Phonak Hearing Aids and Unitron Hearing Aids | Clearly Hearing
Steven Davies

Phonak Hearing Aids and Unitron Hearing Aids

Posted on March 15, 2014 by Steven Davies | 3 Comments

The companies Phonak and Unitron are both hearing aid manufacturers owned by the same parent company Sonova.  Sonova also owns Connect Hearing, a large chain of retail hearing clinics, that has locations around the globe.

I would like to explain how Sonova hearing aids typically enter the market and how they work.

Currently Phonak is considered the cadillac version of Sonova's line of hearing aids.  Phonak's newest and most popular line of Receiver-in-the-Canal (RIC) hearing aids is branded, Phonak Q90, Phonak Q70, Phonak Q50 and Phonak Q30 hearing aids.  All of these hearing aids look the same, but they vary in technology and in price.  Like, most brands of hearing aids, including our own, better technology allows for an improved hearing experience in noisy situations.  Typically, when you purchase premium hearing aid technology you will enjoy advanced microphone technology, noise suppression technology and feedback technology.  Most major brands of hearing aids range in price from $1500-$3500 each, in Phonak's case we found that most hearing clinics sell their entry level Phonak Q30 for $1900 each and their Phonak Q90 for $3500 each.

Typically your hearing specialist will recommend the best product for you and your lifestyle.  Most hearing specialists are fairly moral and will recommend the products that they feel will suit your lifestyle and not just sell you on what is the most expensive.  Although you do have to be wary of the hearing specialists that are selling for money because they are definitely out there.

It's a little bit less costly to get from an entry-level hearing aid to a premium device when your buying hearing aids online.  The Chart below compares an entry level hearing aid priced at $399 compared to a Premium hearing aid priced at $499 available for sale at www.clearlyhearing.com.  Although both hearing aids look identical, the one hundred dollar difference in price buy's you a lot of advancements in technology.

 

Both of these hearing aids are made by the same manufacturer and look identical, however they house two very different computer chips.  The DSP or Digital Signal Processor is newer, smarter and faster in the SmartAid Digital Premium.  The Premium product uses Adaptive Directional Microphones, which targets speech coming from in front of you in noisy places, where the SmartAid Digital uses Omni-Directional Microphones, which put the same focus on speech coming from all direction's.  The Premium hearing aid uses a 12-Channel layered noise filter, where the SmartAid Digital uses a 10-Channel layered noise filter.  The additional channels and improved speed of the DSP allows for more filtering of the noise that you'd rather not hear amplified.  The premium hearing aid won't whistle in situations where the SmartAid Digital will, again this is do to the increased speed of the DSP and a newer generation of adaptive feedback cancellation technology.   

It can sometimes be harder to find such obvious differences between the big name brand hearing aids.

The chart below illustrates some of the similarities and differences between the Phonak Audeo Q line of hearing instruments.

 

Phonak Audeo

Q90

Phonak Audeo

Q70

 Phonak Audeo

Q50

Phonak Audeo

Q30

Maximum Gain

45

Maximum Gain

45

Maximum Gain

45

Maximum Gain

45

Microphone Technology  

Premium

Microphone Technology 

Advanced

Microphone Technology

Standard

Microphone Technology

Essential

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

NoiseBlock

Premium

NoiseBlock

Advanced

NoiseBlock

Standard

NoiseBlock

Essential

Channels 20 Channels 16 Channels 12 Channels 8

 

Compare the full product features list from phonak's website.

The chart below illustrates some of the similarities and differences between the Unitron Moxi 3G line of hearing instruments.

Moxi 3G

Passport

Moxi 3G

Latitude 16

Moxi 3G

Latitude 8

Moxi 3G

Latitude 4 

Maximum Gain

45

Maximum Gain

45

Maximum Gain

45

Maximum Gain

45

Microphone Technology

Multiband Adaptive

Microphone Technology

Multiband Adaptive

Microphone Technolgoy

Adaptive

Microphone Technology

Fixed

Feedback    Technology

(All the Same)

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

Feedback Technology

(All the Same)

Noise Reduction

(All the Same)

Noise Reduction 

(All the Same)

Noise Reduction 

(All the Same)

Noise Reduction

(All the Same)

Channels

20

Channels

16

Channels

8

Channels

4

 

Compare the products feature list from Unitron's website.

In hearing clinics both Unitron and Phonak hearing aids are being sold for thousands of dollars per pair.  It's common practice for hearing clinics to charge up to $2000 more for the premium version of their hearing aid, compared to the entry level version of their hearing aid.  In some clinics you can even be charged hundreds of dollars more for Phonak vs. Unitron hearing aids of the same technology level, or visa versa, which doesn't make any sense to me, so buyer beware.

Chances are that if you visit Connect Hearing to purchase hearing aids, a Sonova owned retailer of hearing aids, you'll be sold either Phonak or Unitron hearing aids. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as both brands are high quality, in-fact both product lines are getting harder and harder to tell apart, a sign that it doesn't make a lot of sense for Sonova to do separate research and development for two product lines.

There are other quality manufacturers of hearing aids worth mentioning, like Siemens, Oticon, Starkey and Widex.  If you want to get presented with unbiased information about all of these different brands of hearing aids you'll need to find an independent hearing clinic owner who actively sells all of them.  

More and more people are also looking online to purchase their hearing aids.  While you won't find the name brand products you are offered inside of your local hearing clinic, you can often purchase very similar hearing aids online.

          SmartAid Open-Fit                 Phonak Audeo Q                Unitron Moxi 3G

 

With hearing aid prices commonly exceeding $2000 for a single hearing aid, It's not all that surprising that people needing hearing aids are researching online for more affordable hearing aid options.  The SmartAid Digital Premium, pictured on the far left above is sold online for $499 and is comparable to hearing aids that commonly sell for more than $2000 in hearing clinics all over the world.  

If you buy hearing aids online be prepared to lose the benefits of working face-to-face with a hearing professional.  Buying hearing aids online isn't for everybody, as some hearing aid wearers require more guidance and counselling to properly adjust to hearing aids than do others.  Regardless of what hearing aid you select, or from which company you choose to buy from, the most important thing is to be proactive about addressing your hearing loss.  No hearing aid is perfect, but hearing aids are far better now than they have ever been and a life of better hearing is well worth the investment.

Posted in Buy Hearing Aids Online, Hearing Aid Prices, Hearing Loss, Hearing Technology, Online Hearing Aids Compared To Phonak


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3 Responses

Mary
Mary

July 21, 2015

Hi

Useful info. Im currently trialling unitron. After nearly a fortnight im realising the surround sound is louder than the voices. Its a Unitron North 700. Sounds like listening through a microphone.

When I walked around with a Phonak, admittedly it was only for an hour, I couldnt see any difference. Aid im replacing is a Phonak and I wanted an affordable option so new audiologist deals both brands.

Hoping unitron can be adjusted but there doesnt seem to be much diffe re ence price wise.

Kritika
Kritika

March 11, 2015

Hi There Jared Young,Thanks for that, I am 13 and i have hearing loss, but i don’t want my fdrines to know because its embarrassing. I got my hearing loss when I was two or three (we don’t know) so I don’t sound any different from my fdrines. I first got hearing aids when I was in 2nd grade and I thought they were sooo cool, so I got them in really bright colors but now I just want them to disappear! so I looked up invisible hearing aids and it came up with lyric hearing aids, but they look really painful and I don’t know if I could go in water with them. please answer as soon as possible!Thx.

john
john

March 08, 2015

I am going to buy either phonak or unitron. I want to know which hearing aid has a most natural sound, and crisp sound. And which hearing aid has the least of background noise, which is a good thing. sincerely, john.

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