Re­Sound LiNX

Mac Format - - RATED | KIT -

Up to £5,000 per pair Man­u­fac­turer Re­Sound, re­soundlinx.com

Works with iPhone, iPad, iPod touch Con­nec­tiv­ity Blue­tooth 4.0 We’re used to mil­lime­tres be­ing shaved off new iPhones, iPads and iPods, but for years, the stigma of NHS hear­ing aids meant wear­ing large beige de­vices over the ear. This has all changed thanks to minia­tur­i­sa­tion, mean­ing the mod­ern pri­vate hear­ing aid is not just dis­creet but packed with tech­nol­ogy. Not only that, but they have com­pan­ion iOS apps that can be used to con­trol stream­ing and other func­tions over and above vol­ume lev­els, some­thing we’ll look at a lit­tle later on in our re­view.

Starkey and Re­Sound cur­rently only of­fer iPhone in­te­gra­tion with the re­ceiver-in-the-ear style, which con­sist of a tiny unit be­hind the ear, with a thin plas­tic tube feed­ing into a re­ceiver em­bed­ded within ear buds. The Re­Sound LiNX is the small­est of the two, man­ag­ing to also al­low room for a re­mov­able bat­tery in­side its black in­te­rior. Starkey’s Halo is slightly larger but is by no means ob­tru­sive – the size is mainly thanks to the bat­tery, mean­ing the Halo lasts for around eight days depend­ing on us­age, while the LiNX av­er­ages six days.

The ban­ner fea­ture of both aids is the iOS in­te­gra­tion. iOS 7 brought a lot of new fea­tures, in­clud­ing na­tive sup­port for Blue­tooth hear­ing aids. This is con­fig­urable within Ac­ces­si­bil­ity and, when paired, a triple click of the Home but­ton ac­cesses the na­tive iOS in­ter­face, from where you can ac­cess vol­ume con­trols, se­lect pro­grammed pre­sets and en­able what Ap­ple calls Live Lis­ten, which lets the iPhone mic act re­motely for your hear­ing aids.

The apps (Starkey’s TruLink Hear­ing Con­trol and Re­Sound Smart for the LiNX) pro­vide a much greater level of cus­tomi­sa­tion. TruLink is by far the most in keep­ing with iOS 7, with its flat user in­ter­face. You’re greeted with a slider con­trol for vol­ume, and the abil­ity to fine-tune each ear. Smart au­to­mat­i­cally links both aids so you have a sin­gle slider. You can split the chan­nels if you want, but we found the sin­gle slider to be just fine. The Smart app also shows a level in­di­ca­tor so you can un­der­stand just how finely you’re ad­just­ing the vol­ume lev­els.

Both apps al­low you to fur­ther ad­just tre­ble and bass lev­els and you

Minia­tur­i­sa­tion means the mod­ern pri­vate hear­ing aid is not just dis­creet, but packed with tech­nol­ogy

can set ge­ofences, so pro­grammed set­tings activate au­to­mat­i­cally when you en­ter their de­fined area.

The big draw for both aids is the abil­ity to stream sound from your iOS de­vice – this in­cludes calls and mu­sic. Tak­ing a phone (or Facetime) call is as sim­ple as tap­ping An­swer on the iPhone – it takes a cou­ple of sec­onds to switch to the hear­ing aids and then your caller is piped straight into both ears. The same is true of lis­ten­ing to mu­sic.

For a first it­er­a­tion of iPhone in­te­gra­tion, both hear­ing aids of­fer a great ex­pe­ri­ence. Nei­ther de­vice is ab­so­lutely per­fect, though. The Starkey Halo could per­haps do with bet­ter bass, while the Re­Sound Smart app needs some fur­ther re­fine­ment. How­ever, both aids are tiny tech­no­log­i­cal marvels. Andrew Hud­son

For their size, the Re­Sound LiNX aids

pack an au­di­o­log­i­cal punch.

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