Sound improvements, tap controls and better Bluetooth
I've been wearing the new Phonak Paradise hearing aids for just over a week and I've learned a lot about their functions and potential. Now I would like to share my first impressions with you. Before I get to that, here is a little background information on the new Paradise hearing aids.
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Welcome to Phonak Audeo Paradise
Audéo Paradise has all of the favorite features first introduced in Marvel. You continue to get universal Bluetooth connectivity, Hands-free calling, lithium-ion rechargeability, a full range of wireless accessories and much more:
- Stereo bluetooth streaming - Streaming from iPhone, iPad, MacOS, Android, Windows and any other Bluetooth-enabled audio device.
- Hands-free calls in stereo - Real hands-free calls from Bluetooth-enabled phones and VOIP services like Skype.
- TV streaming - Paradise can stream directly from Bluetooth televisions and also via the Phonak TV Connector as an accessory.
- Rechargeability - Paradise allows hearing aids to be used for a full day on a single charge.
- Adjustments at home - Paradise hearing aids can be adjusted remotely by your hearing care professional.
- Moisture protection - Like most Phonak hearing aids today, the Paradise hearing aids have a high IP68 rating.
- RogerDirect ™ - Direct streaming from the popular Roger remote microphone accessory from Phonak.
- PartnerMic ™ - Clear audio streaming from a remote microphone using Phonak's AirStream ™ technology.
The Paradise product range also looks very similar to the Audéo Marvel. On the surface, the form factors are almost indistinguishable from the previous generation, and Phonak continues to offer two rechargeable models (one with and one without a telecoil) and two models with disposable batteries (the telecoil model uses a 13-size battery and the model without a telecoil uses a 312 battery). It looks like Phonak has decided not to continue manufacturing the 312 telecoil model offered in the Audéo generation.
On the success ofMarvelbuild up
Phonak introduced Audéo Marvel, the world's first universal Bluetooth hearing aid, back in 2018. Marvel was an instant best-seller for Phonak, with over a million hearing aids sold in less than a year. Two years later, Marvel is the number 1 most viewed product onmysecondear.deand one of the most talked about hearing aids on the Hearing Tracker Community forum for hearing loss.
But there is always room for improvement. Rather than reinventing the wheel, Phonak has chosen to build on Marvel's previous successes with the new generation of Audéo hearing aids - Audéo Paradise - by offering improvements in sound processing, speech enhancement and Bluetooth connectivity.
What's new in Paradise?
Aside from the fact that Paradise brings the best features of Marvel, Paradise introduces 6 major upgrades compared to Marvel:
- More bluetooth connections - Paradise can pair with up to 8 Bluetooth devices and has 2 active Bluetooth connections. This makes switching between your two favorite devices a lot easier. Marvel only offered an active connection.
- Tap the controls - You can double tap the Paradise hearing aids to answer / end phone calls, pause / stop streaming and access voice assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant.
- Motion detection - A new ultra-low power accelerometer detects when you move and adjusts hearing aid microphones and noise cancellation settings.
- Clearer speech in quiet surroundings - A new "Speech Enhancer" function amplifies the peaks of quiet speech and thus ensures clear speech in quiet surroundings.
- Improved noise suppression - Phonak introduces Dynamic Noise Reduction, an automatic spatial noise reduction system that works in combination with a beamformer microphone system.
- PRISM sound processing chip - The new chip offers twice the storage space and enables a better Bluetooth connection.
My experience with the Phonak Paradise
The app set up and bluetooth pairing were super easy on my phone, and although there was a slight delay in video chat with the hearing care professional, the overall experience was smooth. The connection went in no time at all.
Streaming audio and hands-free calling
My first test was streaming music from my phone through Spotify. The connection was rock solid, but the sound quality wasn't that good. I consider myself an audiophile and prefer the sound of my Bose QC-35 to any hearing aid when it comes to listening to music. I justify this with the tiny speakers used by hearing aids and the fact that receiver-in-canal hearing aids like the Paradise leave my ear canal open (all the bass comes out).
I usually listen to podcasts while riding my bike to our office. Instead of mine Oticon Opn 1 S, I had used the Phonak Paradise hearing aids. The hearing aids have made it so much easier for me to hear both my podcast and the cars and people around me, making me feel a lot safer on the road.
I received a few phone calls while wearing the Paradise hearing aids. In general, they behave as you would expect from modern bluetooth earbuds. You can answer a call with a simple double tap on the hearing aid, and when you're done, the streaming will resume with the music or podcast you were listening to before the break. Phone calls are clear, and everyone I've spoken to said my voice sounded good on the other end. I was even able to take calls while riding my bike. Unfortunately, the sound got a bit strange (occasional pops and echoes), but it was good enough to keep a conversation going and, amazingly, there wasn't a wind noise for me or the person on the other end to talk about.
Voice assistant by double tapping the Phonak Paradise
With the new double-tap controls, I was able to activate Siri on my iPhone and Google Assistant on my Android phone. This was extremely helpful when I was out on a bike. One of my favorite voice commands is "Hey Google, fast forward 30 seconds" ... Great way to skip an ad on a podcast! Unfortunately, I wasn't able to test Siri on my MacBook Pro, and that was because I was completely unable to pair the Paradise with my laptop. Well, I was able to pair the hearing aids but unfortunately they didn't stay connected so I couldn't test streaming audio, phone calls, or Siri from my devices yet.
Hear with background noise
Given the current circumstances with COVID-19, I was unable to stress test the hearing aids in a noisy public space such as a restaurant or bowling alley. However, I was able to wear the hearing aids at home, where my two young children are frolicking in the hallways, screaming and laughing like crazy. The Paradise hearing aids seemed to handle the situation better than any hearing aids I've worn before. The noise didn't blow my head away, and I was still able to hear my wife on the kids from the bedroom. Given this experience, I suspect they would work very well in a restaurant.
Using the new myPhonak app
The new myPhonak app works similarly to the old myPhonak app. With regard to the remote control functions, you will find the well-known three-band frequency control for bass, middle and treble, a volume control, noise suppression and a speech focus control as well as a control for reducing loud sounds or increasing soft sounds. With the new Paradise aids, Phonak has improved the slider for the speech focus, which states that the slider "now reduces noise from behind and from the sides and at the same time amplifies speech from the front".
The new myPhonak app
The app offers a number of other functions that were already included in the previous app, such as: B. a real-time remote control for hearing care with support of live video chat, access to battery status and wearing time, a hearing diary and individual program settings.
With the app, your hearing care professional can now even test your hearing through the app using a feature called AudiogramDirect. This relatively new feature was demonstrated to me during my remote care appointment and it should prove extremely useful for those patients trying to keep their distance during the pandemic.
Rechargeability, battery life and the charging case
According to Phonak, the hearing aid batteries should last 16 hours, including 4 hours of Bluetooth streaming and 4 hours of streaming via the TV connection. For my personal use, I've found the hearing aids to last all day without any problems, and I've probably streamed audio and calls for at least 6 hours a day. Once I accidentally forgot to turn off the hearing aids and left them in the unplugged charger overnight. I mistakenly assumed they would turn off automatically when I put them in the charger.
As for the charger itself, it's not my all-time favorite. The hearing aids don't magically spring into the cradle with magnetism like many of the wireless earbuds I've used. So it can be a little fiddly getting them safely into place. Fortunately, there are some flashing green indicator lights that will let you know when you've plugged them in properly. The hearing aids are also harder to remove from the charger, so you'll need to hold the case with one hand and grasp the hearing aid body (not the Ex-earpiece) firmly to remove it from the charger.
I was able to pair the Paradise tools with an iPhone and an Android phone at the same time and easily toggle them without having to turn off Bluetooth on the other paired device every time I wanted to switch devices. So the new dual active Bluetooth connection function works as advertised. Given the COVID-19 situation, I haven't had much opportunity to test the motion sensor function so far as most of my interactions take place at home or in the office where I don't walk and talk as much.