I recently reviewed the Phonak Audeo M (or Marvel) hearing aid that will be released at the end of November 2018. The Audeo M shocked everyone because it will be the first hearing aid capable of streaming directly from an Android phone to both ears. The Audeo M is the newest member of the Audeo family, with its predecessor being the Audeo B.
Available Audeo M Versions
In November, Phonak will release the Audeo M-312, and the Audeo M-R. The 312 is the smallest option at 7.1 millimeters. The M-R is the rechargeable option, and is slightly thicker at 8 millimeters. Other members of the family including the M312-T and M-RT will be available in February of 2019. The “T” means that the aid will also have telecoil capabilities.
Audeo M Physical Look and Feel
Physically, the Audeo M looks much like its forerunner, the Audeo B, with a few key differences. One difference is that the Audeo M features an exterior button that can be pushed up to increase volume, down to decrease volume, and in to change programs. The Audeo B only had a singular push button to accomplish this.
I believe that Phonak has improved the wire tubing for this device and that they are now better able to contour. Another difference is that the dome and wax traps have been slightly altered. Other than these small changes, these hearing aids fit similarly to the Audeo B and are quite comfortable.
Audeo M Features
The Audeo M is power-packed with incredible features.
Connectivity – The Audeo M can connect to and stream anything (phone calls, music, YouTube videos, podcasts etc) from literally any phone. It uses Bluetooth Classic rather than Bluetooth Low Energy, so there are no restrictions on connectivity for brick phones, iPhones or Androids. The Audeo M has massively improved a big flaw with the Audeo B in that it can stream directly into both ears. The Audeo B was only able to stream to one hearing aid. The Audeo M still uses the microphone on the hearing aids to pick up your voice. Because of this, you could walk away from your phone and continue conversations because they are happening exclusively through your hearing aids.
Integrated Roger Receiver – The Audeo M hearing aids will also come equipped with an integrated Roger Receiver already build in. Roger receivers are incredible at cutting through background noise and allowing for increased speech understanding in noisy environments. Previously, Roger Receivers would need to be “added on” to Phonak hearing aids – thus greatly increasing the device’s size. With the Audeo M, there is no need for this extender – the added technology is built right into the tiny design and will be available in Fall of 2019 with a simple firmware update.
T-Coil – Beginning in February of 2019, Audeo M will release three hearing aid versions that include telecoil technology, which allow you to loop your hearing aids into the audio at any facility such as a church or a movie theatre that is equipped with T-coil technology.
Recharge-ability – The Audeo-MR rechargeable hearing aid will use lithium technology and will be able to give 24-hours of reliable use after a full-charge, and 16 hours of continuous use if you stream up to 4 hours a day. The mini on-the-go charging ports were improved to include a lid to help protect your hearing aids while charging.
Unlike Audeo B aids, the newer Audeo M aids actually turn on as soon as you pull them from the charging port, which saves a lot of headache for those with limited finger dexterity.
Access to Apps – The Audeo M will be capable of connecting to powerful applications that will help you to make your own adjustments quickly and directly from your phone and they will also allow your hearing professional to make adjustments remotely – without the need for an appointment.
Call to Text Feature – With this feature, when someone calls you, their speech will be automatically transcribed and written directly on your cell phone. This way, you won’t only have to rely on the audio of the person speaking, you will also have real-time closed captions of the conversations as well.
Binaural Features – With binaural features, the Audeo M hearing aids are able to communicate with each other. When they can communicate, they can create “beam forming”. Beam forming allows you to hone in on the main speaker you are trying to listen to.
Auto Sense OS 3.0 – For Audeo M hearing aids, Phonak updated their Auto Sense technology to Auto Sense 3.0. This feature allows your hearing aids to automatically detect when you enter a new environment, and instinctively kick into the correct settings for that particular environment. The OS 3.0 is also able to adjust according to your streaming. It will detect whether you are listening to speech, music, or television and will adjust accordingly.
Cons of Audeo M
Not Compatible with CROS – If you have single-sided hearing loss, the Audeo M will not be an option because it does not have access to the CROS transmitter.
Charging Ports – Although Audeo M hearing aids turn on automatically when they are removed from the charging port, they are still very difficult to remove, which can be an issue for anyone with poor finger dexterity. Also, the battery life is not ideal.