Unitron Hearing Aids

Unitron Hearing Aids – The Good, the Bad, the Ugly

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by Rachel L. MacAulay

If you’re experiencing extensive hearing loss, you may find that Unitron hearing aids can improve your hearing. What kind of hearing aids do they offer and how user-friendly is their entire process? Read on for the good, the bad, and the ugly on Unitron hearing aids.

Hearing Aid Styles

A study in the International Journal of Audiology found that nearly 80% of adults age 55–74 who would benefit from hearing aids choose not to get them. Among the reasons cited were the device’s fit, comfort, and appearance. Today, companies like Unitron have made huge strides in designing and manufacturing a wide selection of different types and sizes of hearing devices.

Unitron offers three different styles to choose from: behind-the-ear (BTE), in-the-ear (ITE), and receiver-in-canal (RIC):

Behind-the-Ear: A BTE hearing aid rests behind the ear, with a curved piece that hooks over the ear to hold it in place. This type of hearing device is typically the largest.

In-the-Ear: An ITEhearing aid gets placed inside the ear and is custom-made for each user. While some are quite large and fill the entire ear, others are a little more discreet, yet still quite visible.

Receiver-in-Canal: An RIC hearing aid sits behind the ear like a BTE device, but features a thin, wire going over the ear and into the ear canal. The device’s speaker sits in the canal.

Consumers should consult with their hearing provider to determine which type not only works best for them, but also feels the most natural for them to wear. Unitron offers a variety of devices in each style. This selection, along with the company’s customer-friendly “FLEX” experience, can help ensure that users keep their hearing aids in and on.

More Than Five Decades of Experience

Unitron, based in Waterloo Region, Canada, has been designing, manufacturing, and selling hearing aids for more than 55 years. The company, which is part of Sonova Holdings, currently has offices in 28 locations worldwide, together with a network of distribution partners that gives it customers in more than 80 countries.

Since its founding in 1964, Unitron has always focused on its relationship with its customers, and especially making the user experience as easy and worry-free as possible. Unitron designed its comprehensive FLEX™ experience to both help and empower people, from their very first hearing appointment through to choosing, buying, and using their hearing aids.

The company sells nearly 20 hearing aid products and a range of accessories to go with them that feature the latest technological enhancements. This article will take an in-depth look at Unitron hearing aids to inform customers and present them with the pros and cons they need to know before they shop for hearing aids.

The FLEX™ Solution

To experience Unitron’s complete FLEX™ solution, you will need to make an appointment with an audiology or ENT/allergy group nearby. A complete list of offices offering Unitron’s solution is available here. You can also use headphones to take Unitron’s online three-minute hearing test, though it doesn’t replace a professional diagnostic test.

Ask your hearing provider or clinic whether they participate in the FLEX: Trial program, which allows consumers to test out a trial hearing aid, risk-free, in the real-world situations you encounter everyday: watching TV, hearing friends out at a noisy restaurant, navigating through busy crowds, etc.

For two weeks, you can experience what it’s like to wear Unitron hearing aids and fine-tune them for your lifestyle. Users with Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids can utilize the Remote Plus app on their smartphone to input positive and negative feedback, and the app also gathers information on the length of time you wear the aids and the type of sounds you encounter in the environments you frequent.

By the time your trial is over, your hearing specialist will have gathered the information necessary to pick the right hearing aid for you and your lifestyle. Furthermore, you’ll be able to upgrade the technology level of the hearing aid you choose in the future, if necessary, and pay only the price difference.

Design

Unitron knows how important the design of a hearing aid is to the user, in addition to its function and ease of use. Since its founding, the company has recognized that comfort and appearance make a huge difference in whether somebody will continue to wear these devices that improve their quality of life. Five devices in the company’s Moxi and Stride product lines have received the prestigious Red Dot design awards, including the 2017 Best of the Best award for the Moxi Now. Unitron designers created the Moxi Now not just as the smallest hearing aid, but also as one that is fully functional, easy to use, and comfortable.

Unitron’s Popular Hearing Aids

Unitron offers a broad selection of hearing aids, from Moxi™ Jump and Fit receiver-in-canal devices to behind-the-ear Stride™ offerings to custom-made in-the-ear Insera aids. Which hearing aid will work best for you depends on many factors, including your level of hearing loss, comfort, preferred placement on the ear, preferred level of technology, price, and more. All of Unitron’s families of devices offer a range of price points, reflecting that model’s number of features.

Moxi Jump R

The Moxi Jump R hearing aid has a push button that allows you to adjust the volume and settings, a rechargeable battery (the “R” is for rechargeable), and a telecoil, which acts as a wireless antenna to make it easier to hear telephone conversations, movies, and more by amplifying the sound you want to hear so it stands out from the ambient sound you don’t. The Moxi Jump R utilizes Sonova’s Sword chip 3.0—the latest generation wireless chip for smart hearing devices.

The Jump R comes in four technology levels, and all Moxi Jump R devices use Unitron’s Discover platform, which renders the hearing aids compatible with all current cellphones, whether they’re Apple or Android. Additionally, Moxi Jump R users can take advantage of Unitron’s FLEX option to upgrade their hearing aids to a higher technology level and just pay the difference between the price of their current Moxi Jump R device and the new one.

Features:

  • 10 colors
  • 4 receiver power levels
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Charging case
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 4 technology levels – 3, 5, 7, 9
  • Push-button control
  • Telecoil hearing loop system
  • Standard 3-year warranty

Price range:

We have found that prices for the Moxi Jump R vary significantly, depending on where you purchase your device. For example, we’ve seen prices of approximately $999–$1,199 for the Moxi Jump 3, and we’ve seen prices of approximately $1,999–$2,199 for the Moxi Jump 9. These prices are for a single device, not a pair.

Pros:

  • SoundNav 3.0 automatically adjusts for ideal sound in particular environments
  • On-board microphone allows for hands-free phone calls
  • Push-button technology allows user to answer, ignore, and end calls directly from hearing aids.
  • Media streaming to both ears through Duolink
  • Can connect with other Bluetooth devices
  • Can be paired with Unitron TV connector, which streams audio signal from TV directly to hearing aid
  • Besides serving as a remote control, the RemotePlus app has a “coach” feature that helps users get accustomed to hearing aids without having to go back to their hearing provider
  • Telecoil hearing loop system delivers customized sound to the patient’s ear in crowded places
  • 24-hour charge with Sonova rechargeable lithium-ion battery

Cons:

  • A pair of Moxi Jump 9 devices can potentially cost over $4000
  • Not available direct to consumers—must go through hearing professional
  • Battery life not guaranteed, as power receivers and different streaming media tend to eat into battery life
  • Over time, rechargeable batteries may have trouble holding their charge
  • Thicker size means some users are more aware of them sitting behind their ear

Moxi Fit

Like the Moxi Jump, the Moxi Fit has an onboard push button to control volume, but other technical features like Telecoil and Bluetooth connectivity depend on the version of the Fit you use. While the Jump only utilizes the newest Unitron platform—Discover—because it’s been around longer, the Fit has versions that use all three of Unitron’s hearing aid platforms—Discover, North, and Tempus. This means that you need to really make sure your hearing professional knows what’s most important to you in a hearing device. For instance, the Moxi Fit aids using North and Tempus platforms feature the Telecoil hearing loop system but no Bluetooth technology, while the Moxi Fit using the Discover platform has Bluetooth technology, but no Telecoil. All of the Unitron hearing aids in the Moxi Fit family use 312 batteries, which are not rechargeable. Additionally, the Moxi Fit Discover model is slightly longer and wider than the North and Tempus models; however, it is also slightly lighter.

Features:

  • 10–12 color choices, depending on model
  • 3–4 receiver power levels, depending on model
  • 312 disposable battery
  • Bluetooth connectivity on Moxi Fit Discover models
  • Telecoil hearing loop system on Moxi Fit Tempus and North models
  • 4–5 technology levels, depending on model
  • Push-button control
  • Standard 3-year warranty

Price range: Prices depend entirely on where you’re purchasing the device, as different audiologists and hearing aid clinics have different markups that can change the end price by as much as $1,000 or more. As for benchmarks, the base model Moxi Fit 3 costs  approximately $999 on average (per ear), while the highest-performing Moxi Fit 9 costs approximately $1,899 on average (per ear).

Pros:

  • Media streaming to both ears through Duolink
  • Smartphone apps allow wearers to control their device from their phone: RemotePlus app with Moxi Fit Discover models and uControl app with Moxi Fit Tempus and North models
  • Both RemotePlus and uControl apps allows users to input ratings so their hearing professional knows how best to tweak the hearing aid settings for the user’s specific needs
  • Relatively small RIC hearing device

Cons:

  • Thicker size means some users are more aware of them sitting behind their ear
  • Not available direct to consumers—must go through hearing professional
  • Users who prefer Telecoil but want Bluetooth technology can’t currently get both with the Moxi Fit

Stride P R

Unitron’s Stride P R hearing aid is similar to the company’s Moxi Jump R offering in features and technology, but where that device has the receiver in the ear canal (RIC), Stride is a BTE device—it sits behind the ear, with just a tube into the front of the ear. The P R is the newest member of the Stride device family and the only Stride device that uses Unitron’s Discover platform. This means it features Bluetooth technology and is compatible with all smartphones. Additionally, it is the first Stride hearing aid that uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The older Stride M R uses a 312 battery that can be rendered rechargeable using a rechargeable kit. Although the Stride P R is a rechargeable update of the Stride P, which was a 2016 Red Dot design award winner, the P R is both longer and heavier than the P. Therefore, previous Stride wearers may feel the difference at first.

Features:

  • 10 colors
  • Regular or thin tube option
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • Charging case
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • 4 technology levels – 3, 5, 7, 9
  • Push-button control
  • Standard 3-year warranty

Price range:

Depending on technology level, Unitron Stride hearing aids range from approximately $999 to $2,099 or more, each.

Pros:

  • SoundNav 3.0 automatically adjusts for ideal sound in particular environments
  • On-board microphone allows for hands-free phone calls
  • Push-button technology allows user to answer, ignore, and end calls directly from hearing aids.
  • Media streaming to both ears through Duolink
  • Can connect with other Bluetooth devices
  • Besides serving as a remote control, the RemotePlus app has a “coach” feature that helps users get accustomed to hearing aids without having to go back to their hearing provider

Cons:

  • Longer and heavier than other Stride hearing aids
  • Does not have Telecoil hearing loop system
  • Not available direct to consumers—must go through hearing professional
  • Battery life not guaranteed, as charge is affected by frequency of use and type of media streamed

Insera

Unitron’s Insera hearing aids are a line of in-the-ear devices that are custom-made for each individual using Unitron’s EarMatch™ “modeling process.” This includes the full shell, half shell/canal, mini canal, CIC (completely in canal), and IIC (invisible in canal) products. The devices all utilize the Unitron Tempus platform and all offer similar features, except for their size.

Features:

  • 4–5 colors – beige, brown, cocoa, and tan (the IIC also comes in black)
  • Full shell, half shell, and mini canal devices have 4 receiver power levels; CIC and IIC models have 3 receiver power levels
  • Push-button technology
  • Custom batteries (not rechargeable) – 13, 312, or 10A
  • Telecoil hearing loop system
  • Full shell, half shell, and mini canal devices have 5 technology levels; CIC and IIC models have 4 technology levels
  • Tempus platform features Unitron’s SoundCore technology, combining SoundNav, SpeedPro, Sound Conductor, and Spatial Awareness for clearer speech and more natural listening even in the most challenging environments
  • Standard 3-year warranty

Price range: Without factoring in the price of an audiologist and a custom fitting , we’ve found that Unitron’s Insera devices range from approximately $999 to $1,899 on average (per ear), depending on the style and technology level.

Pros:

  • Skin tone colors allow devices to be worn discreetly
  • Media streaming to both ears through Duolink
  • uControl app allow wearers to control their device from their phone

Cons:

Custom fit means users must have a fitting with a hearing professional

  • Some users may find ITE devices uncomfortable and unnatural

Technology and Comfort with a Price Tag to Match

Overall, Unitron hearing aids are definitely a case of “you get what you pay for.” With its dedication to user comfort and experience and its wide variety of hearing aids, Unitron remains one of the top hearing device companies in the industry today. Its relentless pursuit of technological enhancements to its products means it continues to deliver the latest in design quality, user-friendliness, and personalization.

What does this mean for you? An increased likelihood that you won’t even notice you’re wearing hearing aids, so you can enjoy the clarity of sound that you thought you’d never hear again. But it also may mean a higher price tag than you may get with other hearing aid brands, depending on the style and technology level of the Unitron hearing aid you pick.

 

Rachel L. Macaulay, freelance writerRachel L. MacAulay has written for the healthcare community for a decade. Previously, she was an analyst for the voice & wireless industry.