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ReSound ONE - Discover - September 2020

Interview with Michael Howitz & Rondi Eggenberger, GN ReSound

Michael Howitz

January 26, 2009
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Topic: Custom be by ReSound
CAROLYN SMAKA: Today I'm speaking with Michael Howitz and Rondi Eggenberger from ReSound Product Management. Welcome!

MICHAEL HOWITZ: Thank you.

SMAKA: We're discussing your newest product introduction-be by ReSound Custom. What's the background on how this product came about?

HOWITZ: We experienced quite a bit of success with our latest innovation, be by ReSound with Invisible Open Technology (IOT), that was introduced in the middle of last year. A tremendous number of audiologists and dispenser tried it and really liked working with it. But as with all new products, we received feedback from our customers on some potential improvements. Since be by ReSound IOT is a non-custom device, it fit many patients well, but it did not fit every patient. So our customers requested the same benefits of a remote microphone instrument in a customized version that could be fit to more patients.

So, in response to our customers' requests, the United States production team worked diligently to develop a customized version of be by ReSound. You'll see that be by ReSound custom appears to be very similar to a CIC except that it has a remote microphone like that found with be by ReSound IOT. From be by ReSound IOT, we've found that the remote microphone location provides great benefits such as ultimate cosmetic appeal, natural wind noise reduction, and improved localization. This unique design, along with its benefits is now also available in a custom instrument.

What we found through extensive field experience is that somewhere around 80% of patients can be physically fit with be by ReSound Invisible Open Technology (IOT). Now with be by ReSound Custom, we can physically fit even more patients simply because it is a customized version. In addition, with be by ReSound custom, we are able to offer an expanded fitting range due to different receiver options. As a result, more patients can be fit with be by ReSound Custom from an audiometric perspective as well.

SMAKA: What are those fitting ranges - both for be by ReSound IOT and be by ReSound Custom/Custom Power?

EGGENBERGER: With be by ReSound IOT and be by ReSound Custom, the fitting range is generally in the mild to moderately-severe hearing loss category. We're probably being a little bit conservative however as be by ReSound Custom can actually fit a wider range than be by ReSound IOT. With the power version, be by ReSound Custom Power, you can fit moderately-severe to severe hearing losses. With the addition of a more powerful receiver, we're able to provide much more power while still taking advantage of the remote microphone design. Separating the microphone and the receiver helps to maintain a feedback-free fitting, even with more significant hearing losses. As a result, be by ReSound Custom Power can replace, for example, an in-the- canal device or even in some cases, a half shell device. So where patients would otherwise be fit with one of those larger custom models, they can now be fit with a more cosmetically appealing device, be by ReSound Custom Power.


SMAKA: What are the specs of the be by ReSound Custom Power instrument?

HOWITZ: It has a full-on gain of 51 dB with an OSPL 90 of 117 dB SPL, which is a pretty powerful instrument considering the very small case size.

You know, with other aids this size, standard CIC's for example, you've got the microphone and receiver all cased into one small shell. Then, when you try and add a little power, it's difficult to achieve without causing internal feedback at the manufacturing level. Even if a stabilized device can be manufactured, you often can't provide as much power as is needed by the patient without creating feedback. With be by ReSound Custom Power that's not nearly as likely to happen with the remote microphone design because it's located outside the physical body of the instrument if you will, and so much further away from the receiver.

SMAKA: You mentioned that be by ReSound IOT was launched earlier this year, and you've seen a lot of success with it. What have you heard from professionals fitting be by ReSound IOT, and from patients who are wearing it?

EGGENBERGER: Well, what we heard from the patients after the product launch was essentially similar to what we expected based on our alpha trials and pre-launch studies that we conducted. One of the big benefits found was the lack of wind noise. As we've talked about before, this is a product where we're looking at all the best benefits of BTE's and the best benefits of custom models combined into one device, without some of the known disadvantages of either.

One of the issues with many custom hearing aid models and certainly with BTEs is wind noise. Also, some patients complain of the sound of hair rubbing across the microphone creating a static noise. With be by ReSound, the microphone is tucked up into the helix so that the helix actually provides the maximum amount of protection against wind noise. Our data and patients' experiences have shown this and we are also seeing it in the customized version. So with be by ReSound custom or be by ReSound IOT, the remote microphone placement pretty much guarantees that the patient will not experience wind noise difficulties. And as an added benefit, with the microphone protected up in the helix area, complaints of microphone noise due to hair rubbing across the microphone has been eliminated.


SMAKA: And there are cosmetic benefits as well, I would think.

HOWITZ: Right. One of the nice things, especially with the low power version, be by Resound Custom, is because you're taking the microphone out of the shell there is the potential of being able to build an even more cosmetically appealing device than the comparable CIC device. This also has an advantage when it comes to venting. With be by ReSound Custom you don't have to physically fit as many components into the shell, so there is more space available to fit a very large vent such that the patient experiences no occlusion.

One of the things that came out of some of our internal studies with be by ReSound Custom is that many previous long-time CIC wearers made comments that the sound quality of be by ReSound Custom was superior to anything they'd worn before. We think that there are a number of reasons for this, including the fact that we're able to build such a non-occluding device;be by ReSound Custom provides the amplification they need but without any occlusion that can be a problem with so many other custom instruments.

SMAKA: To order be by ReSound Custom, you'll need to take ear impressions, correct?

EGGENBERGER: Yes, in fact, we need a full, complete ear impression that includes the helix curl for each ear. With other custom products, many professionals do not take full complete ear impressions that include the entire helix curl. With be by ReSound IOT, the microphone tube comes in six different lengths that can be changed in the field. However, in the custom version, we actually customize the length of the microphone to the patient's ear;there are not a set number of lengths. The only way we can successfully customize the microphone for the correct microphone placement is by using a complete impression of the patient's ear, all the way through the helix curl. We'll need to see all the geometry of the patient's ear in order to get the microphone placed in the best way possible.

SMAKA: So, you're talking about the same kind of ear impression you'd take for someone with a severe to profound hearing loss, where you'd be ordering a fully occluding earmold. Not that this fitting would be fully occluding in any way, but you need the full ear anatomy.

HOWITZ: Yes, that's exactly the same principle. We need the complete, full impression. For be by ReSound Custom, an ear impression that includes just the concha, but does not necessarily go up into the helix, will not be a complete enough impression because we won't be able to determine exactly where to place the microphone. So that is one point we are really stressing in our training and education with be by ReSound custom- we need complete, full concha and helix ear impressions so that we can deliver the best product possible.

SMAKA: Is this product one color fits all since you're not going to be able to see it anyway?

EGGENBERGER: We try and give our customers as many options as possible because everybody has their own preferences. So we have aligned be by ReSound Custom with our other custom products. They can be ordered in light, medium, and dark standard shell faceplate colors, or also in red, blue or clear shells.

SMAKA: It looks really cool in the pictures, and it looks like you can fit a monster vent on it.



HOWITZ: The remote microphone design certainly gives us more room to do that when possible, depending on the ear of course.

SMAKA: Is be by ReSound custom an option on your custom order form?

EGGENBERGER: We'll be mailing out launch packets to our customers that will include a custom order form just for the be by ReSound Custom product.

In addition I should add that Aventa 2.7, which was mailed to customers earlier this month, will program the be by ReSound Custom products.

SMAKA: Sounds like a lot of benefits for custom product wearers - cosmetics, power, venting, and less wind noise and reduced feedback.

HOWITZ: Yes, one thing we've been hearing a lot from customers is that they're looking for something new in custom products, something new that they can offer their patients. Our customers have been really excited about the advantages that be by ReSound custom will be bringing to them and their patients.

SMAKA: Anything else you want to mention?

EGGENBERGER: be by ReSound Custom will be available and ready to ship on Monday, February 2nd.

SMAKA: Great! Thanks for your time guys. Good luck with be by ReSound Custom and hope to have you back real soon.

HOWITZ: Thanks, it's always a pleasure.

For more information, visit www.gnresound.com or the ReSound Web Channel on AudiologyOnline.
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Michael Howitz