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Hearing aid technology is always advancing, and it can be hard to understand just how awesome each enhancement is without trying it first. To help you get an idea of why we are so excited about LiNX 3D™ and the ReSound Smart 3D app, we asked engineer Kurt Piepenburg to do a thorough, honest review of both technologies.
Read on to learn about the pros, cons, and cool features Kurt discovered while testing out some of the most advanced technology on the market today.
Demo review of hearing devices LiNX 3D and ReSound Smart 3D app as used with iPhone 5, running iOS 10.3.2.
Location of testing:
South central Texas near San Antonio.
Temperatures: Outside daytime temps average 90 Fahrenheit. Humidity average 30%.
Indoor Temperatures steady at 75 degrees.
Physical properties of devices:
- The devices are very lightweight (somewhat lighter than my Oticon devices), they fit comfortably over the ear and are not easy for other people to see.
- They can be put on/in the ears very easily, and the wearing of glasses causes no impingement upon physical placement or electronic functions of the devices.
- I felt no discomfort in the ear canals from the device domes, and they stayed in place throughout the day.
- I did not experience any itching in the ear canal while wearing them.
- I did not have to change the batteries during the time I wore them and, as I am a creature of habit, to conserve battery life, I took off the devices and opened the device battery doors each night before falling asleep. I found the battery doors were easy to open without possibility of causing damage to the housing.
As the connectivity between these devices and the ReSound Smart 3D app relies upon the iPhone’s BlueTooth signal, I fully expected there would be a significant drain on battery power.
However, as I was into my fourth day of the test period, I was pleasantly surprised to see the batteries were still at 100%, as displayed on my iPhone, the percentage viewable by one swipe to the left from my iPhone home screen.
I like this feature, to have a quick view of battery life with one swipe.
(This also shows the iPhone battery life.)
As a side note, I am an Apple Certified Technician, but I could not find in either the iPhone Settings or in the ReSound Smart 3D app where to activate/deactivate the battery percentage display, so I can only assume this feature is inherent and “comes with the program”, though it is unclear which device is on control of this function.
These devices use 312 type batteries, easily found at most supermarkets and drug stores.
Aural characteristics experienced while testing:
- I heard no feedback at any time.
- Sound seemed to be in 360 degrees.
- Amplification was not harsh, and incremental adjusting up and down of same via newly created or pre-set programs via the device hardware buttons or the ReSound Smart3D app was reliable, gentle and noticeable.
The ReSound Smart3D app:
What an easy, intuitive and realible app!
First, Bluetooth is enabled in iPhone Settings, then I went to “General”, then “Accessibility”, I then scrolled down to “Hearing Devices” and saw that, upon closing the device battery doors, the iPhone Bluetooth searched for the devices and quickly found them, shown as “Kurt’s Hearing Aids; ReSoundLT961-DRW”. (my iPhone is “Kurt’s iPhone”, therefore “Kurt’s Hearing Aids, etc”)
I was asked then to pair the devices, after which process the name of the devices was then shown in blue, and locked into place. From this point, then, I was able to affect changes to my devices by use of the ReSound Smart 3D app.
It is such that a re-pairing from device to iPhone will need to be implemented in Bluetooth is turned off and then on again, as is normal for any device with Bluetooth connectivity.
In the app, one will find easy to use controls, among them are the following:
- A Home screen that shows any environment-specific programs set up by the user;
- volume controls for each ear;
- a mute function for each ear;
- a way to switch between stereo and mono sound;
- a “Sound Enhancer” that displays an equalizer with up/down slide controls for bass-middle-treble, a nice feature to have when listening to music streamed to the devices from the iPhone.
I played around a bit with this EQ function and was impressed with the degree to which it affected the music on my ears. (Although I like this feature, I do not generally like music direct into the ears, preferring to hear it “in the room” instead.) Still, the feature is there, and it can help audio clarity during streamed phone conversations.
I took a couple of calls, streamed to the devices, and could fully understand the other party, one of which was an AT&T tech located in India with a heavy accent.
Back to the Home screen in the app:
Your designated environment programs are seen here, too, with the active program being front and center, where the user can invoke pre-programmed EQ settings such as Noise Filter, Speech Clarity, Speech Focus and Hear Everyone, just by tapping on the respective category.
And, you will hear the difference immediately, no delay.
Accessing each environment is super easy: Just swipe from right to left and the next program is activated. Upon activation, a confirming bell tone is heard in the ear.
There is a “Program Overview” pull down menu that allows you to review your programs and to edit, add or remove one or more.
The next screen of 4 seen at the bottom of the app screen is labeled Connectivity. Here you see a a line diagram and symbols for your head, the iPhone and both devices, left and right.
If you find you are not “getting anything” on either or both ears, take a look here and you may find the picture shows a broken connection between phone and device.
I tested this feature by opening each device battery door, and saw a red exclamation point and broken red line between each respective opened device and the iPhone.
Upon closing the battery door(s), these red alarms cleared, as expected. I watched the Connectivity screen and saw, as the device powered up, a little “slider-bar” filled up from left to right and, when full, the visual alarm cleared. As the connection was being re-established, I heard 10 little bell tones in the ear, probably for 5 seconds, total duration.
A highly responsive app!
Now, if you have, for whatever reason, turned Bluetooth off on your phone.
You will see both devices’ connections have alarms in the Connectivity screen.
Simply re-pair the ReSound devices to your cell phone and, along with now hearing properly, you will see connectivity visually restored.
Next screen is labeled:
Here I found “Find My Hearing Aid”.
I tapped on this and was immediately brought to a GPS nap of the USA, which then very quickly zero-ed in on my street address and pinpointed that this was where I would find them (they were in my ears, of course!).
Now, here’s where the free app REALLY shines: As it searches to find the devices,signal strength for EACH device is shown at the bottom of the screen, and a “BOTH” label is displayed over the dropped pin on the map to tell you both devices are “here”.
This is extremely useful if you have misplaced one or both devices. Since it uses GPS location services, I do believe the app will show you the last known location of the misplaced device, similar as is with Appe iPhone’s “Find My iPhone” feature.
Find My Hearing Aid is a wonderful in-app feature that will most certainly jog one’s memory into “THAT’S where I left it” mode, and would, undoubtedly save you some $ in device replacement! (Plus: There are two GPS views…MAP and SATELLITE.)
Also in My ReSound:
Learning About the App and Guiding Tips.
These two are what they say. Useful reading when you can’t get ahold of your overworked audiologist.
But…let’s say you DO need to get in touch with your audiologist: There’s a feature here for that, too.
Scenario: It’s evening and you have a problem with something related to one or both of your hearing devices and you cannot solve the issue.
You can create a trouble report and send it to your audiologist via the ReSound Smart 3D app “My ReSound” screen, by tapping the Request Assistance category and following the bullet point questionnaire.
When you are finished, the request is sent to your audiologist, wherein he/she, can diagnose the issue and can effectively troubleshoot and try to solve the problem with you, either by messaging via the app or by placing a call directly to you.
This may seem to place a potential burden upon the audiologist with beaucoup “stupid questions”, but I rather think there will be very few inbound calls for assistance, based upon the ease of operation of the app and (for at least for nearly one week, so far) the reliable hardware functionality of these ReSound devices.
What else is on the My ReSound screen?
“My Requests and New Settings” provides a history of assistance requests and (I think, but not sure yet) the changes that have been made as per the assistance request.
Next on the My ReSound screen is: Hearing Aid Software Updates, where the user will be notified of new available software from makers of ReSound.
As any Apple technician will tell you, I urge that new software be installed so as to be right where ReSound is in their ongoing development in the product.
There is no sense in falling behind with installing updates, especially if it means an improvement in your hearing.
The fourth and last screen at the bottom of the app is labeled as “More, comprised of the following, most of which is self explanatory:
Demo mode, Guiding Tips and Auto Activate Favorite Features (as found at the Home Screen), About, Legal Information, Support.
(For me, all the support I need will be coming from my audiologist, either in person or via an assistance request sent via the My ReSound section in the app.)
So, that’s the app.
In my opinion, ReSound has a much better app than, say, Starkey, both of which I have recently tested.
All in all, both the ReSound hearing aids and the ReSound Smart3D app pass with flying colors.
The devices provide clear hearing for me, and effectively help to improve my high and mid-range hearing loss and do provide some needed relief from annoying high-frequency constant tinnitus in both ears.
(Tinnitus relief and masking is not an in-app feature for the devices I am testing, but tweaks to the device programming performed by the audiologist, in office, are quite noticeable improvements)
I expect to test that ReSound hearing device model with Tinnitus Relief next, and I do look forward to that experience.
One other note:
While working outside in 90 degree south Texas heat, I did perspire quite a bit, but I did not remove my devices during this time and found that the moisture around my ears did not affect performance.
I will speak to my audiologist about this to learn about moisture thresholds, therefore I cannot make an educated recommendation on this particular subject.
A couple more notes I almost forgot about:
In my iPhone Settings screens, under Accessibility and Hearing Devices, you can set up how calls and media audio is routed, either “always, never or automatically”, to your ReSound devices.
And…lastly…Using an Apple iPhone, I am able to triple-click my home button to see a nice one-screen view of the most important ReSound device settings.