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What’s New in Widex Hearing Technology?

Hearing Doctors speaks with David Alexander, Clinical Product Specialist with Widex, about the latest updates in Widex hearing aid technology.



A conversation with Dr. David Alexander, a clinical product specialist with Widex. That's our topic today on Ask the Hearing Doctors. Hi, I'm Jim Cuddy and this is Ask the Hearing Doctors. And I'm joined today by Dr. Jenna Valania, a doctor of audiology with Hearing Doctors. The Washington DC Metro area's highest-rated audiology practice with over 1500, five-star reviews.


Also joining us today, Dr. David Alexander, clinical product specialist from Widex. Jenna. David, great to see you both.


Good to see you.


Thank you for having me.


Absolutely. You know, so we we often talk on this podcast about the advancements in technology, and it's always changing. Today we get to pick your brain, David, on some of the advancements coming from Widex. So why don't we just start off with having you tell us how Widex has expanded their product line most recently.


Yeah, so it's a very exciting time for Widex with everything that's been going on. And so as Dr. Valania can attest, when a patient comes in, there's a lot of things to consider You know, what is there hearing loss? And even someone's hearing loss two people can have the same hearing loss but be affected differently by it. What's their family structure? What's their care team structure? What's their dexterity? So there's a lot of different factors to consider. And so Widex has always had a very wide portfolio of products to accommodate a lot of those different needs. And so now the portfolio has expanded with now a form factor, a type of hearing aid that goes behind the ear that is rechargeable.


And that's really exciting because it has a lot of different options to accommodate that patient, such as a toggle switch that a patient can adjust for their preference. A program key. An LED indicator to let the patient know or their structure know what the status of that hearing aid is. And probably one of the most important things with the rechargeable device is the battery life, because patients should expect a hearing aid to last, a rechargeable hearing aid to last all day.


And so our rechargeable behind the ear hearing aid lasts 37 hours. And even if a patient wants to stream, if they stream 8 hours, they still get 24 hours of battery life. And so the patient and the family can rest assured that when they pick those hearing aids up from the charger in the beginning of the day and that put them on that they're going to have a battery life throughout the day.


That is fantastic.


I think it's really wonderful that we see these advancements. Because like you were saying, no patient is alike, no patients needs are alike and I think you bring up a great point about the caregivers and your care team. 


So we are fortunate to be a part of different nursing home assisted livings, independent livings and home visits in our area. And a lot of our patients do have caretakers that come in. Some of these caretakers have never seen a hearing aid before, let alone know how to operate one. So something that's nice about especially that new behind the ear option with the light indicator is it does let the caregiver know or the family know that the hearing aids are on. The batteries are working because some of our patients are unable to vocalize that. And it's awesome to have that option for them.


This is kind of like a car, you know, way back in a day, you didn't have a whole lot of bells and whistles to tell you things were wrong or things were okay. And now you do with hearing aids. And obviously the advantages are pretty widespread, as you point out. 


And David, how has Widex simplified the process for hearing aid fitting?


Yeah. So Widex has always prided itself on its sound, you know, to make sure that it's natural, that it's pure, that it's not even like the patient's not even wearing a hearing aid, that everything's just very nice and clear. And so the fitting process has always been pretty simple. It's really as easy as one two three and so really the three steps, which involves both the audiologist and the patient.


One is the feedback test, which not only looks for, you know, to cancel out any squealing or anything like that, but our system also measures the ear canal volume. How much sound is leaking out to take into account the vent effects to make sure that it's going to be a precise fit for that individual patient. 


And then there's the Sensogram, and that's where the patient comes in. So it's kind of what we call an in-situ hearing test, basically hearing tests with the hearing aids in the ears, but it's further refining that fitting process, again, making it customized for that patient. 


And then the third step is checking the adaptation to make sure that there's enough gain for that patient. But the recently we've made that fitting process even more accurate. For the patient and for the audiologist as well. 


Making your life a lot easier, I would think, too? 


Absolutely. It allows us to cover more in those appointments. So hearing aid fitting appointments, we pack a lot of information into our hearing aid fitting appointments. I always open my appointments with three main goals for patients. One, I want it to be professionally programmed. That's on my end. Two, I want them to be able to charge it or change the battery and three, be able to put it in and out of their ear. If we accomplish those three things, That's amazing. The goals. The boxes are checked for that visit. 


However, with some of these products that have more of that streamlined approach, we're able to spend more time going over some of the really awesome features, like made for iPhone pairings, things like that, that allow us to really individualize the approach for these patients. They feel involved in the process. They feel that they are a part of the appointment instead of just a quick fit and then you're done. It's really a let's fit the hearing aids and let's teach you, let's teach you about this clear, natural sound that you're going to be getting.


And something that I have learned since we started this podcast and it's become so popular, increasingly popular all the time, is that ability to stream from phone calls and music and the television to to ear to your hearing aids. What's the capability of Widex as far as the streaming?


Yeah, that. So patients want increasingly that freedom, right? They want to be able to multitask, communicate with their family members, with their friends. And so for several generations, Widex has always been compatible with iPhones, but recently we've also became compatible with Android ASHA streaming protocols and so now individuals who have an iPhone and an Android can now stream their phone calls to their hearing aids.


People are very active especially now as the weather is starting to warm up, maybe going out for a walk. And so they can stream music, they can stream their books, whatever they want. And so they have that flexibility and freedom to listen to what they want to directly to their hearing aids.


Any other great updates or new updates as far as the streaming goes?


And so one of the things, we always want to make things simple for the patient and for the audiologist as well. And so especially with that pairing process and getting that hearing aid connected to the phone, the made for iPhone, they have their protocols pretty simple, pretty streamlined. That hasn't changed in years. But for Android it can be a little bit tricky with the different types of phones, but with the Widex hearing aids, with the Moment App the audiologist or the patient can literally follow the pictures that are on the app to pair their phone. And it looks the same no matter what type of Android phone a patient has. And so again, it's easy for the patient, easy for the audiologist.


And that Moment App that you just mentioned you that's been getting updated a lot lately.


Yeah, there's been several updates and one of the updates that I really like is the My Sound feature. And so it's Widex's third generation artificial intelligence. Now it's our third generation artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence has been out there in the industry. But one thing that's been missing with artificial intelligence, was intentionality, right? And so with the Moment App what a patient can do, let's just take a situation, right?


Their patient is out with their family and friends at dinner and they really want to focus on the conversation even though there might be a piano going on in the background. And so with this, we can actually just in a couple of clicks tell the app what we're doing, having dinner. What is your intention? Focus in on the conversation?


The app will give them two recommendations based upon the Artificial Intelligence. Patient can select recommendation one listen number two, listen, select the one that they want. Save it and continue on. It takes a matter of seconds. Now same situation, but this time maybe the patient wants to focus on that piano that's going on in the background. Right? They can do the same thing, select what they're doing, activity, dining, select what they wanted to do, listen to music.

And then same gives them different recommendations so that their intentions are met. It takes just a matter of seconds.


What does that say for the person you're having dinner with and you'd rather listen to the piano than… just the thought. But that is it's pretty incredible, though, that it's that precise that you can do that with the hearing aid nowadays. 


With all of this new technology, with all of these great things that are happening. Another issue for some patients and probably for providers as well is keeping it all together. How do you keep everything, taking all the steps to take care of that hearing aid? How does Widex help patients and providers as far as that goes?


So again, with the Moment App, it's really a great tool to help supplement what the audiologist does, right? So as an audiologist counsel the patient, you know, this is how you care for the hearing aid. This is how you put them on, this is how you change this. You make wax filter, this tip and everything like that. But research has shown that 40 to 80% of the information that's said in a doctor's office is forgotten once that patient goes home.


Right? So all that work that's been put in, some of it's going to be forgotten but with the Moment App, there's a feature called My Guide where just a tap of the button. If the patient needs to be reminded, this is how do I change my wax filter? They just select that and a video walks them right through on how to change the wax filter or how to put the hearing aids on, especially for a new user. That's one of the toughest things to do. And so there's just a very nice video guide to help supplement what the audiologist does.


That's got to help you as well when you're dealing with a patient. Pointing these things out and how this works and how they have the power of being able to do all of this and they don't have to worry about it so much because it's right there in their hand.


And that's where hearing aids used to come with these thick manuals. And I would always say everything that I'm saying is in writing somewhere, but now we really can streamline. Where is the somewhere? It's right in the app. Many of our patients do have smartphones, which is we're in a very tech savvy area that even some of our patients, they're like, oh, my grandkids got me this. They're teaching me how to use it. And I hear I can pair my hearing aids with my phone. Can you help?


Being able to give them that visual reinforcement of I'm always here to help you. That's our one of the main things that we stand for in this office is we're always available for our patients. But to be able to walk them through it over the phone and then be like, okay, if you need a reminder, go ahead into your app. It's right in this location. Go ahead and click it. It'll pull up a video. You can even keep one of your hearing aids in so you can stream that video so you can hear it through your hearing aids and then be able to visualize okay. Step one is here. Step two is here. And it's very specific for the hearing aids that they have.


I think that's a really wonderful thing that Widex does. Is it centers all of their instructions or all of their phone compatibility. Everything is really specific to the hearing aid that they have. So they're not copying like Okay, well, I have this supply and this supply and this supply, and I see this hearing aid, this hearing aid, this hearing aid from all of these different families and platforms. But what do I do with that information?


So it is very helpful to have that to be accessible for not only the patients themselves, but their family and their caregivers. If they're unable to perform some of those cleaning measures themselves.


It's great information. It's amazing what happens. Just I mean, from week to week to week, it seems we get all this new information. It's great that you all are out there in the forefront. David, thanks for joining us today. Jenna, as always, great to see you.


Thank you.


Thank you.


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