Shortly following the launch of Signia’s Styletto X in July of this year, we had the opportunity to test out a set of devices and undergo a remote fitting session with an audiologist at the company.
The latest generation of Styletto, built on the company’s Xperience platform, provides several upgrades to the unique SLIM-RIC form factor, including motion sensor technology.
The company boasts that the Styletto X “helps to improves listening in any situation—even when moving—and delivers better-than- normal-hearing in difficult noise.” Features include exchangeable receivers, portable rechargeability, Bluetooth connectivity, and self-service patient support via Signia Assistant.
One of the most distinctive features of the Styletto X is the unique SLIM-RIC form factor and charging case that looks like it belongs to a set of Apple AirPods.
Taking the devices in/out of the case is a simple exercise and despite looking a bit longer than a traditional Receiver-In-Canal style hearing aid, it actually seems to contour the ear quite nicely.
Most rechargeable RIC devices today are often just slightly wider/thicker than their zinc-air battery powered counterparts. However, this is not true with the Styletto’s design, with its slender case being particularly unique due to its custom engineered lithium-ion battery.
Portable, Wireless Charging
The charging case, which is the first in the industry to offer wireless charging functionality, is a nice portable size that could fit easily in a pocket or purse without issue.
While the hearing aids don’t come standard with a Qi certified charger, but rather a USB-C charging cable, the wireless charging pads are widely available online for less than $20.
Charging the devices takes about 4 hours. According to the company, daily runtime without streaming is approximately 19 hours, and up to 16 hours with 5 hours of direct streaming.
After quickly pairing the hearing aids to the phone, the Signia app was downloaded in order to being our live video remote session with the audiologist.
The ease of beginning the remote session was notable, and would likely be an simple task for a majority of people without additional assistance.
During our session, the audiologist demonstrated various features and functionalities of the hearing aids. Sound quality was adjusted in real-time seamlessly throughout the session, much in the same way it would traditionally happen in the office during an in-person clinic visit.
In fact, for the hearing professional actually conducting a remote session, the process of adjusting the hearing aids is almost no different then how they would be typically be navigating the programming software during an in-person appointment.
Signia App and Assistant
One of the most unique features of the Signia app, is the recently launched Facemask Mode We tested out the new Facemask Mode, both in the remote session and with multiple speakers wearing different types of face coverings, and found it to be highly effective at enhancing speech audibility.
In Facemask Mode, an audible sharpness is immediately apparent to the user as the speech frequencies receive increased amplification–as well as a change in directional focus towards the front microphones.
Beyond adjusting hearing aid volume, tone and directionality, which is accessible in the app, another particularly interesting and very useful feature is the Signia Assistant.
The Signia Assistant is incredibly intuitive and simple to use. You have the option of selecting four different categories for troubleshooting: My own voice, Other voices, Sound quality and Handling.
The Assistant will analyze the acoustic environment and then apply suggested changes based upon the wearer’s request. They can then choose to apply or discard the changes.
When selecting the ‘Handling’ category, this has the potential to save clinic time and the need for additional appointments, by offering guidance and even instructional videos to troubleshoot issues to the user–such as how to change a wax filter, for example.
For hearing professionals curious or concerned about what sort of changes patients might be making with this tool, the datalogging feature–accessible when reading out the hearing aids–will show what changes are being made by the patient, which can be useful during follow-up counseling.
There’s a lot to like about Signia’s Styletto X hearing aids. In addition to the non-traditional SLIM-RIC design of the devices, a unique feature set–including wireless rechargeability, motion sensors, Bluetooth connectivity and an on-board assistant–make them an attractive option.
The Styletto X is currently available in six technology levels: 1x, 2x, 3x, 5x and 7x.
Interested readers can visit Signia’s website to learn more.