Phonak Audéo V90 vs. Audéo V70
Update June 30, 2016: We’ve just learned that on August 29, 2016, Phonak will be releasing the new and improved version of this hearing aid, the Phonak Audéo B and Phonak Audéo B-R rechargeable hearing aids.
At the time of this post, the Phonak Audéo V90 is the highest rated hearing aid on our website. The V90 is Phonak’s flagship hearing aid and comes with all the state of the art features you’d expect from a premier manufacturer such as Phonak. However, at over $2000 per hearing aid, the V90 is out of the question for many hearing aid wearers, leading them to consider the slightly less fully-featured Audéo V70.
In this post we’ll provide an overview of the main differences between the Audéo V90 and Audéo V70, hopefully helping you determine which hearing aid might be more appropriate for you.
Differences between the V90 and V70
EchoBlock: Only available in the V90 technology level, EchoBlock reduces echo in reverberant spaces such as auditoriums, gymnasiums and lecture halls. If you spend a good amount of time in those sorts of listening environments, this is a must have feature.
Number of channels: The V90 has 20 channels, vs the V70’s 16 channels. In general, the more channels the better. However, the 16 channels in the V70 are going to be sufficient for most people, and there won’t be a huge improvement jumping up to the 20 channels of the V90.
Performance of AutoSense OS: The brain of Phonak hearing aids is the AutoSense OS (operating system). AutoSense enables your hearing aids to automatically sense your environment in real-time and adapt automatically. The benefit of AutoSense is your hearing aids are constantly scanning the environment and self-adjusting, largely preventing the need for manual adjustments of the volume and programs.
With the V90 model, AutoSense scans the environment, classifies sounds, and optimizes the hearing aids in up to 7 different listening environments. With the V70 model, AutoSense automatically optimizes the hearing aids to just 4 listening environments: Calm Situations, Speech in Noise, Comfort in Noise, and Music.
So with the V70 model, you are missing out on automatic optimization in the 3 following environments: Speech in Loud Noise, Speech in Car, and Comfort in Echo. However, although those 3 programs cannot be automatically accessed with the V70, you are able to manually access them via the on-board push-button. The V70 gives you access to up to 4 additional programs that your hearing provider can fine-tune and that you can access manually should the need arise.
Of these three automatic programs that the V70 lacks, the most significant is the Speech in Loud Noise program, and here’s why. The Speech in Loud Noise program utilizes a feature called “StereoZoom,” which the industry calls “binaural beamforming.” Binaural beamforming technology is state of the art when it comes to reducing background noise and enhancing the clarity of speech. In short, this technology creates a narrow microphone “beam” which allows the wearer to focus on whoever they are facing, resulting in better speech comprehension.
Binaural beamforming, or StereoZoom, is only accessible in the Speech in Loud Noise program (which the V70 has), but it is a manual program on the V70, as opposed to automatic in the V90. This means that with the V70, when you walk into a noisy situation, it is likely you are going to need to manually switch your hearing aids into the Speech in Loud Noise program, via the push-button. This isn’t much of a hassle, but for folks that want the most automated, adaptable hearing aids possible, this is one reason to purchase the V90 instead of the V70.
In short, the V70 gives you a good amount of automatic and manual programs- enough for most people at least. These programs will ensure that your hearing aids will perform as well as possible in every environment. In addition, the V70 gives you access to the acclaimed Speech in Loud Noise program, though it is only manual access.
Both hearing aids are excellent. The V70 is not the most automated or most intelligent hearing aid Phonak makes, but for most people it is good enough and is an excellent all around hearing aid. The V70 (particularly through ZipHearing) is an excellent value hearing aid currently priced at $1649 per hearing aid. At a price that’s $620 lower than the V90, we think the V70 is a very sensible purchase unless you spend a large amount of time in noisy situations or want the most automated hearing aids possible which will not require fiddling with buttons- in which case the V90 is the better option.