Signia Silk Charge&Go IX Feature Review
This may well surprise you. Until the release of the Signia Silk Charging Go IX, the only rechargeable hearing aids on the market were the ReSound Omnia and the Phonak Lumity Receiver in Canal hearing aid.
So if you wanted a more invisible option, then the only technology available used a disposable battery, and this needs changing roughly once a week.
The good news is that this is all about to change as Signia has just released the world’s first rechargeable CIC hearing aids, introducing the Signia Charge&Go IX.
Signia Charge&Go IX technology & features
Now, rechargeability is one of the many unique features built into this incredibly small new technology from Signia.
Released this autumn, the Signia Silk IX has superseded the Signia Silk X, which is now 3 years old and long overdue for an update. So let’s look at the physical side of things and show you how they look in the ear. Then, we’ll take a good look at how clever the technology is that’s working inside these hearing aids.
This new family of hearing aids doesn’t look any different in shape and size to the previous model. We’re amazed that they’ve been able to make this new rechargeable version with the same physical specifications as the battery version, and for the battery to perform as well as it does. The only difference that you’ll spot between the two of them is that there’s no longer an openable battery door on the rechargeable version.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Signia Silks, they’re shaped in this torpedo way and ergonomically designed to mirror the shape of an average ear canal, measuring 50 mm long, 10 mm tall, and only 4 mm in diameter.
Quite differently to other CIC hearing aids, these are ready-to-wear devices and therefore, they don’t require an impression to be taken of your ear by your audiologist. Instead, they have a semi-customisable design with interchangeable domes for the end to suit the shape and size of your ear canal. The dome selection isn’t something that you need to worry about as your audiologist would measure and select the most appropriate fitting for your anatomy and your hearing loss, with plenty of options to choose from.
It’s important to note that the tip on the end of a hearing aid isn’t solely designed for comfort. It plays an incredibly important role in the way that a hearing aid sounds, influencing factors such as the hearing aid’s clarity and its ability to cope with background noise, and it also has an impact on the way that your own voice sounds. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to get the correct setup for you.
The devices themselves come with two different colours to choose from, with the bodies of the shell always being either red or blue for easy identification of which is the left or the right.
The outward-facing part, the faceplate, is available in either a mocha or a black matte surface. The majority of our patients at Harley Street Hearing prefer the black colour, as it looks like the shadow of the ear canal and just makes them that little bit more inconspicuous than trying to match your skin tone.
Battery life & wireless charging abilities
With the Signia Charge&Go IX, a single 3-hour charge will give you 24 hours of life. So, each charge will last you for a full day. The case itself is neat and pocket-sized, and rather impressively, given its size, has a built-in battery which provides you with an additional 3 days’ worth of charge before it needs charging again.
This is particularly useful if you happen to go away for a long weekend somewhere and power isn’t easily accessible, say for example a camping trip for 3 days, then all you need is the case and you can charge on the go.
As these hearing aids are the gift that keeps on giving, in another world first, the case itself has Qi charging. This essentially means that you don’t need to plug it in to charge it but instead can place it on a wireless charging pad for inductive charging. Or, if you prefer, you can still use the USB-C port on the back of the case.
A new world of hearing aid technology
As with all hearing aids, the Signia Silk IX isn’t suitable for all degrees of hearing loss. However, it does have a pretty broad fitting range, meaning that it’s designed for those with mild to moderate sensorineural hearing loss. In some cases, it could be pushed to compensate for those with severe hearing loss in some of those higher frequencies.
In practical terms, that means that if your hearing loss falls within the shaded area on this image, then technically they could be suitable for you.
They’re available in three different technology levels: the 7IX, 5IX, and 3IX, with the former being the most advanced of the three. The more advanced the hearing aid, the greater the number of features and automation that you have access to.
The new IX chip runs all of the same features as the Silk’s predecessor, the X chip. However, along with a few key developments such as Signia’s Dynamic Soundscape Processing 3.0.
This feature integrates various processes within the IX chip for hearing aid optimisation based on your surrounding environment, analysing 192,000 data points per second relating to your specific situation, and then deciding on the most appropriate way for this hearing aid to react.
This feature, combined with Signia’s Ear-to-Ear Wireless 4.0 and their binaural one-mic directionality, means that these hearing aids are working together rather than as two individual units, which is quite unique to Signia.
For their in-the-ear hearing aids, this feature is beneficial for two different reasons:
- For identifying the direction of those speaking to you and focusing the microphones in the correct position.
- It employs their speech stabiliser feature which targets speech in a noisy environment and preserves the acoustic cues that are important for you to be able to follow and understand speech clarity and distinction. This can be helpful in a few situations such as dining in a restaurant, driving in a car or walking down a busy street.
Another feature unique to the Signia Silks is their wireless functionality. Now, we’ll preface this by saying that wireless functionalities are of course not exclusive to Signia. However, it is certainly a unique feature for hearing aids of this size and discretion.
This gives you access to the Signia app and the mini pocket remote control to make basic adjustments to the settings and also to access their tinnitus features, which is a nice segue.
Signia’s tinnitus management features
When it comes to tinnitus management, Signia offers three different strategies against tinnitus, depending on what’s the most appropriate for you: static noise therapy, ocean wave therapy, and Signia’s unique Tinnitus Notch Therapy.
Both the static noise and ocean wave therapies are different types of noise to mask your tinnitus, all with different characteristics, and different frequency responses which means some of them are more likely to be effective than others in drowning out your tinnitus.
Finally, Signia’s Tinnitus Notch Therapy is specifically designed for those experiencing tonal tinnitus such as ringing, buzzing, or whistling. This approach is quite different from using a masking sound. Signia claims that the concept behind Notch therapy isn’t to drown out tinnitus but to teach the brain how to ignore it completely. Unlike both the ocean wave and static noise sound therapies, this method is presented at an inaudible level, so you won’t even be aware of the tinnitus sound therapy that you’re being exposed to – it’s pretty clever.
Signia Silk Charge& Go IX CROS/BICROS
CROS or BICROS systems are designed for individuals with an unaidable hearing loss in one ear, i.e., no hearing at all and either normal hearing or a hearing loss that requires a hearing aid in the other.
A CROS system is essentially a transmitter that detects any sound that arrives on the poorer hearing side, and then it wirelessly transmits the sound to your better-hearing ear, giving you access to the world of sound in 360°. For example, if you’re sitting on a bus with your unaidable ear towards a friend, a CROS system would transmit their voice to a hearing aid in the better hearing ear, allowing you to be able to hear them clearly and comfortably.
The Silk wins another point here for not only being the only CIC CROS system that’s out there but also the world’s first rechargeable CIC CROS hearing aid.
What to know before buying
The Signia Silks have a lot of positive features, but in order to give a balanced review it’s important to share our thoughts on what’s missing from the devices.
There are three features that other hearing aids offer, which the Signia Silk IXs don’t which are worth considering before buying.
Let’s start with how they function in background noise. Signia utilizes its One Mic directionality technology and the Pinna effect, which is the part of the ear that gathers sound from in front and behind and determines what’s in front of you versus what’s behind you. Despite this, the Silks won’t cope as well as a receiver in canal BTE hearing aid which has multiple microphones built into it, which can help you identify whether you’re in background noise or not and the direction that sounds will be coming from. If background noise is one of your biggest challenges, then we would recommend looking at the Pure Charge&Go IX.
Secondly, yes, the Signia Silks do have wireless connectivity, but they don’t have Bluetooth built into them. So the discretion of the Silk IX does come at a cost. And again, if you’re interested in streaming phone calls or media, such as the radio, music, or podcasts to your hearing aids directly from your phone, then the Pure Charge&Go receiver in the ear canal version may be more appropriate for you.
The third thing that’s important to consider when looking at these hearing aids is that while it is a positive to be able to customise these hearing aids by changing the tips on the end rather than going through the process of having an impression taken of your ear as you would do with a conventional set of CIC hearing aids, at the same time, this also does mean in reality that they don’t fit quite as well as a custom-made set of hearing aids.
This is not an issue for the majority of ears. However, there are instances that we, as audiologists, may want to have things made in a very specific way for example, with venting to allow your ears to breathe and to prevent what we call the occlusion effect. And we don’t have that same degree of control as we would do with a hearing aid specifically tailored to the shape and size of your ear canals.
If you’re somebody with a hearing loss and you’re conscious of cosmetics, ask your audiologist for advice on whether these hearing aids are good for you. If you’d like to book a hearing consultation at Harley Street Hearing – London’s leading independent hearing clinic, please call 020 7486 1053 or complete the form below.
Signia Silk Charge&Go Review
Matthew Allsop is a Partner at Harley Street Hearing, and the content creator for Hearing Tracker, where he shares his honest opinion on all new hearing aid technology. Hearing Tracker is the world’s first truly independent resource for hearing aid customers. You can view his video where he shares his opinions on the Signia Silk Charge&Go below.
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