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Hearing Aids - Specsavers
Specsavers Advanced Elite 39 R Li hearing aids (March 2020 after wearing them for one month).
· Pros :
o Excellent Speech in Sound
o Excellent Spatial 360 sound location
o Very good all-around performance
o Bluetooth for music and phone calls extremely good
o Some occlusion with power domes
o Specsavers provide no technical information
I wrote this review as Specsavers give so little technical or other information out regarding these hearing aids. Previously I used Phonak V90 hearing aids for five years and decided to save some money (£750) and purchase the Advance Elite model 39 Li aids which I believe are manufactured for Specsavers by Phonak.
Walking out of the Specsavers store I was immediately surprised and impressed by the 360 spatial awareness of sound direction. After one month I am still very impressed with this feature and it helps you appreciate the wider environment you are in. Handy too when you think you’re in a pedestrian only location and hear the bus and taxi bearing down on you.
The first week I went to the opera (Don Giovanni) at the local theatre. The singers on stage came across very clearly and again their location on the sound stage came across very well. I also appreciated the distinction and clarity of individual musical instruments with their different timbre and tone.
My first moderate-to-hard test was the pre-football match pint in the Flowerpot pub along with my fellow supporters. So, a noisy busy pub filled with older men drinking real-ale and waffling football tactics incoherently at each other. Normally I only catch 1-in-3 words at best and withdraw into the corner with limited conversations due to hearing difficulties and getting the conversations wrong. But, the Advanced 39’s performed extremely well, and I could understand and participate in the general conversations across three table (12 people) within a larger noisy bar area with many fellow football supporters. I was shocked at how much I had been missing out. There was some occlusion when it came to my voice, not too bad and a small price to pay for the benefits and social inclusion they gave.
Then onto the very hard test – the Spitfire Lounge/Bar located within the local football ground. This typically has 150 – 300 noisy post-match supporters with families and children running around. A large hanger-like bar area where the bar staff serve the hoards piling in for a pre or post-match pint. On the wall a very large-scale projector usually shows with blaring sound the football or rugby to the drinking aficionados. So, basically hell for hearing aid wearers and typically I converse with sign language and by shouting very loudly, as does everyone else to be fair. Remarkably, the Advanced 39’s coped well in this location and I could hear clearly my fellow supporters within my immediate area (12 - 20 feet radius. Trouble was they had trouble hearing g me and each other so carried on shouting and asking everyone to repeat themselves. So, a real turn up for the books.
The downside was the occlusion impact on my voice which made it sound like a Darlek. However, clearly the firmware within the hearing aids was working extremely hard in a very noisy venue. Compared to effectively having to stop communication before I got the new hearing aids, so a small price to pay.
In everyday conversation both inside and out of normal environments the hearing aids performed brilliantly and I have now stopped saying pardon and asking people to repeat themselves as I hear them first time clearly.
I found the Bluetooth feature a real boom especially when receiving phone calls to my iphone and also when making calls out. It took a bit of time to get this working correctly with the hearing specialists at Specsavers. It is well worth having as it also streamed music to the hearing aids. Music having plenty of depth with good bass, so no need for ear buds or headphones as the sound is very good.
I also really like the rechargeable feature, just putting them in the recharger each night. I have never heard the battery low audio warning since I brought them, and I wear them typically from when I get up until bedtime (16 hrs). I also liked the 90 day money back guarantee and a good lengthy 48 month guarantee.
My only minor complaint is that Specsavers fail to provide technical specification information (number of channels, microphone features etc.) so it is difficult to compare them against other manufacturers offering.
I found the Specsavers staff in my local Maidstone store to be excellent, very professional and patient with the customers and their explanations. I hope this of some use to anyone thinking of buying these hearing aids which I highly recommend.