The Signia Primax was released in Australia in early 2016 and is the successor of the Siemens binax platform*. Like its binax predecessor, primax features binaural sound processing technology whereby each hearing aid in a bilateral fitting (both ears) processes sound from four microphones; two on the hearing aid on one side and two from the hearing aid on the other side.
This binaural processing technology enables a bilateral hearing aid pair to offer high performance features such as narrow directionality. Narrow directionality is highly beneficial for wearers in challenging noisy situations. The technology narrows the focus of the directional beam so it focusses only on the speaker directly in front of the hearing aid wearer, significantly improving speech clarity. The beam is far more narrow that what can be achieved by a normal monaural directional microphone system. This technology is so effective it has been clinically proven to outperform normal hearing.
Primax improves the performance of this narrow directionality feature with a technology Signia calls SpeechMaster. Speechmaster controls and steers directionality (including narrow directionality) as well as new noise reduction technology so that it focuses in on and highlights the speech of the target speaker. This enables the hearing aid wearer to listen comfortably to the person of interest, even in challenging situations where there are multiple conversations going on (e.g. at a cocktail party). SpeechMaster not only improves speech clarity but also reduces listening effort for the hearing aid wearer.
SpeechMaster is claimed to work automatically without wearer intervention, however wearers can optionally download a free TouchControl app for Apple and Android phones. The app provides direct control over the hearing aids so wearers can control (via their smartphone) some of the high performance features of primax, including the directional microphone system. This control includes being able to point the directionality in the direction to where the wearer wants to hear (e.g. to the front, to the left, to the right or even backwards) as well as the narrowness of the directional beam.
In addition to technology to address challenging situations with a lot of background noise, Primax also has technology that addresses some special challenging situations. One of these situations is listening to music. Hearing aid development historically have focussed on improving speech intelligibility (clarity) with less focus on sound quality when listening to music. Primax includes a HD Music feature that offers dedicated programs for different types of music listening including listening to recorded music, listening to live music and playing music. Other special situations primax has technologies to address include listening in reverberant (echoey) environments (Echoshield), outdoors in the wind (Binaural eWindscreen), using landline phones (TwinPhone) and mobile phones (easyTek).
The primax platform is currently available in receiver-in-canal (Pure and Ace), behind-the-ear (Motion) and custom styles (Insio). Later in 2016, Signia will be released a new receiver-in-canal style on the primax platform: Signia Cellion. Signia Cellion will be the first inductively-charged, lithium-ion rechargeable hearing aids on the market.
Primax is in our opinion one of the best hearing aids for improving speech clarity in background noise. Many of our clients who have been fitted with this technology have noted the significant improvement in speech clarity compared to their previous hearing aids.
If you are having hearing difficulties but not sure which hearing solution is suitable for you, simply give The Hearing Place a call on 1300 911 990 and talk to one of our audiologists. Our audiologists will be able to give you advice about which device is suitable for you: a hearing aid or a personal amplifier.
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* In 2015 Siemens sold their hearing aid division to Sivantos. In 2016 Sivantos launched the Signia brand which over time will replace the Siemens hearing aid brand in the market.