NAERUM, DENMARK  — The Ida Institute launched an all-new eLearning platform for hearing care professionals and newly expanded Telecare tools for clients last week at the AudiologyNOW! convention in Indianapolis.

The new learning platform, Ida Learning Hall, offers “bite-size” learning modules that allows busy professionals to easily incorporate learning into their schedules. Two new Telecare tools now available on Ida’s online platform will support hearing care professionals in extending person-centered care beyond the clinic.

 

The Ida Learning Hall 

 

The Ida Learning Hall was created to be a virtual meeting place where hearing care professionals can expand their knowledge about person-centered care.

 

“We have created a new universe that caters to the different learning needs of hearing care professionals. Learning should be easy and engaging, and we believe that the Ida Learning Hall does just that.”

–Lotte Bundesen, Managing Director of the Ida Institute

 

Users can go to the Ida Learning Hall to update their skills and also connect and interact with with dedicated online communities.

Beyond the bite-sized modules, the platform also offers longer modules where professionals can gain CEU credits. 

 

Offering New Telecare Tools

 

While the concept of telehealth is nothing new, the interest in the audiology community has grown significantly in recent years. Major hearing aid manufacturers have taken note of this and some are offering telecare capabilities in their hearing aids.

Ida Telecare, first launched in 2016 due to growing demand, is a collection of online tools that allow hearing professionals to extend the reach of their care. The tools, which were developed through collaboration with academics and clinicians from around the world, help clients to manage hearing loss and prepare for appointments.

 

Ida has now expanded its collection of Telecare tools with two new resources:

 

The Dilemma Game helps people with hearing loss deal with difficult communication situations. By using real life examples, the tool helps stimulate the users’ thinking and encourages them to come up with their own strategies for managing challenging situations.

The Tinnitus Thermometer is a simple online tool that allows users to describe how they are experiencing tinnitus and to help them articulate their feelings about the condition. The tool complements a complete collection of online resources to support hearing care professionals working with tinnitus patients.

 

tinnitus telehealth

“The emergence of telehealth is the result of a rapidly growing on-demand culture affecting the hearing care sector today.  We are developing our telehealth offering to enable hearing care professionals to embrace this trend and to enhance the quality of counseling by applying methods and tools based on person-centered care.” –Lise Lotte Bundesen

 

All the tools available in the Ida Telecare platform are said to be optimized for mobile phones and are completely free for hearing care professionals and patients.

 

With the announcement by Sivantos early last week about the upcoming launch of their first “Made for iPhone” hearing aids, the Signia Pure 13BT devices, the company now joins the ranks of other major hearing aid manufacturers offering 2.4GHz-enabled hearing aids. With the addition of Sivantos, five of the “Big Six” hearing aid manufacturers now offer the technology.

While most hearing aid manufacturers have developed their own proprietary wireless systems over the years, the 2.4GHz system that was first adopted and widely promoted by GN ReSound and Starkey has now become an industry standard.

signia pure 13bt hearing aid iphoneSignia’s Pure 13BT hearing aids will be officially launched at this week’s AudiologNow! conference in Indianapolis, Indiana. The company says the new aids will be based on the primax platform, and will have compatibility with the TeleCare 2.0 application, which allows users to connect remotely to their audiologist.

 

Made for iPhone Hearing Aids: A Closer Look

 

Having been one of the trailblazers in offering “Made for iPhone” hearing aids, GN ReSound now includes the technology in nearly all styles of its instruments, with its latest generation of 2.4GHz enabled hearing aids: Linx2 and Enzo2.

 

resound linx2 hearing aid iphone

 

The Linx2 family of Made for iPhone hearing aids come in 3 technology offerings: Mid, Advanced and Premium (5, 7 and 9).

ReSound’s Enzo2 hearing aids are Super Power BTE instruments, intended for those with severe-to-profound hearing loss. They are also compatible with the Smart App, which is available for Apple and Android devices.

 

Starkey Halo 2

 

Starkey, along with GN ReSound, was one of the very first companies to offer 2.4GHz enabled hearing aids, with its Halo device. The Starkey Halo 2 is the company’s latest generation of Made for iPhone devices.

starkey halo 2 hearing aidThe Halo 2 is a Receiver-In-Canal (RIC) instrument that comes in two sizes: RIC 13 and RIC 312. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and the iWatch, using the TruLink Hearing Control App. The App is also available for Android phones as well.

The Halo 2 is offered in levels of technology: Mid, Advanced and Premium (i1600, i200, and i2400).

 

Oticon Opn

 

Oticon released the Opn hearing aid in the middle of 2016, using a “dual-radio” approach, that is said to offer the battery saving benefit of NFMI and also the desired connectivity options provided by 2.4GHz technology. 

oticon opn hearing aidOne particularly unique feature of the Oticon Opn hearing aids is the ability to connect to the Internet of Things (IoT) using the IFTTT web service. This will allow the hearing aids to connect to a growing number of internet-connected devices, including doorbells, smoke alarms, baby monitors and a number of other devices.

The Opn is currently available in mid, advanced and premium technology levels: Opn 1, Opn 2 and Opn 3.

 

Widex Beyond

 

widex beyond iphone hearing aidWidex launched their Beyond platform at the end of 2016 which, like competitor Oticon, keeps their own proprietary wireless system in place for hearing aid communication, but also offers 2.4GHz for device streaming.  The company says this allows them to have a much lower battery consumption when compared to competitors in the industry.

The Beyond App is available for Apple and Android phones.

The Beyond RIC hearing aids are offered in 3 levels of technology: Mid, Advanced and Premium (440, 330, and 220).

 

Phonak Made for iPhone?

 

So far Sonova, parent company to Phonak, Unitron and Hansaton, is the only major hearing aid manufacturer that has yet to release a “Made for iPhone” hearing aid.

Responding to criticism from analysts and investors, Sonova announced in fall of 2015 that it would be introducing 2.4GHz functionality in its hearing aids “in late 2016 or early 2017”. However, the company has not yet released any further information on expected launch date of a new device incorporating the technology.

Industry insiders and analysts believe that it’s likely the company will be introducing a 2.4GHz product in the latter half of 2017.