Phonak Audéo Life™, Phonak Audéo Fit™ and the myPhonak App: Supporting Your Patients Health Journey
AudiologyOnline: What stands out about the latest RICs in the Phonak portfolio: Audéo Life and Audéo Fit?
Shannon Basham: Both Audéo Life and Audéo Fit products are offered on the outstanding Paradise platform. They both provide unrivaled sound quality, excellent hearing performance, personalized digital solutions, and universal connectivity. However, each one has a unique feature that elevates the user experience. Audéo Life has all of the features and benefits of the platform with added robustness. Life is the world’s first waterproof rechargeable hearing aid. With Audéo Life, patients can enjoy life to the fullest without concern or anxiety about keeping their devices safe from water, sweat, dust, debris and other elements. Audéo Fit also has the hearing performance of Paradise with added health tracking. Audéo Fit encourages patients to live an active, healthy lifestyle by delivering superb hearing performance and giving patients access to heart rate and activity tracking.
AudiologyOnline: You mentioned “waterproof” with Audéo Life, how is this determined?
Shannon Basham: Audéo Life has a higher than IP68 rating. Each number in the Ingress Protection rating represents two different things. The first number represents the depth of solid or particulate matter to ingress into an electronic device. The first number “6” describes dust protection. A “6” is the highest rating in that category and is considered totally protected against dust penetration. The second number “8” means that the hearing aids are water resistant and survived immersion in 1 meter of water for 60 minutes. For the Audéo Life, we extended the depth and length of time that we tested. Also, it is important to note that the water we experience in life isn’t always fresh and we often find ourselves around chlorinated and salt water. We achieved IP68 ratings in previous devices at lower depths of testing and for shorter periods of time. With Life, we have definitely taken ingress protection to the next level and claim ‘greater than IP68’ to illustrate how Audéo Life is even more robust than our previous hearing aids. These are setting a new standard in the industry.
AudiologyOnline: How does Audéo Fit detect heart rate?
Shannon Basham: When it comes to measuring heart rate, not only is the ear comfortable but it is also an accurate1 place to monitor information, providing us live feedback from inside our bodies. Using the ear, we can track various aspects of our health on an ongoing basis. Vital signs, such as heart rate, body temperature or blood pressure are easily accessible using the ear.
Like other heart rate trackers (pulse oximeters, wrist-based activity trackers), our new Sensor Receiver uses optical heart rate detection. By sending out light with LEDs built into the receiver, a pulse train is created. During a pulse train, more light is absorbed and less light is reflected creating peaks and troughs in the light reflections. This method to track the heart rate is called photoplethysmography (PPG). The photosensor is able to detect changes in the intensity of the reflected light in the ear canal and allows us to extract those reflections using sophisticated signal processing all powered by our proprietary lithium ion battery. With Audéo Fit and the myPhonak app, we go beyond just helping people hear better, we help people live better. ole here.
AudiologyOnline: What information will be tracked in the new myPhonak app with Audéo Fit?
Shannon Basham: The Health section of the new myPhonak app will track heart rate, steps and activity level, and wear time.
Heart Rate: Thanks to the new sensor receiver and processing of Fit, patients can access resting and on-demand heart rate information. Information can be viewed for the day, month, or year. The aids must be worn for at least 4 hours to acquire enough date to establish a resting heart rate.
Steps: The accelerometer in rechargeable Paradise aids will track steps taken. Going further, the app also shows time spent in four activity levels: None, Low, Light (walking), and High (running). For Fit devices, the app will also display distance walked/ran.
Wear time: In addition to overall binaural wear time, the new app displays side-specific times for rechargeable Paradise devices that can be filtered as daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Patients also have access to understanding their listening environments with at-a-glance categorization of time spent in Calm Situations, Noisy Situations, Music, and Streaming.
All wireless, rechargeable Paradise hearing aids will be able to access step tracking, activity levels and wear time. Heart rate tracking and distance walked/ran are exclusively available to Audéo Fit wearers. Marvel users will continue to see combined binaural wear time previously seen in “Statistics.”
AudiologyOnline: There are so many features packed into apps these days. Is the layout of the app user-friendly?
Shannon Basham: Yes! One of the major principles behind the redesigned myPhonak app is access to features from a single home screen using a carousel layout that will allow the navigation between different features and screens to occur very easily.For those patients new to the app, there is an onboarding navigation tour giving nice contextual descriptions. In general, a great app design inspires the user to dig deep and find all the cool stuff that lies beneath. With this new myPhonak app layout, I’m confident that there will be a lot of excited and intrigued patients out there.
AudiologyOnline: How will Audiologists determine which product to choose, and how will they present these products to patients?
Shannon Basham: As with any hearing solution recommendation, patient needs are paramount and a thorough assessment should be done for individualization. With healthy aging being top of mind to many patients, we have a great opportunity to address “the change curve” and how our industry as a whole adopts new technology. Patient-centered care will drive discussions around the new innovations. Our two new additions to the portfolio support Phonak’s brand philosophy of Well-Hearing is Well-Being. They are designed rich with features and benefits that get to the heart of healthy hearing and total body wellness.
Audéo Fit can be recommended for those patients who want unrivaled sound quality and a comprehensive hearing health plan that uses step tracking and heart rate to set goals and monitor activity level.
Audéo Life can be a confident recommendation to basically any patient desiring a robust, rechargeable hearing solution that is designed to improve well-being. Audéo Life will be the go-to hearing solution for most patients.
- David Da He, Eric S. Winokur, Thomas Heldt, and Charles G. Sodini, «The ear as a location for wearable vital signs monitoring.» IEEE, 2010. 6389-6392. Web. 3 Feb. 2012.