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Phonak is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of hearing aids and have a very wide portfolio of products. In the UK their office is based in Warrington but you will find their primary high street presence represented by Boots with whom they share retail operations. Phonak has updated its highly successful Audeo S range with new models incorporating their new processor the Quest or "Q" so what’s now available in this great range of hearing aids? Phonak have split their Audeo Q product into four different technology bands and three different product formats within each technology band. They classify these bands as "Essential", "Standard", "Advanced" and "Premium". The Audeo Q-30 products make up the Essential category and the three products are the Audeo Q-30 Q-312, Q-10 and Q-312T. Across the range and at its core is the Q or Quest processor which at this level is featured to provide eight sound processing channels. While this is the entry level technology band and therefore the lowest number of channels, eight is still very respectable and in the hands of an experienced hearing aid audiologist should provide a good match to your hearing loss. Put simply the more channels that a hearing aid has the better the match to a specific loss or frequency shape. The smallest of the three products is the Q-10 (named after its battery size) which is a very small and discrete device. One would think that smaller is always better in the hearing aid world but this does have some limitations over its slightly larger brothers. The Q-10 cannot connect to other devices such as wireless streamers, TV amplifiers, telecoil loop systems etc., so if this functionality is important then you should consider the larger Q-312T. The sound processing algorithms available within the Audeo Q30 are not as comprehensive as those within the higher technology bands but all products still have Soundrecover, Whistleblock and Noiseblock. To turn to the slightly larger product variants, namely the Audeo Q30 Q-312 and Q-312T they both are wireless enabled and this will bring the opportunity to connect to a number of devices remotely – either through streamers or directly. The connection of hearing aids to wireless systems is now becoming common across a wide variety of products, so take the time to discuss these options with your Hearing Aid Audiologist, they can be of significant benefit now that so many household devices are wireless enabled. In addition to wireless functionality the Q-312T is equipped with a telecoil so can connect to loop systems or loop enabled phones. These are still widespread but with the explosion of wireless, the days of the telecoil may be numbered. As one would expect from Phonak, the Audeo Q-30 is available in a broad range of colours. Phonak have always been "edgy" with their designs and the one can chose anything from traditional Beige through to Purple Transparent. The devices themselves still look good although the Q-312T is perhaps a little understated. Finally the Audeo Q range comes with an option of a "Tinnitus Balance Noise Generator". We hesitate to say more as this is such a subjective condition but should you suffer from Tinnitus you should definitely explore this further during your consultation. An excellent range of products and while the Essential Audeo Q-30 is the entry level product you should expect good results from a discreet design. Further up the range there is a wealth of sound processing algorithms to improve your listening experience so perhaps browse the Q-50, Q-70 and Q-90 before you finally decide that the Audeo Q-30 is the product portfolio for you.
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