ReSound LiNX 3D Hearing Aids REVIEW Sound Has Never Been So Clear
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Special thanks goes out to the ReSound team including Rich and Nate
and my Audiologist, Dr. Sara Labhart, for helping me enjoy a life filled with sound.
In my early 20s, I started noticing that I was having a hard time hearing conversation. I could hear people’s voices, but couldn’t quite make out what they were saying — even when they were looking directly at me. I got very good at playing the head nod game — you know, where you nod your head in agreement like you know what is going on in the conversation. It was a fake out. I had no idea because unbeknownst to me, my hearing was beginning to fail me.
Not too long after that, I noticed that I could no longer hear higher pitched noises like birds and wind chimes. I knew this because environments that I was once familiar with were suddenly foreign to me and I was no longer enjoying life in the same way that other people do. It became harder and harder for me to participate in any group functions or family gatherings and as a result, I became somewhat of a hermit. I isolated myself from the outside world because it was easier than dealing with only hearing half of a conversation.
I did visit an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist and had my hearing tested. They then told me my high-end hearing range was nearly gone. If I wanted to regain some semblance of a normal hearing life, I would need to look at investing in a set of hearing aids. Now, I say invest in because they are quite expensive. A decent pair of hearing aids can be in the range of $1,000 for a pair (at the low end). At that time, I didn’t have the ability to pay out of pocket for such a device and my health insurance would not pay for them. This is not really unusual as most health insurance won’t cover medical devices like hearing aids or even dentures.
So, over the past 20 years, I’ve been dealing with hearing that is failing me. I’ve tried several different types of hearing devices. These options include, but are not limited to: earbuds that enhance ambient noise, hearing amplifiers, and over the counter/direct to consumer hearing aids. I have also had the use of a ‘real’ set of hearing aids but unfortunately, that was only a temporary situation.
Just a few months ago — in January at CES — I met with the team from ReSound, a company that strives to bring ‘smart hearing’ to people who need hearing assistance. They have a long history — more than 70 years — of providing natural listening experiences to those who are hearing impaired. There are four cornerstones of ‘smart hearing’ according to ReSound: audiology, connectivity, apps, and design. Their company is on the cutting edge of technology and has been working directly with Apple for quite some time to help users with hearing loss have more accessibility with the aid of their iPhone.
ReSound wants their patients/customers to be able to adapt easily to every type of situation so that it feels more like their natural hearing. They understand that their designs make life better for people with hearing loss.
ReSound recognizes that a quality hearing experience is unique for every person. They make hearing aids to suit any type of lifestyle and with the help of a hearing care professional, they can match them to any type of hearing loss so that your life is enhanced and you no longer feel isolated from the world around you. After I met the ReSound team at CES, they suggested that I might be a good candidate to try out their newest hearing aid, the LiNX 3D. Thankfully, they were able to put me in touch with a hearing care professional in my area and set me on the path to enhanced sound.
The LiNX 3D is ReSound’s most advanced digital hearing aid. It’s designed to help you better identify speech while in noisy situations and with the help of a mobile app, you can adjust settings on the fly. These hearing aids connect to your phone through Bluetooth so they can even be used as Bluetooth headphones. The LiNX 3D allows users to hear 360-degrees of sound and their Spatial Sense technology provides a clear, natural sense of the sounds around you. In complex situations, like a restaurant, the Binaural Directionality III feature allows users to be able to focus on the area you want — like directly in front of you — without being cut off from the rest of the environment. According to data provided by ReSound, the LiNX 3D are 50% more effective at identifying speech in environments and 80% better at providing sounds around you.
The LiNX 3D gives users some great features such as:
App Control: The ReSound Smart 3D app lets you do things like increase your hearing aids’ volume, pick environment-specific settings, and customize your sound so they perform the way you want them to. This feature has the added benefit of discretion. Since you can change settings from your phone, many people will never know that you are even wearing anything because you don’t have to touch your hearing aids in public to adjust them. The app will even locate the hearing aids if you misplace them. At the time of publishing this review, the graphics of the app have not been updated to be 100% compatible with the iPhone X. The app still works with that iPhone model, but dimensions of the graphics are a bit off. I would expect an upcoming update to the app to fix that issue.
Streaming Sound: Because the hearing aids connect through Bluetooth, you have the ability to use the LiNX 3D as a streaming device. Phone calls and media audio can go directly to the hearing aids and you can use them just like wireless headphones.
ReSound Assist: The assistance of a hearing care professional is essential for good maintenance of your hearing aids and overall health. That said, ReSound has made it easier to stay in touch with your doctor through their ReSound Assist program. Through the use of the Smart 3D app, you can share issues you are having directly with your hearing care professional and your device’s settings can be modified specifically for your needs without you having to make a trip to their office.
Rechargeable Option: The LiNX 3D are available as rechargeable as well as standard. The difference is that with the standard version, you will still have to periodically change your batteries. With the rechargeable version, you will need to replace the battery at least once a year, but every 14 hours or so (depending on use) you will simply place them in their inductive charging dock. This is a wonderful option for people who are on the go.
Wireless Accessories: Even though the LiNX 3D are intelligent hearing devices, there are still some gaps that can be filled with the addition of wireless accessories. There are options like the ReSound Micro Mic and ReSound Phone Clip+. To learn about the accessories available, click here.
MFi Certified: The LiNX 3D are certified by Apple to be ‘Made for iPhone’ and will work with many iOS devices including the iPhone X, iPhone 8/8 Plus, and iPad Pro. For a full list of compatible products, check out ReSound’s compatibility page.
Styles: Because no two ears are exactly the same, the LiNX 3D come in a full range of styles. ReSound makes it possible for you to have the hearing aid in whatever form suits you the best. All components of the hearing aid are coated with iSolate nanotech to protect it from water, dust, and earwax. The different styles include:
RIE and BTE Colors: The Receiver-in-Ear and Behind-the-Ear styles come in a variety of colors to choose from as do the In-the-Canal option.
The first step in my journey was to meet with the audiologist that ReSound had recommended. Dr. Sara Labhart serves as Director of Audiology at Midwest Ear, Nose, and Throat, Surgery in Evansville, Indiana. She is a very easy person to work with and really enjoys learning about advances in hearing technology. She was patient with me as I asked many, many questions about how the LiNX 3D would work and how they were different from other hearing aids that are available. I was very impressed by her knowledge and willingness to provide information to me. So far, I have met with her three times. The first time was for my hearing test and wellness exam. The last hearing test I had was about a year ago and as expected, my hearing has not changed much (see image below). My high-end hearing is completely gone and even though you can’t regain lost hearing, you can retrain your brain with the help of hearing aids and that was what Dr. Labhart was striving to do for me.
After the hearing test was completed, Dr. Labhart did end up recommending the LiNX 3D for my type of hearing loss. She reviewed the different styles and ultimately thought the Receiver-in-Ear version would work best for my lifestyle. The next time I saw her, Dr. Labhart helped to place the hearing aids and get them set up for the first time. After she was sure it was all working as it should, she set up a follow-up appointment for two weeks from that date just to check up on me. She did this not only to make sure the devices were working well, but also to answer any questions I might have as a new user.
Being in a world of sound when you’ve been oblivious to it for so long can be overwhelming. The other hearing aids I’ve tried have had pros and cons, but they all had one thing in common — an adjustment period. I always had to ‘get used to’ them when I first started using them. This is one way that the ReSound LiNX 3D stands out from the crowd. When I first put them on, I noticed how incredibly comfortable they are. The receiver is so lightweight that I can’t feel it hanging behind my ear and the earpiece fits gently inside my ear. They are comfortable to wear and I don’t notice them at all anymore.
My favorite thing about these hearing aids — aside from the fact that I can hear with them — is that they automatically adjust between environments. The hearing aids are very smart and they learn your preferences so that you always have the most natural sound possible. The greatest thing about this feature is that it happens without you noticing. It gradually happens over time so that it’s not abrupt. There have been a couple of times that I’ve been able to tell that an adjustment is happening but most of the time it happens in the background.
The hearing aids and app have worked seamlessly together. I’ve not had any issues with the connection between the two elements of this system that make it work. Any adjustments I’ve made have been completed immediately and I love being able to reach out to my audiologist when I need to via ReSound Assist. The process is very simple. The app will ask you a few questions and after you submit the notes to the app, your audiologist will make changes and send it back to your hearing aids via the app. It works and it’s impressive.
This feature makes it possible for you to avoid making multiple trips to your doctor’s office to simply adjust settings. For example, my family and I recently took a drive out of town while the weather was nice. We had the windows cracked a bit and I found that the wind noise just got to be too much for me since I was wearing the LiNX 3D. That would have been the perfect time to reach out to my audiologist to have her send an adjustment to my app to better control the wind noise. The change is immediate when it’s uploaded to my hearing aids.
The audiologist’s view of my hearing aid’s settings.
Because of my lifestyle, I chose to use the go with the rechargeable battery version of the LiNX 3D. The charging dock is very small and fits nicely on a side table. When you set the hearing aids in the dock, you have to make sure that the green light on each side is pulsing. Otherwise, the hearing aids aren’t charging. I’ve actually been able to get about 17 hours of battery life out of the LiNX 3D. That’s with basic use and occasional media streaming. My audiologist mentioned that with heavy streaming habits the batteries may only last about 14 hours.
Speaking of media streaming, I have enjoyed having a set of earphones permanently available to me for podcasts and music. I have several podcasts I listen to weekly and the LiNX 3D work perfectly for that. When I stream music or video audio, I found that even though the audio signal was clear, I didn’t get the same kind of listening experience as I did with a good set of headphones. The sound is a little hollow and ‘bright’. The punch from a bass track is blissfully absent from music and media audio when I use the hearing aids as headphones. There is an equalizer available in the app so that you can adjust bass, mids, and treble, but it’s not as precise as what a high-end set of headphones would give you. It’s not a mark against the hearing aids — just something to be aware of if you are an audiophile. You still get incredibly good sound without having to remove your hearing aids.
In addition to the charging dock, I also had the opportunity to work with the Multi Mic, which enhances and extends the hearing range for people wearing the LiNX 3D. The nice thing about this device is that if you are in a particularly noisy area or a large area, you can place the microphone on a horizontal surface — like a table — or clip it to your shirt vertically and connect to it. You can extend your listening range up to 80 feet with the Multi Mic.
The Multi Mic is rechargeable and pocket-sized for use on-the-go. It can be used to pick up a single voice (if you are wearing it) or multiple voices (around a table). The Multi Mic automatically minimizes background noise when worn/clipped onto someone’s clothing and when it’s placed horizontally, it will switch to Table Mode, which enables more than one voice to be heard. The Multi Mic also has a built-in Telecoil to receive audio from teleloop systems, which isn’t available everywhere but is in use in some airports and theaters.
The Multi Mic gives users the option to connect to an analog source through a line-in jack on the device itself. This allows you to connect directly to the TV, computer, or MP3 player. If you have an external FM receiver, you can also take advantage of the Multi Mic’s FM mode. It’s a nice tool, but I found that it wasn’t always necessary for my personal lifestyle situation.
Every day I’ve had with the LiNX 3D has been a gift. I have really missed being apart of the world. I’m grateful to hear everything from birds to other sounds that aren’t quite as pleasing — like dogs barking. I’ve had a really great experience with the LiNX 3D. They have brought the world of sound back to me. There are many different options for hearing devices in the world. I can’t stress the importance of finding the right one for you.
Everyone’s ears are shaped differently and hearing loss is different for each person as well. While one person with mild hearing loss might be helped by the over-the-counter options (hearing amplifiers) someone with moderate to major hearing loss — like mine — will need more specialized help from hearing aids like the LiNX 3D. If you find that you are having trouble understanding conversations, I would recommend having your hearing tested. The earlier you catch a problem, the earlier it can be treated. A hearing aid works best when it’s properly sized and adjusted by a hearing care professional. I’m a strong advocate for this because it’s part of proper maintenance and hearing health. I will continue to see my audiologist on a regular basis to make sure that my ears are still in good health physcially and to make sure the devices are being properly maintained.
The LiNX 3D is a remarkable hearing device and I can’t say enough good things about them. Before using these hearing aids, simple things like the letters ‘p’, ‘e’, ‘c’, and ‘t’ were very hard for me to understand. If someone was spelling out a word, I would get very frustrated because I couldn’t understand what they were saying. Now, with the help of the LiNX 3D, letters and words are easy to understand and I no longer feel that frustration when I’m talking with others. Until you reach a point where you know you aren’t hearing things correctly, you don’t know how much you are missing and what the LiNX 3D can do for you. Every feature that is included with these hearing aids have worked beautifully and my life has forever been changed.
For more information, visit resound.com.
Find ReSound on Facebook and Twitter.
Originally published at macsources.com on March 14, 2018.