- If you search for hearing aids on Amazonyou're likely gonna come across the Otofonix EliteHearing Amplifiers.
They are not hearing aids, but on the company websitethey indicate that they're capable of treating amild to moderate hearing loss.
So in this video I'm gonna put these devices to the testand see how well they perform, comin up.
(upbeat music)Hi guys, Cliff Olson, Doctor of Audiologyand founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem, Arizonaand on this channel I cover a bunch of hearing relatedinformation to help make you a better informed consumer.
So if you're into that make sure you hitthat subscribe button and don't forget to also clickthe bell to receive a notificationso you never miss a new video.
Otofonix is a company that distributeshigh-end hearing amplifiers.
According to the FDA hearing amplifiersare not intended to treat hearing lossand they can't be marked as hearing aids,but like I mentioned before these devices arecapable of amplifying soundand they look a lot like hearing aids.
So I went ahead and put them throughthe same testing that I would an actual hearing aidto see how well it performs.
If you want to check these devices out for yourselfI went ahead and put a link in the description below.
All right, so let's check out some of the featuresof the Otofonix Elite, and the first thing isis the way that they look.
So this is an Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifier.
They come with different lengths oftubes that you can use on those devicesand then if you look really closely you can seetwo different types of domes on there,but we have a solid dome and an open domeand depending on how much leakage of sound that you getusing these devices you may actually need to usethe solid dome to prevent that feedback.
The devices use size 312 batteriesthat you can put in the bottom of the devices right there,you click it shut, and it also has a rocker switchon the top there too, soif you click it up will increase volume,you click it down it will decrease volume.
If you press and hold that rocker switchit will actually change between one of fourdifferent programmed presets.
The Otofonix Elite only has one microphonethat's omnidirectional, so it picks up soundfrom all directions.
If we're talking physical fit of these devicesthey're pretty discreet, they don't show very much,they're very small anyway and then they just have thatlittle thin tube that goes down inside of the ear canal.
I'm not cray about the colors.
They have a beige color, and they have a silver color.
I think most individuals would end up getting the beigeunless you actually have white or silver colored hairthen going with the silver might make a lot of sense.
Either way they're pretty small,color is not gonna matter that much anyway.
Now let's talk about performance.
Performance of a hearing device is something that we canobjectively test just like I would be able to testa hearing aid to see how well it's programmedI'm able to test these types of devicesusing the same methods.
The method that I'm gonna be using is calledreal ear measurement.
This allows me to see if these devices are capableof meeting a mild to moderate hearing loss prescription.
They also will let me test to seeif the noise reduction feature is workingand how well it works.
Now if you want to learn more about real ear measurementI highly recommend that you watch my videothat I will link in the card up hereand in the description below.
Since the Otofonix Elite is supposed to be appropriatefor a mild to moderate hearing lossas indicated on the Otofonix websitewe're going to check it's capability of meetingan NAL-NL2 prescription for a mild to moderate hearing loss.
All right, so let me explain what we're looking at here.
When performing real ear measureswe are trying to match the amplificationof the hearing device to a prescriptive targetcreated from the hearing loss of a patient.
The prescription for this mild to moderate hearing lossis indicated by the red hash mark line.
In order to measure the amplification of this devicea calibrated signal is played from a loud speakerin front of the patient.
A prob tube inside the patients hearmeasures the amplification from the deviceand is illustrated by the solid red line.
The goal is to have this solid red lineoverlap with the red hash mark line.
This would indicate that the amplification from the deviceis appropriate for this type of hearing loss.
The red curve is with the Otofonix Elite in program onealso known as the normal setting.
As you can see the prescription is being met in the lowfrequencies, but is not being met in the high frequencies.
In general if you're lookingfor improved speak clarity it is critical to hityour high frequency prescriptive targets.
Now let's check out program twoalso known as the noisy setting programdesigned to reduce background noise,which is illustrated by a solid turquoise line.
The prescriptive hash mark line is now turquoise as well,but it is still the same as the red hash mark line.
In this setting it is reducing someof the mid frequency amplification.
Next is program three illustrated by the green line.
This program is designed to reduce feedback,otherwise known as that whistling sound that you getfrom poorly fitted hearing aids.
In this setting the high frequency amplificationis reduced to limit the risk of that sound leakingfrom the dome and cycling back through the microphoneof the device causing that whistling sound.
And finally program number fourwhich is illustrate by the pink line.
This program is also known as the power setting.
This program is designed to increase the volumeof the device and intended for things likewatching the television in a controlled environment.
When we overlap all of these curvesfrom the four different programs at the default volumewe can see that they are all similarexcept for the third program illustratedby the green line which reducesthe high frequency amplification of the device.
None of these programs meet a prescriptionfor a mild to moderate hearing loss.
Now let's take a look at a hearing aidthat has been custom programmed to meetthis mild to moderate hearing loss prescriptionas illustrated by a purple hash mark line.
In this case I used the Phonak Audéo B90 hearing aid.
As you can see I was able to almost perfectly matchthe prescription indicated by the solid purple linematching the prescriptive hash mark lineall the way out to about five and a half thousand hertz.
When comparing the real ear measurement curvesof the Otofonix Elite with the Phonak Audéo B90you can see the differences in theprogramming capabilities of these two devices.
I did, however, want to see if the Otofonix Elitewas capable of meeting the prescriptionby increasing the volume on the device itself.
You can see by the new turquoise curvethat we're able to get closer to the prescriptionin the high frequencies,but by increasing the volume overallwe are now over amplifying the low and mid frequencies,which can cause issues with speech intelligibilityand comfort of sound.
When we compare this new volume settingwith that of a custom programed hearing aidyou can see that there is still a big difference.
Now let's take a look at the noise reduction capabilitiesof the Otofonix Elite.
When we play noise from that same loud speakerwe want to see how much the solid red line dropsfrom the solid purple line.
The further it drops the more noise reductionthe devices have.
When the test is over it shows an average of aboutsix decibels of noise reduction.
All right, as you just saw the Otofonix Elitewas not capable of meeting a prescription for amild to moderate hearing loss.
That being said they did pretty good for a devicethat only costs 325 bucks.
The Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifiersare not gonna perform as good as a customizable hearing aidand they shouldn't perform as well,they're not hearing aids themselves,they're hearing amplifiers.
What I think of when I think of hearing amplifiers isa device that is kind of like a stepping stonefor someone who's having some hearing difficulty,but they're not really ready to committo hearing treatment with actual hearing aidsand they're really not that expensive,so you can actually get them,you can try them, you can see if you're gettingany kind of benefit out of them.
Chances are you could see some benefit,but if you want to get the maximum amount of benefityou're probably gonna have to take that stepand actually get hearing devices that are able to beprogrammed exactly to your hearing loss prescription.
Overall the Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifiersare clearly better than other hearingamplifiers on the market.
That being said I think that they're actually betterthan some of these online hearing aidsthat are not programmable that I have testedinside of my clinic.
So if you're someone who's looking to getjust a little bit of a boostgoing with the Otofonix Elite Hearing Amplifiersmight be the best choice.
That's it for this video, if you have any questionsleave them in the comments section below.
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I'll see you next time.