Phonak Virto Q50
- Four different product formats
- 12 channels of sound processing
- Wireless compatible options
- Remote control accessories
- Includes mini Nano product
- Uses Phonak’s Quest processor
The Phonak Virto is a range of ITE (in the ear) hearing aids that are marketed by Phonak at three different technology levels, the highest being the Q90, the mid range being the Q70 and this the entry level Q50. The “Q” stands for Quest which is the name of the very sophisticated chip platform that Phonak are using across their very wide range of products.
For the Virto devices within each technology level there are four different product formats or styles. All are in the ear but they range in size from the very small Nano that fits deep inside your ear canal to the larger Full Shell that sits in the bowl of your ear. While the larger hearing aids may be more conspicuous they are easier to handle, typically have a longer battery life, often have more functions and tend to be more robust than their miniaturised sister products. Small may be attractive but discuss product selection with your hearing aid audiologist as it may be a compromise that will not suit you in other aspects.
As the products all look similar the technology inside is what positions the Virto at three different levels. Phonak, the Swiss manufacturer of the Virto has tweaked the specification of the products up and down to provide three different listening experiences. The processes that result in the sound that is delivered to your ear are called sound processing algorithms and it is the mix of these algorithms that changes from technology level to technology level. The Q50 has a relatively simple suite of algorithms that do include the basic functions of feedback suppression, noise reduction, vent management and other functions that all blend to form the sound you hear.
The powerhouse of the Virto is the Quest chip and in the Q50 it is configured as a 12 channel sound processor. The more channels the more closely the hearing aid audiologist is able to match the hearing aid to your precise hearing loss. 12 channels is a very reasonable number and should not be an issue.
The Virto Q50 has some products that can be wireless enabled so through Phonak’s accessories can link to day-to-day devices such as mobile phones, televisions and MP3 players. The advent of Bluetooth technology has provided the hearing aid wearer a real alternative in the manner in which they use their products but do take care to ensure that the household device that you wish to link to is compatible to the hearing and accessories that you are considering.
As well as wireless streamer and accessories for Bluetooth communication, the Phonak Virto can use a very discrete remote control that fits on to a key ring which will enable some basic function or programme changes, for example to adjust volume, without the obvious need to touch your hearing aid.
A very good quality, entry level product from one of the world’s leading hearing aid manufacturers, well worthy of further investigation and discussion with your hearing aid audiologist.
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