Today we learn about Phonak hearing products with Phonak representative Daniel Kalish on Ask The Hearing Doctor.
Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy and this is Ask The Hearing Doctors. And I'm joined today by Dr. Wendy Thorne doctor of audiology with Hearing Doctors. The Washington DC area's highest rated audiology practice with over 1,500 five-star reviews. Also joining us today, representative from Phonak, Daniel Kalish. Welcome to you both. Thank you. Thank you. Daniel, we'll start with you. Give us a little background in history of Phonak.
So the short answer for that would be, Phonak has been around since the 1970's or sorry, a little over 70 years. Uh, we started introducing it to the US in the late eighties and early nineties. We really came in almost as niche products for some of the customs or the power options, but we've since expanded to cover the whole range of all hearing aid products.
What would you say Phonak is best known for?
What we probably became most popular for recently was our RIC Marvel. So the behind-the-ear, receiver-in-the-canal device that really brought a huge volume of new patients that were really engaged with us to us just by the levity of how great the name was, but also how great that single product was. And that ship really has blossomed to the whole rest of our product portfolio.
We often talk on this podcast about innovative technology, especially nowadays with, in the audiology world. What sort of innovation or innovative products does Phonak offer?
So that's actually one of the hallmarks of Phonak in general is to continuously bring innovative new products to market. Going back a step, our Marvel was the first hearing aid that could stream wirelessly to both iPhone and Android products. It was also still one of the only options for true hands-free phone calls. So that was our really big, great option when we've advanced that and evolved it a little bit to our newest product line, our Paradise. We've added the support for two Bluetooth devices at the same time. We've added the ability of a function called tap control. So controlling the device just by tapping it, rather than, you know, the buttons on there or having to fiddle with your app. And obviously some of our sound processing features, which I could talk on and on about are needlessly in the weeds, but those are just some of the highlights.
Now this may sound as somewhat of a silly question to some people, but who is your target market? Obviously, people with hearing issues. So I think that Phonak, the real company line of that is going to be anyone that
needs to hear the quality of sound. So it's going to be from infant kiddos that are needing specialty hearing aids or cochlear devices all the way up to your professional working adults that want that perfect invisible product, all the way to the severe profound that were either putting on those giant old size guys or the implants, the cochlear style.
Which, you don't see a lot of that anymore, do you? I mean, as much as we once used to Wendy.
Like the big hearing aids? Yeah. Yeah, everything is getting smaller and smaller, but powerful and more powerful. So their being able to pack a lot of punch in a tiny product.
Less obtrusive, but more effective. Yeah. Yeah. Um, talk about some of the, the, the styles and features of some of the different products, if you would.
So one of the ones that we came out with as an update more recently was our power device, our Naida product, which is behind-the-ear. It's 20 something percent smaller than it was the previous generation due to XYZ. But it started out with having a feature called sound recover that we introduced way back in 2007. And it's one of my personal favorites because it's shifting the frequencies of sounds that people can't hear anymore because they've lost it into that audible range. It's to this date, it's technically the most peer reviewed feature in any hearing aid across the whole market. It's not just from us, but every other manufacturer has it now. So it's just one of the features built into our power device that has now progressed. And it's in all of the other product lines and every other manufacturer has it too now.
So if I'm understanding this correctly. If, if let's say I have a problem hearing certain sounds or levels of at, at hear, you can actually shift those sounds into what I can hear? Yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. So it's really great for someone who in certain areas like there's very little or no usable hearing, they can actually kind of cut and paste those into a place where you can hear, so you do get that full range of sound. It's kind of a shortcut around that. Right.
That is just amazing. And now I'm going to have fewer excuses for yelling back and forth with my wife about the TV. Okay. All right. Well, we don't have to talk about that anymore. Um, some of the other features like rechargeability and streaming and things like that, talk a little bit about those things when it comes to Phonak. Yes.
So we have been doing rechargeability for a very long time and we're very comfortable and proud in saying we rate our hearing aids to have 16 hours of usable battery life at the end of a six year life cycle. So that's eight hours of everyday listening, eight hours of Bluetooth streaming and eight hours of Bluetooth, low energy streaming. So that's a good solid 16 hour day. That's what we rate all of our rechargeable devices to be able to perform. So our standard RICs to our power devices that have it, we're just going to have this really healthy, robust, everyday usability.
What's what's the amount of time somebody would typically be wearing a hearing aid device in other words. So I'm trying to get a kind of gauge for how much use that, that, that sounds like you probably have that for a long time.
Yeah. So we, as far as with our patients, we always recommend you should wear your hearing aids all waking hours. So as soon as you get up in the morning, until you go to bed at night. And then during that time, they can be streaming on and off throughout the day. So it's a lot of time during the, the day that you're wearing a hearing aid.
For most folks you are pretty much covered all day. Yeah. Yeah. That's fantastic. Um, big box stores. We often talk about products and big box stores. Does Phonak sell at big box stores?
We do. There is some options for Phonak that are available sort of through, I believe it's Costco primarily that you could get Phonak branded options or really they're Sonova branded. So it's from our parent company that are taken into there and you get basically a similar device, but there are some functional differences and some feature differences, obviously that you can get from those kind of providers.
Is support different if I go to a big box store versus going to my audiologist? Is support different for the products that I'll get at that big box store?
They should be to some extent, just on the sheer, how easy can they, you know, your audiologists? Can she call somebody and get somebody on the phone real quick and easy from a Costco option? They can probably do that, but the training that's involved and the follow-up that honestly, some of us like reps are going out and doing, there's just going to be different pieces there. There's also just the functions of those devices are going to be probably the bigger differentiators.
Now, Daniel, we often talk about smartphones and the, and how they work with, with hearing aids. Smartphone app for Phonak products as well?
So on this category, I feel like I should raise the roof and bring all the happy and joy to this phone app. We are really proud of. We are truly the made for all product. We can have the app that you can use as basic remote control for your Android, for your smartphone, for most tablets, but we can also connect for streaming functionality to everything that is Bluetooth. So your Peloton at home, you can connect it to most smart TVs. You can connect it to your laptop, that you're now doing all of these Zoom phone calls too, so that you can stream directly through that. So it's not just that app functionality it's that we bring that connectivity feature to so much more of your everyday life.
A couple more things I want to talk to you about. I'm just off the street. I've got a lot of products in front of me. I don't know what to choose. Why do I want to choose a Phonak product?
So at the heart of what we do
our brain of our product, and we're going to call it our iOS, our function of how it formulates and handles sound. I think that's our best feature because it really is our brain. It does the sound classifying and making things happen. The way to think about it for a patient is this hearing aid is going to do its very best to automatically adjust for you without you having to worry about it. And it does that way, bigger and stronger with more customizable options from programming purposes so that you and your everyday hearing is just easy.
Now, Daniel, I couldn't help, but notice you, you brought some things for show and tell. Obviously, I think it's part of what you have to do. So just, just our standard charging case and on the inside, some of our RIC products that fit in here, but I also brought with me, what is our, one of our tiniest devices are small CIC. That's actually made out of titanium. Some of the advantages of this guy is because it's that titanium, the sidewalls are 50% thinner than the typical acrylic equivalent. So it can go in deeper into your ear canal, but that is your whole device. So nice, super tiny, easy to use.
Yeah. And like Daniel said, it's so small that, you know, inside your ear, there's a lot of nerves. So it's very sensitive. With this device because it is much smaller it's very, more, very, very comfortable in your ear.
And it's so small. I mean, nobody would even see it. No, I can get this in fast enough. Relatively invisible. Yeah, yeah. Wow. That's just amazing. And you can hear me much better right now? If there was a live battery. If it was a real hearing aid. You have a lot of clients in the DC market. Give us your take on Hearing Doctors.
So they are a super great office. We are really appreciate that you guys adhere to a lot of the best practices methodology for your patients. So we can see that based on the reviews of what you guys do with them, you're really trying to give that highest level of audiological care, which is where Phonak would like to partner with you guys. Absolutely.
All right. Well, thank you, Daniel. Appreciate you being here. Wendy as always great to see you as well. If you're in the Washington metropolitan area and you'd like to schedule an appointment with Hearing Doctors, click the link in the description or visit HearingDoctors.com.