Updated: Oct 4
After 3 years Signia opened its hands and introduced its leading-edge technology this week, Signia Integrated Xperience (IX). Read through this article to learn about the upgrades the IX brings to AX, and if Signia IX is better than Oticon REAL and Phonak Lumity.
As a deaf audiologist, I try all and every new hearing aid that comes to the market so I can have a real, first-hand experience that allows me to give better advice to my patients. I'll provide an update to this article when I get my hands on a pair of Signia IX hearing aids.
The company, Signia used to be the hearing aids division of Siemens until a few years ago they joined with Widex and Rexton to form WS Audiology.
What do Signia IX and Signia AX have in common?
Signia IX inherit all the good features that Signia AX introduced to the market in 2020, including:
Dual processor - Signia Pure AX and now Signia Pure IX are the only hearing aids in the market that have 2 processors on board. The hearing aid strips off the speech signal from the sound received in front of the wearer and processes the rest of the soundscape separately. One processor reshapes the speech and makes it more hearable, while the second processor reduces the background noise based on the type and intensity of the background noise. At the end, another module reconstructs the sound and sends it to the amplifier and then to the little speaker that goes in your ear canal. This technique is very unique and proved effective in improving the signal-to-noise ratio for the wearer of the hearing aid.
Motion sensor - Signia Pure IX also carries a motion sensor that is there in the AX model. The sensor feeds into the algorithm and the sound processor unit to focus better on the speech when the wearer is on the move e.g. walking in a park.
Soundscape analysis - In both models, an AI algorithm determines the type of soundscape you are in e.g. the level of signal-to-noise ratio, determines this is you talking or others talking, if you are standing still or moving, etc.
Own voice processing - The way that our brain perceives our own voice is the basis for the quality of our hearing. When we use hearing aids for the first time we hear our own voice differently. It is because the acoustics of our ear canal have been altered with the presence of the speaker of the hearing aid in our ear. Signia IX and Signia AX is the only hearing aid with their own voice sound processing. Your audiologist will be able to run a quick algorithm on Signi's fitting software to let your Signi hearing aid learn your voice so it can strip it off from the processing channels. The result is that you'll hear your own voice less.
Smallest rechargeable RIC - Signia AX and Signia IX are the smallest rechargeable hearing aids in the market.
Slick charger - The desktop and the portable power pack charger unit have not changed and still are some of the coolest charger units for a hearing aid in the market based on the patients I have attended.
Sleeve domes - Both Signia IX and Signia AX keep using the unique sleeve domes that since their merger with Widex they have been using. The sleeve domes prove to provide better retention and comfort to the wearer.
What is new in Signia IX?
The speech understanding in Signia AX was good, but Signia IX has taken it to the next level (see below). Unlike Signia AX which can focus on the speech in front of the wearer, Signia IX can lock into several speech streaming from around the wearer. Thanks to Alexa-type speech recognition the hearing aid is able to determine human speech patterns around the wearer, and then lock into them. The aid is also able to trace them when the source of the speech is moving e.g. hearing in a group of friends at a party, or the wearer turns their head.
What are the technology levels of Signi Pure IX?
Unlike the Signia Pure AX, the Signia Pure IX has only 3 different technology levels 7IX, 5IX and 3IX. The full features of the hearing aid can be felt in the top model which is Signia Pure 7 IX.
Please note that:
The SpatialFocus feature is only available on Signia Pure 5 IX and 7 IX. Also, Conversation Dynamics Analyser and Focus Streams work best at the 7IX model.
The motion sensor is available in all Signia Pure IX models.
The Echoshield is only available to 5IX and 7IX models. People working in high ceiling and reverberant environments such as museums, showrooms and so on would find his feature very useful.
See the tech-level comparison of Signia Pure IX below.