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Introducing ReSound LiNX, Made for iPhone Hearing Aid

Laurel Christensen, PhD

March 24, 2014
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Interview with Laurel Christensen, PhD


Carolyn:  Congratulations on the launch of ReSound LiNX™, ReSound’s Made for iPhone® hearing aid.  Can you provide an overview?

Laurel:  Thanks, it’s my pleasure.  ReSound LiNX was formally launched  February 24th in New York City with a media event, which is not typical for product launches for hearing instruments.  But this product is very different. 

ReSound LiNX is the  third generation of 2.4 GHz wireless technology from ReSound, and is based on our new SmartRange™ chipset.  ReSound LiNX is the first hearing aid on the market  that can be used directly with an iPhone®.  With 2.4 GHz technology, LiNX can connect without any kind of intermediary device to our ReSound UniteTM accessories, and now we can also connect directly to an iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod touch®.

ReSound LiNX is a high-end premium hearing aid with Surround Sound by ReSound™, which has world-class sound quality.  In fact, it has been rated the highest in an independent study when compared across all manufacturers.

Carolyn:  When you say, “connect to an iPhone”, I think about telephone use, but it actually refers to much more.

Laurel:  That’s right.  You can think of connecting to these devices in two main ways.  The first is audio streaming.  So, everything that is audible from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch can be streamed directly to your hearing aid, without any intermediary device.  As you indicated, the most obvious use with an iPhone is to make phone calls.  You can also stream your music.  You can stream YouTube videos, movies and podcasts.  Any audible sounds are streamed to the iPhone directly, even turn by turn navigation. 

Secondly, with the new ReSound Smart app you can control and personalize your hearing aid with the iPhone. 

Carolyn: What hearing aid features can be adjusted using the ReSound Smart app?

Laurel: A hearing aid user using ReSound LiNX never really needs to touch their hearing aids, outside of putting them in.  think of how stigma-reducing that is - you can control your hearing aids simply by doing what everybody else is doing today, playing with their iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.  No one has to know you are adjusting your hearing aids. 

There are some unique features as well. For example, you can turn your iPhone into a microphone and hand it to someone to speak into.  This function significantly improves the signal to noise ratio for the hearing aid user.

Carolyn: How is the sound quality when streaming?

Laurel:  The sound quality during audio streaming is incredible. It is like turning your hearing aids into wireless stereo headphones when you are using the streaming function. 

Carolyn: In addition to being able to use your iPhone as a remote control, what other features does the ReSound Smart app provide?

Laurel:  The Find My Hearing Aid feature in the ReSound Smart app is pretty exciting.  With this feature, your iPhone will display in bars its proximity to the hearing aids.  For example, if the hearing aids are next to the phone, you will see two full bars on the phone indicating signal strength, or maximum connectivity. Let’s say you put your hearing aids on the table, and start to walk away with your phone.  In this case you will see the bars decrease because you are further away from your hearing aids and thus the signal is decreasing.  If you misplace your hearing aids, you can get your phone, go to the Find My Hearing Aid feature, and use this feature to help locate your hearing aids.  You will see the bars increase indicating an increase in signal strength when you are closer to your hearing aids. 

Carolyn: What if the hearing aid batteries die or the hearing aids are turned off?

Laurel: In either case, the Find My Hearing Aid function in our Smart app will tell you the last place the hearing aids and iPhone were connected on a map. You’ll know if they are in your home or if you might have left them perhaps at the restaurant you had been to the night before.  .  It is a very practical feature to have.

In addition, there is a geo-tagging feature in the ReSound Smart app.  With this feature, a person can set up their hearing aid in a way that is useful for them in a certain environment such as their favorite coffee shop, and then they can tag it.  When they return to the coffee shop, the iPhone will recognize the environment and ask if they want to access the stored hearing aid settings.  If they select yes, the hearing aids will automatically return to those settings.

Carolyn: You mentioned that the hearing aids have premium technology.  What are some of the key features within the ReSound LiNX hearing instruments themselves?

Laurel:  ReSound LiNX features Surround Sound by ReSound, which comprises our premium signal processing package including WARPTM compression, Noise TrackerTM II, DFS UltraTM II with Music ModeTM, Binaural DirectionalityTM, and Binaural Environmental OptimizerTM just to name a few. In addition, there are some new features.  It has Sound Shaper™, our frequency compression algorithm, and the Synchronized Acceptance Manager..  The Sound Shaper is for people who have regions of their cochlea that are not useful, so you can move the sound to a different area of the cochlea that can make use of it.  With the Synchronized Acceptance Manager, gain can be automatically increased over time so that it is more optimal for speech understanding. 

Carolyn: What is the fitting range for ReSound LiNX?

Laurel: We offer a wide range of receivers that we estimate can fit at least 90% of the people you will see in your office.  There are four different receivers, including a new ultra power fully encased receiver for ReSound LiNX with a 75 dB of peak gain. With this receiver, you can program a more linear type of processing in the Aventa fitting software, if desired to meet the needs of your patient.

Carolyn:  How will the ReSound LiNX compare to other hearing aids that connect to iPhone?

Laurel:  There are no other hearing aids on the market today that connect directly to an iPhone.  There are other devices that might be able to be used with an iPhone but not in this direct way without an intermediary device.  The only way to connect to these devices without an intermediary device is to use 2.4 GHz technology as we have in the ReSound LiNX. 

We do believe that there are other manufacturers working on Made for iPhone hearing aids, but they do not have the kind of experience with 2.4 GHz that  we have. Our ReSound LiNX hearing aid is premium technology with all our premium signal processing including ear-to-ear binaural processing and connections to our accessories.  Other products that may come onto the market for iPhone are not likely to have this level of advanced technology The ReSound LiNX is not a product only for patients with an iPhone.  It is a premium hearing aid that can work with an iPhone.  There are few hearing aid users who don’t want better phone performance and knowing they can get that along with the direct streaming and control through in iPhone will likely motivate users toward iPhones when getting their next cellular device.

Carolyn:  It seems like there are new generations of Apple products coming out every week.  What generations are compatible with ReSound LiNX?

Laurel:  The ReSound LiNX is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c, iPad Air, iPad (4th generation), iPad mini with Ratina display, iPad mini and iPod touch (5th generation.  These are your more modern “i” devices.  They all run iOS 7 and above and all would use Apple’s lighting connector for charging so that is an easy way to tell if the device is compatible. 

Carolyn: I have seen a lot of coverage about ReSound LiNX in the popular press. 

Laurel:  Yes, ReSound LiNX has been covered by CNN, the New York Times, and Reuters just to name a few.  In addition, almost 200 local television stations had stories on ReSound LiNX recently.  The media coverage has been extensive.   I think it brings us back to the real benefits here.  It is all about improving the quality of life for people.  Hearing aid wearers want to be able to hear as they move from one environment to the next just like we do with normal hearing.  They want to be able to talk on the phone, walk in and hear in a conference, and to hear at home.  They want to do it seamlessly.  MarkeTrak research has shown us that the more situations we can put someone in where they can be successful hearing, the more satisfied they are with hearing instruments, and that is exactly what ReSound LiNX is doing. 

Many people are already using iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices, and now they can be happier and more successful because all three will connect so effortlessly with their hearing aids. 

People talk about this being for the younger users, but the technology is very common among our demographic who are acquiring hearing aids.  And it is becoming increasingly more common each day.  This type of seamless connectivity is the future of hearing aids, and we’re excited about all the benefits that can be delivered today with ReSound LiNX.

Carolyn: Thanks Laurel.  For more information, readers can check out your AudiologyOnline course on ReSound LiNX, and visit www.resoundlinx.com.  You may also learn moreon the ReSound Expo Page on AudiologyOnline.

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laurel christensen

Laurel Christensen, PhD

Chief Audiology Officer, ReSound

Laurel A. Christensen, Ph.D. is currently Chief Audiology Officer for ReSound. In this role she leads all aspects of audiology for the company including new product trials, audiology input to marketing, and global audiology relations which encompasses training and product support to subsidiaries world-wide. In addition to her position at ReSound, she holds adjunct faculty appointments at Northwestern and Rush Universities.  She served as an Associate Editor for both Trends in Amplification and the Journal of Speech and Hearing Research.  She currently serves as an Editorial Consultant for several other professional journals.   She is a member of the Executive Board of the American Auditory Society and a member of the Advisory Board for the Au.D. Program at Rush University.  Dr. Christensen received her Master’s degree in clinical audiology in 1989 and her Ph.D. in audiology in 1992 both from Indiana University.