Hear life to its fullest with Halo, the new Made for iPhone Hearing Aid from Starkey Hearing Technologies – guest post by Dave Fabry

RIC13%20XF_FL13_P000948_HeroStarkey Hearing Technologies is excited to announce the release of Halo, our Made for iPhone Hearing Aid. Halo offers proven best-in-class hearing aid features for feedback reduction, adaptive noise management, frequency lowering (when needed) and directionality.   But that is just the start! Halo is compatible with Apple products including iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, which eliminates the need for “dedicated” remote controls to adjust hearing aid gain or program settings. Also, no additional hardware or accessories are needed for streaming phone calls, music, video or media directly to a user’s hearing aids.

iPhone_5s_Vert_Slvr_sRGB_Generic%20Brand_TruLinkHalo works seamlessly with the TruLink hearing control app to provide unparalleled optimization and personalization for a wide variety of sound environments. In combination with the TruLink app, Halo devices function as high-fidelity wireless stereo headphones connecting directly to sounds the listener wants to hear.  With Halo and TruLink, hearing aid users have access to the more than 1 million apps that are currently available on iTunes, connecting to anything with audio or visual inputs like music, movies, games and FaceTime.

Using the SoundSpace feature in the TruLink Hearing Control App, users can simultaneously adjust 64 hearing aid parameters in real-time with a virtually infinite number of unique settings to match their individual listening preference. This provides patients the ability to fine tune to the “real world” with much greater precision and range than any other device on the market. Wearers can access up to 20 unique programmable memories to match the most demanding of patient lifestyles. These may be accessed manually or “geotagged” using iPhone’s integrated GPS system to automatically change settings when the patient is in that environment. TruLink also has an adaptive car mode that optimizes the settings for the best performance in this demanding environment; the system engages adaptively when the Halo user is in a car traveling more than 10 miles an hour.

Dave%20FabryDave Fabry, Ph.D., is Vice President of Audiology and Professional Relations at Starkey Hearing Technologies. He holds a Ph.D. in audiology from the University of Minnesota. His professional experience includes positions as a Research Audiologist at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Chief of Audiology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and Vice President of Professional Relations and Education for Phonak Hearing Systems. He was Chief of Audiology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Fabry is also a prolific writer, having served as an Associate Editor for Ear and Hearing, Editor of American Journal of Audiology, Associate Editor for Audiology Online and Editor of Audiology Today. He has published more than 50 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Fabry has presented widely in the U.S. and internationally and has served as a board member and president of the American Academy of Audiology, from which he received the Distinguished Service Award in 2009.

About AU Bankaitis

A.U. Bankaitis, PhD is a clinical Audiologist with extensive clinical, research, and business experience within the hearing industry. Dr. Bankaitis created this blog to educate her colleagues on viable product solutions for their patients and/or clinical practice.
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5 Responses to Hear life to its fullest with Halo, the new Made for iPhone Hearing Aid from Starkey Hearing Technologies – guest post by Dave Fabry

  1. I am so glad that Starkey recognizes the importance of telecoils in hearing instruments and trust that you will soon offer a model that incorporates a complete array of features in one device, That way consumers do not have to compromise and can get the full spectrum of benefits that modern hearing instruments can offer including a telecoil for improved speech understanding in hearing loops now found in an ever increasing number of public and private venues.

  2. Dave Fabry says:

    Hi Dan and Dr. Sterkens, and thank-you for your comments.

    First, Dan:

    1) Halo, as a “Made for iPhone” device, is designed to be used with Apple’s proprietary 2.4 GHz Codec. Therefore, this device and TruLink app will only work with iOS devices.

    2) As you know, battery life will depend on receiver, volume control input, streaming time, gain, and a host of other factors. For Halo used with a 50 dB gain receiver, idle current is 1.6 mA, and with no streaming, that translates to 10-13 days of battery life. Because we expect that most Halo users will want to take advantage of iPhone connectivity for phone, audio, video, and apps, we specify 7-9 days battery life for 16 hours/day use, including 3 hours streaming per day.

    Dr. Sterkens:

    We agree that hearing aid telecoils provide access to loop systems, and Starkey has been a stalwart supporter of telecoils in all (possible) form factors. That said, the individuals most likely to purchase Halo are those who want to take advantage of the iPhone’s ability to stream phone calls, music, video, Siri, and any app that uses audio directly between the phone and hearing aids. We agree with you, that the professional service and delivery model requires adequate assessment by the clinician regarding whether a specific device meets the needs and expectations for each patient. Fortunately, Starkey offers other wireless devices that incorporate telecoils for those individuals who want to use loop systems. We believe very strongly that Halo offers an excellent opportunity to expand the hearing aid market, providing both connectivity and best-in-class performance features (e.g. feedback cancellation, adaptive noise management and directionality) to the 26 million Americans with untreated hearing loss. That said, we also offer a comprehensive product portfolio of solutions for new/existing hearing aid users to satisfy every budget, degree of loss, and lifestyle. I appreciate your taking the time to comment, and would love to discuss this further with you if you would like. You can contact me at Starkey (800.328.8602×2484) or find me on Twitter (@dfab1959) or Facebook (Dave Fabry)

  3. One step forward – two steps back? New MFi instruments lack telecoils.

    It is a step forward that the new MFi instruments no longer will need an intermediary device to stream phone calls, music, and sound from videos. As an audiologist and consumer advocate I applaud anything that makes use of hearing aids easier and more convenient. But are the hearing aid manufacturers throwing the baby out with the bathwater? It appears that the manufacturers are rushing MFi devices to market with their aesthetically small instruments that lack telecoils?
    Last time I checked, our patients purchase hearing instruments to hear. Hear everywhere they experience difficulty and that includes larger public venues where we all know hearing aids are unable to deliver due to background noise, distance or reverberation. In these public places they require the use of assistive listening technology.

    The most user friendly assistive technology are hearing loops and thanks to many advocates there is a nationwide push to bring this technology to the very venues our clients want and need to hear. Helàs, the users of the new MFi instruments will be literally left out of the loop without an on board telecoil. Many of them will find out too late that not having a telecoil means they cannot only access hearing loop signals, the existing infra-red and FM assistive technology offered with neck loops is not good for them either.

    A survey among hearing aid users’ hearing loop experiences (in progress see https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/hearing_loop ) is showing how speech understanding dramatically improves when hearing aids are used in hearing loop. This is confirmed by audiologists and hearing loop advocates around the country. Most of these providers find that our clients, when fully informed and demonstrated the power of the loop rarely will forego the telecoil in a new purchase – regardless of size of the instruments. No doubt the providers who jump on the sale of these new MFi telecoil-less devices without full disclosure, will eventually face unhappy clients in the future when the news of the benefit of telecoils reaches their ears.

    Until MFi instruments come equipped with telecoils, I believe the MFRs have taken a step backwards by not taking the needs of our clients, who ultimately we all serve, into consideration. For the consumer, the made for iPhone hearing aids are at best, a step in place.

    Juliette Sterkens, AuD

  4. Dan Schwartz says:

    1) Will the Halo allow streamed A2DP Bluetooth audio, perhaps controlled by the TruStream app, from other devices such as laptop PC’s, or only from iOS apps?

    2) What is the overall battery drain and/or increase in battery drain when receiving 2.45 gHz UHF Bluetooth digital audio?

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