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The Phonak Audeo Q-70 replaces the Audeo S5 with the Q standing for Phonak’s new sound processing chip the Quest replacing the S or Spice chip within the old Audeo. This makes the new model faster in its sound processing but Phonak’s upgrade hasn’t stopped there. They have replaced the previous Audeo models of Smart, Mini and Yes with the Q-312T, the Q-312 and the Q-10. The numbers within the Q range refer to their battery size and the T of the Q-312T indicates that this product has a telecoil and can therefore be linked with loop systems that are found in most public buildings such as theatres, cinemas, post offices, railway stations, churches etc. The housings of the new products have been lacquered which Phonak believes gives a better and longer lasting finish. As one would expect there is a bewildering array of colours to personalise your hearing aid ranging from the garish "Purple Transparent" through to the more sedate and traditional "Sand Beige". So a smart, long lasting appearance but let’s look under the skin and see what sound processing Phonak has installed in the Audeo Q-70. The new Quest processor has enabled faster sound processing and more complex sound improvement algorithms to run on the Audeo Q-70. All three products operate the Advanced UltraZoom directionality system for improving speech understanding in noise and in addition the Q-70 has an Enhanced SNR boost. SNR stands for Speech in Noise Ratio so this will assist the biggest problem of most hearing aid wearers which is the ability to understand speech, particularly soft or high frequency female voices in noisy situations. Further on down a very comprehensive list of sound processing algorithms the Audeo Q-70 features systems that both improve the desired sound as well as minimising undesirable sounds such as wind noise, feedback whistle and the like. The issues that experienced hearing aid users have had to put up with over the years may come as a surprise to first time wearers but advanced sound processing is now combating the historic issues in providing a much more comfortable and natural sound experience through hearing aids like the Audeo Q-70. While you can research the detail of these complex algorithms the acid test will always be how close the listening experience gets to those without hearing impairment and above all the degree of improvement in communication in difficult sound environments. In addition to amplification of natural sound in an advanced fashion the Audeo Q series has another function that is worthy of detailed investigation and that is wireless communication. Two of the three product formats are wireless enabled – meaning they have the ability to communicate wirelessly with compatible external devices; either Phonak’s range or a number of household electronics that are now wireless enabled. Compatible devices may include televisions, telephones, mobiles, MP3 players etc. but by no means are all wireless so check how you are going use your hearing aid before committing to a wireless version. Lastly across the Audeo Q range Phonak have installed a feature that they refer to as a Balance Noise Generator. This is designed to alleviate the symptoms of tinnitus which is quite prevalent amongst those with hearing impairment. Check with your Hearing Aid Audiologist whether this may be of benefit to you. In summary a very good quality product range has been upgraded by Phonak, one of the world’s leading hearing aid manufacturers so there is much to recommend in the Audeo Q. The Q-70 is the second technology tier so while not have all the functionality of the Q-90 is still represents an exceptionally advanced hearing system that should provide considerable benefit to a great number of those suffering from a degree of hearing loss.
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