ear, you can also use this double tap to pause and start audio streaming, and you can use it to activate your voice assistant on your phone or tablet. Now, speaking from experience, some individuals have issues with this tap control. I've gotta say though, if my mother loves it. So if my mother loves it, you'll probably love it too. Now it's important to note here that all of the different models of Lumity hearing aids, whether it's the Lumity R the Lumity RT or the Lumity R-Life, all of them have the same type of hearing performance. The only difference is is that if you get the RT, it comes with a telecoil. And if you get the R life, it comes with extreme amounts of waterproofing.

Having a telecoil inside of the Lumity RT does make the device a little bit bigger, but it is really nice to have telecoil functionality. If you go into a public venue that has a hearing loop, which allows you to stream audio directly from that facility into both of your telecoil enabled hearing aids to extra waterproofing and the Lumity R-Life does make these hearing aids a little bit more bulky, and it requires a completely different charging case compared to the Lumity R and Lumity RT, but I'll tell you what this waterproofing is absolutely amazing. I've gone on long trail runs. I've gone swimming in them, and I've even showered in them. And I am not able to kill these hearing aids with water. Technically speaking, all of the Lumity hearing aids are IP 68 rated, which means that you can take them and dunk them in a bucket of water for 30 minutes, pull them out, and they will still be functional.

The Lumity are life, however, dramatically exceed this waterproof rating to the point where it's just off the charts. All right, let's go ahead and switch gears here to rechargeability. So consumer demand has clearly shifted from disposable battery hearing aids to rechargeable hearing aids. Now that rechargeable hearing aids are primarily using lithium rechargeable batteries that are much more reliable. Phonak has made the decision to stick with contact charging with these little charging contacts here on the bottom of these hearing aids. I don't know if you can see them right there, but these little metal contacts actually make contact with the charging prongs inside of the charger case. Now, the Lumity are life versions. They use inductive charging. So there are no metal contacts on the bottoms of these hearing aids. And that means that you don't need to make sure that those contacts remain clean. Now, all three models of these hearing aids will basically give you all day battery life.

Even if you're streaming audio for four hours out of a day, you're still gonna be able to get 16 hours of use out of them, which is usually more than enough for most hearing aid users. If you happen to wear them more than that, or you want to stream more than that, you can pop your hearing aids back in the charger for 15 minutes, which will give you an additional three hours of battery life. On top of that, when you go to bed at night and you take these and put them inside of the charger, it only takes three hours to go from 0% battery to 100% battery. Phonak has made it very clear that they are prioritizing rechargeable battery technology since approximately 85% of the hearing aids that they sold last year were rechargeable. Now, if I'm being honest here, and it kills me to say this, but I am extremely disappointed that phone act did not come out with a disposable battery version of this hearing aid.

There are still a lot of people who prefer or require the use of a disposable battery, hearing aid, a few reasons to go with a disposable battery hearing aid versus a rechargeable battery hearing aid. It's just better piece of mind knowing that if you run out of battery, you can just pop out the old battery and put in a brand new battery and you're good to go. It also keeps the size of the hearing aids, much smaller. There are some individuals who just do not have enough space behind their ears to fit a rechargeable battery hearing aids. And at least in my clinic, we tend to see better reliability with disposable battery hearing aids. That've just been around for a lot longer. And any time that we have issues with a rechargeable battery hearing aid, oftentimes it is because of the battery rechargeable battery hearing aids are also not good for AmpCROS users.

Now, if you don't know what AmpCROS is, it's probably because you do not qualify for that type of setup of these hearing aids. But I do have a lot of patients who do require an amp cross treatment. On top of that, if you're an individual who uses a custom program that has a lot of advanced features enabled in it, you will not be able to wear these hearing aids all day long. I have some patients who like to be in a very narrow directional pickup with maximum noise reduction literally all day, and they can only wear those hearing aids for a maximum of 10 to 12 hours. I do expect to see phone act loose, significant market share due to not offering a disposable battery option, even though they only sell approximately 15% of disposable battery hearing aids. Basically all of those individuals are gonna go to a different manufacturer because they just flat out do not want a rechargeable hearing aid.

The other option is that these individuals could go with an older version of Phonak hearing aid, which is not that bad of an option. If they want to get disposable battery technology, we also do not have a CROS option inside of the LUmity line of hearing aids. And to be honest with you, I'm not expecting there to be one. It took them a while to come up with a Paradise CROS transmitter. And even to this day, which it's about a year after the release of the CROS transmitter, it is still not compatible with the, MyPhonak app. Phonak is well known for not showing their hands. So even if they are gonna come out with a disposable battery version of this hearing aid and a cross transmitter, you probably won't hear about it until right when it happens on a more positive note, Phonak finally decided to upgrade their chargers from the previous generation that they've had since around 2016, with the Audeo Belong platform, these new chargers called the charger ease, make it a lot easier to take the hearing aids out and put them back in instead of a latch that kind of like hooks the hearing aid into place.

It just uses a magnet that gently pulls it down. So individuals with poor finger dexterity or things like that have a much easier time of inserting and removing these devices to use them. Plus they got rid of the latch on the lid. So it's much easier just to kind of pull that lid open so you can get to the hearing aids, the Lumity Life waterproof hearing aids come with the charger case go. Now, this is the exact same charger case that you would find with the Paradise Life hearing aids from the previous generation. But the nice thing about this charger compared to the charger ease is that even though it is a little bit bigger, this one stores a charge, so you can unplug it from the wall, take it on the go and keep your hearing aids charged. If you need to. Like I said before, the charger case go does use inductive charging with the Lumity Life hearing aids.

So there are no battery contacts. However, there is one thing that has me extremely worried about these charger cases, and that is the amount of space that you have for your earpiece down in the, well, this is the charger case go. There is not a whole lot of room there. So if you're someone who uses like a full shell receiver in canal, to make sure that you anchor your hearing aid into your ears really well, you really can't fit them in there. And I've even had some issues with individuals with canal locks on their seashell ear, molds that do not fit in there very well. And to be honest with you, it's almost a little bit worse with the charger ease. There is not a whole lot of space down in there. Now, if you use a rubber dome, it's no problem, pretty much any size rubber dome can fit in there without an issue.

However, if you wanna start taking custom ear molds and putting them into this charger case, it doesn't leave you a whole lot of room in there. Now that right there is just with one custom ear mold. If I put another custom ear mold inside of there, they just get kinked around and they almost don't fit. And on top of that, if this is with a canal lock, if you're someone who has a skeleton lock on your ear molds to keep them locked into place. So they don't migrate out of your ears, they do not fit in here. If there was one thing that I wanted to be different about these hearing aids, it would be having a charger that has a little bit bigger of a well to fit a custom ear mold. And to be quite honest, this is a shame because Phonak has some of the absolute best custom ear molds on the market.

And there might be the potential that you can't even use them with this charger. All right, let's go ahead and talk about something that makes the Lumity line of hearing aids better than the previous generation of Paradise hearing aids. And it has everything to do with better hearing and background noise. One of my favorite hearing aid features of all time is Phonak's AutoSense operating system, which uses artificial intelligence to determine your acoustic environment. This allows phone act, hearing aids to automatically adjust to up to nine different custom program settings and switch the hearing aids into those settings automatically without you having to do anything. And this includes live, listen settings, as well as streaming settings. The reason I'm bringing it up is that Phonak improved AutoSense OS and they're now going from version 4.0 to version 5.0, which now has over 200 different combinations of settings to optimize your performance in a variety of different listening situations.

The Lumity also has two completely new features called SpeechSensor and StereoZoom 2.0, let's start with a new speech sensor feature, which is only available in the top tier Premium 90 level Lumity hearing aids, but this particular feature allows you to understand speech better from your sides and from behind you. When you are in a background noise situation, the spatial speech algorithm used inside of SpeechSensor will scan your environment in 30 degree sections and focus on the loudest speech. If the loudest speech signal is coming from your sides, the hearing aids will go into fixed directionality to pick up that speech. If the loudest speech signal is originating from behind you, the hearing aids will go into real ear sound, which will emphasize the high frequency speech components. Given you access to that as well. This particular feature increases speech intelligibility by an additional 15%.

If that sound is coming from your size or from behind you, and it even reduces listening effort by an additional 11%, if the loudest speech signal is originating from your front, the hearing aids will go into the new and improved StereoZoom 2.0 feature. This particular feature will help to eliminate the sounds coming from around you and focus on the speech directly in front of you. According to Phonak, the new 2.0 version of StereoZoom is smoother, smarter and stronger than their original. Let me start by saying how Phonak defines smoother. So on their previous generation of StereoZoom, when you went into a background noise situation, the hearing aids would automatically adjust from this fixed directionality into the narrow directionality. And it was very abrupt and unnatural sounding. Now this microphone transition is much more gradual. In fact, it is so gradual that I actually had to program in a different speech and noise program for me to switch into in a background noise situation.

So I could actually tell that this feature was being enabled because it was such a gradual transition. One thing is for sure though, once it becomes active, it does eliminate a lot of the background noise because of this extreme directional setting StereoZoom 2.0 is also smarter because it will narrow up the directionality in relation to the amount of noise in your environment. So if you start out with a little bit less noise, the directionality is gonna be a, a little bit more open and as it gets noisier, it is going to narrow up the pickup range to give you the maximum amount of reduction of background noise humanly possible. Now, when I asked phone act how narrow this will actually go, it really depends on the size of your head. So individuals who have a larger head, you would expect to get better directionality.

So I know that male heads are typically larger than female heads. So I guess I would say that these hearing aids might be a little bit better for males than they are for females, but don't worry. They're fantastic for females too, as far as how StereoZoom 2.0 is stronger than the original phone act did release a white paper that shows that there is an additional three decimals of signal to noise ratio improvement compared to real ear sound using a closed dome. You can also get an additional 2.5 decibel improvement in signal to noise ratio. If you adjust from the default setting of speech, focus to the maximum setting of Speech Focus, this can be adjusted by your hearing care professional in the programming software, or you can have control of it inside of the, my phone act app, the premium 90 level ity hearing aid is still the only version of this hearing aid that has Speech Enhancer, which will increase the amount of amplification given to a soft talker in a quiet environment.

You can get Dynamic Noise Cancellation in the level, nineties and level seventies. These top two tier levels of technology will also allow your hearing care professional to match your hearing loss prescription better with real ear measurement, which is a significant advantage of these higher technology levels. From 90 all the way down to 30 are still compatible with the event receivers that I talked about a little bit before, and they are all compatible with the Roger microphones that use integrated Roger receivers inside of these devices, which is extremely unique to Phonak. In my opinion, Phonak does have the best assistive listening devices on the market with the Roger On iN, the Roger Select iN and the Roger TableMic 2. All 3 of these assistive listening devices can dramatically cut down on the amount of background noise that you receive into your hearing aids.

And you can use them in a variety of different ways. Of course, I do have videos talking about each one of these accessories as well. If you want to check them out of my channel, in addition to the Roger accessories, you also get access to a TV Connector, as well as a Partner microphone. The TV Connector allows you to stream audio directly from your TV into both of your Phonak Lumity hearing aids at your prescriptive level, so you can hear it extremely well. And it doesn't interfere with anyone else's ability to hear the TV in the room. The partner mic is a small clip on microphone that you can clip onto the collar of their shirt. So when you go into a background noise situation, their voice goes right into the microphone. And that streams wirelessly into both of your hearing aids, which dramatically improves your ability to hear them in a noisy environment.

Phonak did recently update their MyPhonak App two times in the past two months, one of those updates was a major feature update. And then the other one was fixing a lot of the glitches that came along with that update, as well as making some changes based on consumer feedback. Hopefully these improvements will lead to a higher star rating inside of the play store and the app store. Now, I am not going to do a comprehensive review of the app inside of this video because I have a separate video dedicated to the, my phone app. But in general, what you can do is you can increase and decrease volume adjust between different programs, mute your hearing aids. You can actually track your health statistics such as wear time and your overall step count. You can make self customizations to your programs and you can even access remote care.

So you can have adjustments made on your hearing aids from the comfort of your own home, by having a live remote session with your hearing care professional. Overall, there is a lot to like about the new Phonak Lumity hearing aids, especially if you want hearing aids that have been specifically designed to help you out more in a background noise situation. Of course, I am always excited to see a new hearing aid hit the market that has been designed to help you hear better. So if you have been waiting for a better hearing aid to come along before you decide to treat your hearing loss or upgrade your hearing aid technology, then wait no longer because the Lumity hearing aid is that better hearing aid. That's it for this video. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section below. If you like the video, please share it. And if you wanna see other videos, just like this one, go ahead and hit that subscribe button. Also feel free to check on my website, hearingup.com

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