Did you know hearing aids are the most popular prescription for hearing loss in the world? Every year, millions of Americans suffering from various types of hearing problems contribute to the booming industry. We know modern hearing aids can have a massive impact on quality of life, but with all the options available on the market, making a decision on which device is right for you can be tough.
Not all hearing aids are the same. Some brands are better than others in terms of quality, while others are simply better at addressing certain hearing problems than others. Your audiologist is responsible for finding the most suitable options to treat your hearing problem, but you will always have the final say on which brand feels most appropriate.
Widex is a popular manufacturer of hearing aids and is often recommended to patients dealing with hearing difficulties. This review of Widex Hearing Aids explores Widex hearing aid models, styles, technology levels, and accessories. Explore if Widex hearing aids are right for you, and see how they compare to other brands.
The History Of Widex Hearing Aids
Widex is the 6th largest manufacturer of hearing aids in the entire world. This family-owned business was founded in 1956 by two Danish families, Topholm and Westermann. Though the company’s headquarters are located in Denmark, Widex hearing aids are sold in multiple countries all over the world. Widex also has another headquarters in New York.
Over the years, Widex has been at the forefront of innovation in hearing aid technology. The company was the first to introduce a fully digitally programmable hearing aid in 1995 (Widex Senso), a real breakthrough for that time. More recently, in 2018, Widex was the first hearing aid manufacturer to incorporate machine learning technology in their digital hearing aids. Another new groundbreaking technology by Widex was the introduction of the smallest rechargeable lithium-ion batteries in 2020.
Widex merged with hearing aid conglomerate Sivantos in 2010 joining other companies such as Signia and Rexton. Sivantos also owned several private-label hearing aid distributors and hearing care providers, such as TruHearing, Audibene, HearUSA, and Hear.com. The merger of Widex and Sivantos formed WSAudiology, accounting for a market share of 19%!
Widex Hearing Aid Models
Like many of their competitors in the hearing aid industry, Widex manufactures receiver in canal (RIC), behind-the-ear (BTE), and custom in-the-ear hearing aid devices. These hearing aid models in each of the major hearing aid styles come in four technology levels, from the more advanced to “basic”. That means there’s a potential treatment option for everyone, and at multiple price points.
As expected, the level of technology dictates the Widex hearing aid prices. Generally, the higher the technology level, the more advanced the features that come with it, and the more the Widex hearing aid cost. Hearing professionals have more control over these features and can make adjustments based on their patient’s needs.
Only a hearing professional can properly assess a patient’s degree of hearing loss, lifestyle, the amount of time spent in noisy environments, budget, etc. This is why Widex hearing aids aren’t available over the counter. Patients can only purchase Widex hearing aids with a prescription. Hearing exams provide a great deal of information and help to rule out other treatment options, like surgical procedures.
Widex Receiver In Canal RIC Hearing Aids
RIC, or receiver in canal hearing aids are one of the best options for first-time wearers.
RIC, or receiver in canal hearing aids are one of the best options for first-time wearers, and are Widex’s most popular hearing aid style. It’s also a popular style in the Widex Moment hearing aid line-up. RIC hearing aids consist of a small, “behind-the-ear style” aid coupled to a small receiver/speaker via thin wires wrapped in plastic tubing. For milder hearing losses, the receiver is typically held in the ear canal by a disposable rubber dome. Individuals with greater degrees of hearing loss may be recommended a custom ear mold that attaches to the RIC receiver.
The current Widex Moment Sheer line offers RIC hearing aids in three sizes. Widex’s smallest sized RIC is the smallest RIC hearing aid currently available on the market, i.e. the Widex Moment RIC-10, and runs on the smallest hearing aid battery, a size 10.
The slightly larger size is Widex’s rechargeable RIC option; the Widex Moment Sheer RIC-R offers 29 hours of battery life (without bluetooth streaming) and comes in 13 color options. Color choices include the typical range of beige, brown, silver-gray, and gold, as well as some unusual options: pink, blue, teal, and red.
Widex Behind The Ear BTE Hearing Aids
Widex also offers a standard behind-the-ear BTE hearing aid: Moment behind the ear, which has a behind the ear component coupled to a custom fitted earmold with a plastic tube. Unlike other hearing aid manufacturers, such as Signia or Oticon, Widex does not offer a power BTE option.
Widex Moment BTE is available in two options: rechargeable and disposable battery. The rechargeable option has an impressive 37-hour battery life when not streaming, and will stay on for 24 hours after 8 hours of streaming! The disposable battery Widex Moment hearing aid BTE option takes a size 13 battery.
Widex Moment BTEs come with an LED indicator, telecoil, and direct streaming to iPhone and Android devices. This makes them great options for children and adults alike. The LED indicator could help parents and other caregivers adjust hearing aid settings via a remote as well as have a visual indicator of when it is time to recharge or change a battery.
Telecoil option is especially important for school-aged children with hearing loss, as it allows them to use assistive listening technology along with their hearing aids in a classroom setting. They’ll also be able to hear their teacher’s voice directly in their ear via their hearing aid and the telecoil and have a better learning and listening experience.
Although Widex does not technically offer a power BTE option, Moment hearing aids can be fitted in patients with a wide range of hearing losses, including severe hearing loss and profound hearing loss.
Widex Custom Hearing Aids
Widex custom models are available on Widex’s latest Moment platform. Widex’s smallest custom in-the-canal model is the Moment Micro CIC (completely in-canal). This custom device sits deep in the ear canal and is a discreet option, however custom Widex hearing aids cost more on average than other hearing aids.
There’s a standard CIC option, however, it’s not as deeply seated in the ear canal – its face plate may be slightly visible, especially if someone’s paying attention to the user’s ear. The choice between the Micro CIC and standard CIC may depend on the person’s ear canal size and degree of hearing loss, as well as desired features such as having ear to ear communication or a remote control function available on the devices. Micro CIC may be too small to fit in those with smaller ear canals.
Unfortunately, standard CIC and especially Micro CIC hearing aids may not be the best options for moderate to severe hearing losses. Thankfully Widex also offers an ITC (in the canal style) called the IM/IP which allows for greater power range, and options such as push buttons and volume wheels. They also offer an XP in the ear option for those with severe to profound hearing loss.
Widex Moment Hearing Aids Vs Other Models
The Moment line is one of Widex’s latest hearing aid families and has become quite popular over the years. Widex hearing aids vary in terms of cost, features, style, and treatment level, and a hearing test will match you with the best hearing aid model available for your needs and lifestyle.
Widex Moment and their previous model, the Widex Evoke, treat mild to severe hearing loss and can range from $2,500-$6,500 a pair. They both cater to tech-savvy patients and can be useful for managing tinnitus.
Most models cater to patients with sensorineural hearing loss, as it’s the most common type. Widex’s CROS and BiCROS models cater to those with single-sided deafness (SSD) by transferring sound from the deaf ear to the normal hearing ear. These range from $9,00-$3,000 each.
Widex offers free hearing screenings online, but patients still need to see an audiologist to purchase Widex hearing aids. Your hearing specialist will walk you through your options and put you on the path to better hearing.
Our hearing health naturally declines as we age. As with glasses, the sooner the issue is addressed, the more effective the treatment becomes. Widex has played a major role in advancing the field with new hearing aids that address a host of hearing problems, and stands out for superior sound quality, durability, and effectiveness at treating tinnitus.
Machine Learning-Sound Sense Learn
Machine learning is a subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI). In these devices, Machine learning uses algorithms that apply previously available data to analyze and classify incoming audio signals. This way, they can predict and solve difficult listening situations. In other words, Widex devices train themselves by using old and new data.
Widex was at the forefront of developing hearing aids that use machine learning. In fact, Machine learning was first introduced by Widex in its Widex Evoke hearing aids. The feature is called “SoundSense Learn” and can be accessed by the user through the Widex app.
When using Widex hearing aids in a challenging listening environment, such as wind noise or loud chatter, users can access this feature to adjust a preset program based on their immediate listening experience.
How it works: The app will present two listening options and the user will have to choose one (A/B comparison). Once this choice is made, another two choices are presented. Each time a selection is made, the algorithm learns the user’s preferences. From there, the hearing device makes adjustments to its present sound and improves future response in a similar situation.
The input dynamic range of hearing aids has to do with its microphone’s capability in terms of volume. Widex hearing aids with a wide input dynamic range can give the wearer a variety of sounds in terms of their loudness: from very soft to very loud.
An especially wide dynamic range may not be especially important for speech understanding, especially for the average wearer. However, it is a crucial feature when listening to music. This makes Widex hearing aids a great choice for musicians and music lovers.
ZeroDelay Technology In Widex PureSound
ZeroDelay Technology is another cutting-edge feature that was introduced in the Widex Moment platform. The feature is recommended for users of RIC devices and other devices with venting (openings for ventilation) providing a more natural sound experience called PureSound.
Since hearing aids don’t process sound the way the human auditory system is “supposed to work”, wearers may have a problem with the sound quality. Slow sound processing can cause the amplified sound wave to be significantly behind the non-amplified sound.
The improvements made with PureSound allow for fast sound processing technology; this reduces the annoying sound delay between the microphone and receiver that causes artificial sound. In turn, this improves overall sound quality and user experience.
Widex SoundRelax Technology
Widex SoundRelax technology is an innovative feature in hearing aids designed to provide relief for people suffering from tinnitus. This technology utilizes a variety of soothing sounds, like white noise, ocean waves, or gentle rainfall, which can be customized and adjusted according to the user’s preference and the severity of their tinnitus. By diverting the user’s attention away from the tinnitus sounds, SoundRelief helps to reduce the discomfort and stress associated with the condition. The technology integrates seamlessly into Widex’s advanced hearing aids, allowing users to control the features via a smartphone app, making it a convenient and user-friendly solution for tinnitus sufferers.
Zen Fractal Tones
Widex hearing aids can be used as ear-level sound generators to treat tinnitus with sound therapy. Sound therapy is a treatment approach to tinnitus that uses outside sounds to distract from the tinnitus sounds and stimulate the ear. There are several manufacturers of hearing aids that include sound therapy tinnitus treatment options in their hearing aids via the use of various static noises and sounds, such as white noise, pink noise, wind noise, etc.
Widex’s approach to sound therapy is unique because of the type of sound that is being used: fractal tones. Fractal tones are melodic tones that sound like wind chimes. Widex claims this type of sound is effective because fractal tones are unpredictable. Fractal tones keep the ear interested and stimulated because they’re unpredictable. The use of fractal tones for tinnitus has been studied and has shown effectiveness.
The various features described above are made even more beneficial through Widex Interear technology for those who wear hearing aids in both with the exception of the Micro CIC style. The benefits of hearing from both ears (or binaurally) have been known for quite some time. Those benefits include improved hearing in background noise, better sound localization and better speech recognition.
InterEar technology allows two hearing aids to communicate with one another with the idea of binaural hearing at its core. Specifically, Widex hearing aids uses InterEar Speech Enhancer to improve the user’s speech understanding in noisy environments.
InterEar Speech Enhancer uses a proprietary algorithm to enhance the speech of the most dominant speaker (usually those closest to the hearing aid users) in situations with background noise consisting of other conversations.
Losing the ability to hear high-frequency sounds such as a doorbell or nature sounds is a common side effect of hearing loss. It can affect speech perception making it harder to focus on and enjoy conversations. In children, it can cause significant delays in language development.
Audibility extender is Widex’s frequency transposition technology. In other words, it moves sounds from inaudible high-frequency regions, such as hard-to-hear consonant sounds, to lower frequencies where hearing is better. This improves the listener’s ability to detect and interpret these previously unintelligible speech sounds, therefore making conversations easier to hear.
Widex Moment App
Widex Moment App can be used to adjust device settings through either an iPhone (directly) or directly to Android devices via the ASHA (Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids) standard. They even have a phone compatibility checker available online to ensure that your phone (especially your Android phone) meets the minimum requirements for streaming. A user can control various functions such as volume and program settings, adjust volume, and even stream audio through the app. The SoundSense Learn feature is also available through the app.
The Moment app also gives the hearing specialist the ability to fine-tune hearing aids remotely. However, in order to connect Widex Moment hearing aids to the Remote Care function of the app, a special neck loop device is required, which has to be purchased separately. Aside from this issue, adjustments to the devices can be done quite seamlessly by hearing health provider through a remote care option.
Widex Hearing Aid Accessories
In addition to their hearing aid line up and features, Widex offers an array of hearing aid accessories that can be used in conjunction with their hearing aids to boost functionality, pair hearing aids to other bluetooth devices such as a TV or Phone, offer a hand held remote control option for those who don’t want to use the phone app and more.
Sound assist wirelessly couples Widex hearing aids to various remote mic options (partner mic, table mic, etc.), as well as provides hand-free and remote control functionality.
Hands-free, neck-worn devices that stream audio wirelessly into Widex hearing aids from Bluetooth devices. Up to 8 hours of streaming time. Optional COM-DEX remote mics increase the sound quality up to a 10 meter range.
UNI-DEX is the plug-and-play alternative that uses a 3.55mm mini jack to listen to audio on phones, MP3 players, and other devices.
This accessory acts as a wireless remote control for Widex hearing aids. It allows the user to control basic features such as program and sound settings. These devices are discreet and small enough to fit on a keychain.
TV-DEX is the Widex accessory for use with television to prevent echoes and accelerate sound processing. It allows the users to hear TV audio directly in their Widex hearing aids, wirelessly.
TV-DEX also allows users to switch off the hearing aid’s sound and focus on TV audio only. The ‘room off’ function allows users to enjoy TV without distracting background sounds.
TV Play is Widex’s latest TV accessory for their Moment hearing aids. It allows wearers to enjoy watching TV with the same sound quality as those with normal hearing.
Hearing Aid Chargers
Widex offers two options for chargers, both for RIC hearing aids and regular BTE hearing aids. Regular, or standard chargers are tabletop chargers that will give a full-day use of the hearing aids with a 4-hour charge. In a time crunch, hearing aid users can get 4 hours of usage with just a 30-minute charge.
A second option is Widex Charge n Clean–three-in-one chargers–that charge, sanitize and dry out the hearing aids.
Hearing Aid Dryers
Other hearing aid brands sometimes start malfunctioning due to moisture. Widex offers a stand-alone dryer to combat this issue: PerfectDry Lux. PerfectDry helps optimize and extend the performance of Widex hearing aids. PerfectDry Lux dries and sanitizes hearing aids in 45 minutes. Daily use of PerfectDry Lux is recommended.
In conclusion, Widex Hearing Aids represent a significant advancement in the field of audiology, offering a comprehensive range of options for those experiencing hearing loss. From their history of innovation and technological firsts to the varied models and styles designed to meet different needs and preferences, Widex stands out as a leader in hearing aid technology. Their commitment to improving the quality of life for those with hearing difficulties is evident in their cutting-edge features like Machine Learning, ZeroDelay Technology, and unique approaches to tinnitus treatment. With the added convenience of the Widex Moment App and a variety of accessories to enhance user experience, Widex provides a holistic solution for hearing care. Whether you are a first-time hearing aid user or looking for an upgrade, Widex offers a blend of quality, innovation, and personalization that makes their hearing aids a top choice for anyone seeking to improve their hearing health.