Siemens Introduces New binax Hearing Aids
Update: The Siemens binax hearing aids are now outdated, and the Siemens brand name has been changed to Signia. We strongly recommend purchasing the newer Signia Primax hearing aids.
As some of you know, last week was the annual International Congress of Hearing Aid Acousticians (EUHA) in Hanover, Germany. At this convention several new products and accessories were unveiled by manufacturers. A few days ago I wrote about the new Phonak Audéo V hearing aids that were unveiled at the convention. This week I’d like to spotlight Siemens Hearing Instruments, who also had a big unveil at the convention- with 4 new hearing aids, 2 new apps, and a new accessory. You can view the official press release for these new products here. Additionally, for the more technologically-inclined, you can view a product brochure here.
How much does the Siemens Binax cost?
Our prices for the Binax hearing aids are as follows (per hearing aid):
- Binax 7bx: $2299.00
- Binax 5bx: $1699.00
- Binax 3bx: $1199.00
Our prices include a full manufacturer warranty, 1 year supply of batteries, and local service from a licensed hearing provider. To learn more about how our nationwide program works and how you can get an excellent deal on a Siemens binax hearing aid, please see this page: How it Works.
What was released
The 4 new hearing aids released are as follows: Pure binax, Carat binax, Carat A binax, and Ace binax. You can see the prices of these new products here. So what makes these hearing aids different than the previous Siemens aids? Aside from the new apps and accessory they are compatible with, the biggest news on these new aids is the new platform they are built on- binax. The binax platform is Siemens’ most advanced technology, which simulates the effects of binaural hearing and brings these advantages back to the wearer. These hearing aids (using a feature called e2e wireless 3.0), transmit information for feature management and user control changes, but more importantly, they wirelessly process and exchange audio signals which creates binaural features that can be engaged whenever they are needed. This technology might sound familiar to you- it is sometimes referred to by other manufacturers as binaural synchronization or binaural coordination. In short, it means the hearing aids work together as a pair to process incoming signals and intelligently adjust them before they output sound in your ear. This is a highly beneficial feature in hearing aids, as it makes them work more like your ears do naturally (as a pair).
Below I’ll get in to a little more detail of each product and help you decide which one might be for you, but let’s first get a general overview of what all the products have in common and what they have to offer. For starters, the new binax hearing aids are available in 2 techonology levels (advanced and premium), in the 5bx or 7bx. They are only currently available in the RIC (receiver-in-canal) style and with 4 different receiver options, suitable for mild to profound hearing losses. All 4 aids have 6 programmable memories, and the 5bx has 32 channels while the more advanced 7bx has 48 channels.
Siemens Pure binax
The Pure binax is the successor to the wildly popular Pure hearing aid, and offers all the advantages of the new binax technology’s binaural capabilities (mentioned above). Of all the new hearing aids released in the binax family, this one will probably be the most popular for a few reasons. First, it is compatible with the eCharger, which means if you don’t want to change your hearing aid batteries weekly, you can simply purchase that charger separately, and after 6 hours of charging each night you’ll have fully charged hearing aids ready to go. Not only does this accessory charge the hearing aids, it dehumidifies them as well- which will makes the aids last longer and greatly reduce the time they will spend at the repair lab. Next, the Pure binax uses a size 312 battery, which means it’s a discreet hearing aid yet you won’t have to sacrifice battery life and should get 10-14 days from each battery. The control switch that you can see on the back of the aid can be customized and set up exactly how you’d like (so it controls the volume or program or both), or it can be removed entirely and you can go with a flat cover instead. The Pure binax is compatible with both of the new apps and the new accessory (which will be outlined below). Click here to see a full list of accessories that the Pure binax aids are compatible with.
Who it’s best for: The Pure binax is best for an individual that wants a state-of-the-art hearing aid with all of the modern features hearing aids have to offer. If you have an especially hard time hearing in background noise this will be a good fit for you since it fully utilizes the new binaural synchronization technology. In general, RIC hearing aids that use a 312 battery are the best compromise between functionality, power, and design. This hearing aid is not the smallest or most discreet in the binax family, but for most people it is going to be the perfect mix between size and performance.
Siemens Carat binax & Carat A binax
The Carat binax is the successor to the Siemens Carat, which is a popular hearing aid that’s been around for years and is one of the smaller RICs that Siemens builds. The Carat binax is actually available in 2 models, the Carat, and the Carat A. The aids are essentially the same, but with two different features. First, the Carat A is DAI (direct audio input) compatible. DAI allows you to connect your hearing aids via a wire to any audio source and hear sound crystal clear. In general, this feature is mostly utilized by folks with severe or profound losses, so if you have a mild to moderate loss you will want to stick with the Pure Carat, (not the Carat A). Second, the Carat A is not compatible with the eCharger system, so you’ll be changing batteries weekly, which really is not a big deal.
Like the Pure binax, both the Carat binax aids utilize the latest binaural technology Siemens has to offer.The biggest difference between the Carat binax and the Pure binax (above), is that the Carat binax uses a size 13 battery, which means it’s going to be a slightly larger aid than the Pure, but will have a better battery life. In addition, the Carat binax uses a rocker switch that can be programmed to control the volume or program (not both), and it cannot be removed and replaced with a flat surface like the Pure carat can. The Carat binax also works with both of the new apps and the new accessory which will be outlined below. Click here to see a full list of accessories Carat binax aids are compatible with.
Who they’re best for: The Carat binax aids are best for an individual that wants a state-of-the-art hearing aid with all of the modern features hearing aids have to offer and the best battery life available. If you have an especially hard time hearing in background noise this will be a good fit for you since it fully utilizes the new binaural synchronization technology. Because the Carat binax aids are powered by a size 13 battery, they will be slightly larger than the Pure binax (above), and the Ace binax (below).
Siemens Ace binax
While unfortunately the Ace binax does not offer the powerful binaural technology that both of the above aids do, the Ace binax provides a new level of discreetness and user control in a hearing aid- which I’ll get in to below in the “accessories/apps” section. The Ace binax is Siemens’s smallest RIC which is virtually invisible when worn, and it uses a size 10 battery. You can see that the user controls on this aid are slightly different than the above aids, and they offer less flexibility. The single button on the back can only control the program of the aids (not the volume), though with the help of the accessories/apps this won’t be an issue for most people. For more on the Ace binax, we wrote a longer review here.
Who it’s best for: This hearing aid is best for a first time wearer that wants a very small hearing aid and doesn’t need a fully featured aid with Bluetooth/streaming capabilities. Because this aid does not feature the advanced binax binaural listening technology, if you have a particularly hard time hearing in background noise this aid is not recommended.
New apps and accessory
Nowadays, hearing aid connectivity is what it’s all about. With the new accessory and apps Siemens has released there is sure to be a solution for you- it’s just a matter of finding the right product/feature mix. Below I’ll give an overview of the new accessory released and the two new smart phone apps.
Siemens has introduced a new accessory, the easyTek, which is the successor to Siemens’ award-winning miniTek and is available for Pure® and Carat™ binax hearing aids (not the Ace binax). If you need the ultimate in connectivity, this is a must-have accessory. The easyTek is both a streamer and remote control (though it lacks a graphical user interface like the miniTek), as you can see from the photo. In order to use the easyTek, you have to be wearing it (around the neck), and it has to be connected via bluetooth to your phone. You’ll then use the buttons on the neckloop to control what is streaming, and the volume as well. So that takes care of your phone calls and music, but if you wish to stream from the TV you’ll need to purchase the TV transmitters separately (from your hearing provider).
Siemens easyTek App
In my opinion, this is the coolest thing Siemens released last week, because (used in tandem with the easyTek streamer above), this App gives Siemens hearing aid wearers unprecedented control of their hearing aids. This App is compatible with Android and iOS, and can be downloaded free from the App Store or Google Play. I mentioned above that the easyTek streamer/remote control doesn’t have a graphical user interface, but when used with the easyTak App, the App becomes the screen display of the easyTek and it is dead simple to use. With this App, you can control your hearing aid programs, volume, tinnitus settings, and SoundBalance™ (treble). In addition, this app makes the most of the binax technology using the Spatial Configurator (SC) feature. Using the SC, you can manually adjust the direction that the hearing aid’s microphones are pointing- which helps a ton when trying to hear in many situations, from crowded restaurants to car rides. This gives you instant control over both where and who to listen to, regardless of whether the sound source is coming from the left, right, in front, or behind.
Siemens touchControl App
If you don’t need the connectivity that the easyTek and easyTek app provide, yet you’d still like to use your smart phone as a remote control, this is the App you need. This App requires no intermediary device (like the easyTek around the neck device), and as long as you hold your phone within 3 feet of the aids when you can easily control your hearing aid volume and programs. The touchControl App works with all new binax hearing instruments and is free to download on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Lastly, if you end up purchasing the Ace binax (the smaller, size 10 battery aid), this is the only smart phone App that you can use as a remote control, so it’s a must-have.
The bottom line
The trend right now among all hearing aid manufacturers is to try and eliminate all intermediary devices and allow hearing aids to connect directly to smart phones for streaming audio. While this new product release doesn’t get you all the way there, it is a step in the right direction and builds on already successful Siemens technology. In addition, many of the Made for iPhone hearing aids (which do allow for wireless streaming without intermediary devices) are having issues as all first generation products do, so perhaps Siemens is waiting until they have perfected the technology before releasing their own Made for iPhone product. In short, I wouldn’t let Siemens’s lack of a Made for iPhone product dissuade you from purchasing any of these binax aids or accessories, as Siemens has a proven track record when it comes to accessories and aids that you can rely on.
If you have experience with any of these aids or accessories, please post a comment below!
If you’d like a free phone consultation with a licensed hearing provider, please feel free to call us at 800-731-6794.