Phonak is the flagship hearing aid brand of Sonova, the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturer. The company offers one of the widest selection of hearing aids in the world, making nearly any feature, style, color, and technology available to you. Based in Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak has more than 60 years of experience producing premium hearing aids and has positioned itself as one of the most innovative and consistent hearing aid brands on the market. Phonak continues to push the envelope to give those with hearing loss a premium listening experience.
Phonak Virto B Titanium was the first invisible Phonak hearing aid to be made of medical grade titanium. There were several in-the-canal (ITC) and invisible-in-the-canal (IIC) hearing aids on the market, but the use of titanium was a game-changer for Phonak. Titanium is strong and lightweight, which allows the outer shell of the hearing device to be noticeably thinner compared to the normal acrylic material. A thinner shell can house all of the best hearing aid technology, without compromising on size and comfort. Titanium is also easier to clean, is more durable, and lasts longer. After great success with Virto B Titanium, Phonak has since launched the latest version of the Virto line, Virto P Titanium. With Virto P, the latest features from the Paradise platform are available in the smallest and strongest hearing aid from Phonak. While later versions of the titanium hearing aid have been released, Virto B Titanium continues to be a high quality hearing solution. The following is a review and description of the Phonak Virto B Titanium hearing aid.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Phonak was the first hearing aid manufacturer to develop a completely-in-canal (CIC) hearing aid made out of titanium. One of the largest barriers for people with hearing loss to overcome is the negative stigma of needing to wear a hearing aid. This stigma often causes people who could benefit from wearing a hearing aid to delay the process for several years. The first-of-its-kind small size of Virto B Titanium allows the hearing device to be virtually invisible in the ear, while also being resistant to water and dirt. Due to the device fitting deep in the ear canal, patients typically do not experience occlusion, or feeling as though they are wearing an earplug. Those wearing Virto B Titanium also experience virtually no wind noise due to the deep fit. The “Belong” platform is technologically advanced and focuses on good, natural sound quality, automatic adjustments with the AutoSense Operating System (OS), and clear speech, making participation in conversations easier. Microphone directionality features along with noise blocking and noise cancellation features help users hear better and easier in harder listening environments, like your favorite restaurant. While Titanium remains an option in the Marvel and Paradise platforms, Virto B Titanium was the first and continues to be one of the most advanced titanium hearing aids from Phonak.
- It is small and fits very deep in your ear canal, making the hearing aid virtually invisible.
- The titanium material makes the hearing aid as durable and easy to clean as any device on the market.
- The titanium fit guide takes ear canal flexibility into account to make the device even more invisible than past models.
- The AutoSense Operating System (OS) automatically adjusts the settings of your hearing aid to your sound environment.
- The “Belong” chip platform powers the Virto B Titanium.
- Custom fit to the size and shape of your ear.
- The fitting appointment done by an audiologist ensures a precise fit and better patient outcomes than most other hearing aids.
- The IP68 rating means that it is dust and water resistant; however, the device should be removed prior to bathing, swimming, or any other time they could be submerged in water.
- The occlusion effect is much less obvious than most IIC hearing aids.
- Your audiologist will walk you through every step from your first hearing test to your final fitting and beyond.
- SoundRecover2 helps you hear speech clearly and follow conversations easier.
- Biometric Calibration takes the individual’s ear anatomy in consideration to optimize directionality features for their specific ear.
- Virto B Titanium is only offered in the invisible-in-canal (IIC) form factor. If you are looking for a larger hearing device style, there are still many options for you!
- There are no rechargeable options at this time.
- No streaming or connectivity features available at this time.
- Premium hearing technology can be a financial investment. The average price for a pair of hearing devices can range from $2000-$7000 or more. Your audiologist will speak with you about any insurance benefit available to you, and offer any leasing or financing options.
- The size is dependent on your ear canal, meaning not everyone is an ideal candidate and able to use the device due to small ear canal space.
- May require more in-office maintenance than other hearing aid styles.
- Good manual dexterity ability and/or support system is needed to change the batteries and help with insertion/removal.
Features & Benefits
Design/Type of Hearing Aid
Phonak Virto B Titanium hearing aids are some of the smallest hearing aids you will find. Their titanium construction means that the outer shell is considerably thinner than any acrylic hearing aid, and stronger too. The titanium fitting guide takes the flexibility of your ear canal in consideration, which offers the best and deepest fit possible. On average, hearing aids fit with this fitting guide allows approximately 2.5mm deeper fittings. With deeper fittings than most other custom hearing aids, Virto B Titanium is one of the most invisible options on the market. Virto B Titanium was created for people with mild to severe hearing loss.
Fit and Wearability
When you purchase Phonak Virto B Titanium, you will also receive a custom fitting by an audiologist, a hearing healthcare professional who specializes in disorders related to hearing and balance. At the initial fitting, the hearing devices are placed in your ear canal and fit to your specific ear size and shape. The fitting is professional and customized as are the prescribed settings and features of the device itself. After the initial fitting and precise measurements, the wearability of Virto B Titanium becomes one of its greatest features. It is so small and lightweight, making it one of the most comfortable devices you will find on the market today. In addition, the titanium fitting guide allows the device to fit about 2.5mm deeper on average into the ear canal, providing a virtually invisible hearing device option that is physically comfortable and supplies clear and natural sound quality.
One main difference between Phonak Virto B Titanium and the more widely-known receiver-in-canal (RIC) styles is there is not a rechargeable option at this time for Virto B Titanium. Taking the small size of the device into account, it can be a challenge to replace the disposable batteries, especially for people with manual dexterity concerns in their hands and fingers. Virto B Titanium takes a size 10 zinc-air battery, which supplies the device with around 60 hours of use per battery before having to be replaced. The battery life largely depends on the degree of hearing loss and how much the hearing aid is used throughout the day. Regardless, Virto B Titanium users will need to change their batteries at least weekly and due to the small size of the device and the battery itself, it can be a challenge for some patients.
Phonak Virto B Titanium uses UltraZoom and Real Ear Sound to pinpoint the direction of speech and other sounds. The ability to pinpoint specific sounds allows you to hear speech easier and more clearly. The ability to use the shape and size of your own ear also helps with directionality because your ears naturally pinpoint the direction of sound. You can tap into that natural ability with Virto B Titanium.
Adaptability speaks to how quickly and easily the user adjusts to the hearing aid itself, and how long it takes for the listening process to become natural. Almost any hearing aid is going to require an adjustment period. However, the small size and professional fitting that go along with Virto B Titanium make these hearing aids much easier to adapt to than most custom devices. They are comfortable and they keep the “occlusion” effect as innocuous as possible. They also sit so far in your ear that you do not physically see them, and after a while you do not even think about them anymore. They use the natural shape and acoustics of your ear to aid in hearing, and the common occlusion effect felt with many custom hearing aids is virtually non-existent with Virto B Titanium.
With most In-The-Ear (ITE) hearing aids, occlusion is one of the most annoying aspects of the device. The occlusion effect occurs when the hearing aid takes up so much of the ear that sounds cannot escape your body and you hear things like chewing, your own voice, or other things differently. Because of where they sit, many ITE hearing aids cause you to hear these sounds louder than you would without hearing aids. The Phonak Virto B Titanium hearing aids are so small and fit so deeply inside your ear, the occlusion effect is largely removed.
- Noise cancellation
WhistleBlock and WindBlock work together to take away two of the most annoying noises that can affect a person with hearing aids. They work together with NoiseBlock to effectively cut down on the amount of ambient and extra noises that creep into your hearing aids. The size and placement of these IIC hearing aids also help to keep out any extra environmental noises.
- Adaptive noise reduction
Noise Block Processing is Phonak’s noise reduction technology. It is effective at reducing the environmental noise, especially in louder environments that may make hearing more difficult or uncomfortable. NoiseBlock can also reduce the very loud and uncomfortable noises in your environment so you can focus on the sounds that are important. NoiseBlock recognizes speech and differentiates it from non-speech sounds so that it can remove the unwanted noise and you can focus on speech.
- Automatic sound adjustment based on environment
The AutoSense OS analyzes the sounds around you every 0.4 seconds and then uses that information to detect the environment you are in. The hearing aid then changes your settings and features to fit that environment.
There is no direct streaming available with the Phonak B Titanium hearing aid. You can find devices that come with receivers that will connect your hearing aid with microphones, televisions, and other audio sources, but the direct streaming you find with other hearing aids are not available. However, because of where they sit and because of the quality and natural listening experience, streaming capabilities can be less important. For instance, they are so small you can use regular headphones and your listening is so natural that you can listen to television without the use of an accessory and hear it well. The lack of streaming is a clear weakness of the Phonak Virto B Titanium, but the quality of the device can hope to overcome this weakness.
You can connect to some Roger mics and most of the Phonak accessories because there is a receiver available with most devices. The Phonak Virto B Titanium cannot connect directly to other electronic devices.
Unique Perks and Features
While the Virto B Titanium is highly advanced in terms of technology, construction, and features, it is lagging behind even today’s most basic hearing aids in terms of Bluetooth technology. The connectivity available in most hearing aids is there because of Bluetooth technology, and the Virto B Titanium is not Bluetooth compatible. That is why it cannot connect to the myPhonak app and why RogerDirect is not available in the titanium model.
The Phonak Virto B Titanium is made from medical grade titanium that is durable and lightweight. It is more durable than any acrylic hearing aid on the market, and because of its strength and durability the outer shell can be made much thinner than any other material out there. Because the shell is so much thinner, Phonak has the room to include more technology within the device while keeping it one of the smallest hearing aids on the market.
The Phonak Virto B was one of the first hearing aids to feature biometric calibration. The Virto B is precisely calibrated to your individual ear anatomy so that your ear can operate more naturally and with better performance. All Virto B hearing aids are customizable for a comfortable fit, but with biometric calibration you use that customization for more than just comfort. Every ear is unique and processes sound in specific and distinct ways. Phonak uses software that extracts 1,600 biometric data points from a scan of your ear impression and uses that to calculate the settings of your Virto B device.
With StereoZoom your hearing aid can focus on the exact voice that you want to hear so that conversations are easier. Most of the time, when conversing with another person, that person is in front of you and that is where your microphones focus.
The personalization and customization of this device is one of its most important features. The Phonak Virto B Titanium is one of the smallest hearing aids on the market, and as such there are some challenges to it. It can be difficult to put in and take out, changins the battery can be challenging, and there is no direct streaming or Bluetooth connectivity available without a receiver. The reason that people like this device is because it is invisible and comfortable to wear. There are some really good technology features as well, but it is the ability to customize this device and place it deep inside your ear canal that sets the Virto B Titanium apart. It sits deeper in your canal than almost any device out there and the titanium fit guide helps you to use the natural shape of your ear canal to get it as deep as possible.
The “Tinnitus Balance Noise Generator” generates a broadband sound for use in tinnitus management therapies. You can either mask the effects of tinnitus or add a sound therapy like “Tinnitus Retraining Therapy” to train your ears to fight against it.
Because of the advanced technology, titanium construction, and discreet profile of the Phonak Virto B Titanium, it is one of the more expensive hearing aids out there. You can expect to pay $5,000 or more for devices in both ears, service from your audiologist, accessories, and anything else that goes into the Virto B Titanium.
- How much does the Phonak Virto B cost?
The cost of the Phonak Virto B is contingent on the technology level, size, fitting needs, office where the device is purchased, and the model that you choose. You can expect to pay at least $3,000 for a pair of Virto B hearing aids, but the higher end models with custom fitting from an audiologist could cost you more than that. When it comes to the Virto B Titanium, the cost is even higher, oftentimes starting at around $5,000 and going up from there.
- What is an invisible hearing aid?
One of the reasons that many people who would benefit from hearing aids do not wear them is because of the stigma that comes when people know that you have hearing aids in your ears. Invisible hearing aids were made to fight against that stigma, and it has been successful. Invisible hearing aids, or IIC devices, sit inside your ear canal, and the smallest of these devices are virtually imperceptible to the rest of the world. There are other benefits to IIC hearing aids as well, but the invisible nature of them is what really sets them apart and what make many people desire this style of hearing aid.
- Who makes a titanium hearing aid?
Phonak produces the titanium line of hearing aids. Titanium is lightweight, very strong and durable, and it allows Phonak to make one of the thinnest shells in the hearing aid world. This extra space allows for more technology and the titanium is both extremely durable and easy to clean. The titanium used in the Phonak Virto B is medical grade titanium that you can find in many other medical products and even in prosthetics.
- Is the Phonak Virto B Titanium rechargeable?
No. The Phonak Virto B Titanium uses replaceable zinc air batteries. The batteries average about 60 hours of use, but that timing depends on the level of hearing loss and the way that each person uses their hearing aid. While many hearing aid wearers are moving to a rechargeable option, the Virto B Titanium is too small to have that option available.
All hearing aids come with certain strengths and weaknesses, and it is up to the hearer to take into account how important the strengths are in comparison to how difficult the weaknesses are to overcome. With the Virto B Titanium, the strengths and weaknesses are very pronounced. The weaknesses like the lack of Bluetooth connectivity and the lack of a rechargeable option will make many customers not even take a serious look at the Virto B Titanium. On the other hand, the uniqueness of the titanium construction, invisible nature of the device, the depth at which it sits in the ear canal, and the naturalness of the listening experience are so desirable that the weaknesses are outweighed no matter how “weak” they seem. If you are looking for a high-quality listening experience that uses the natural size and shape of your ear to aid in sound quality and is virtually invisible to the outside world, then the Virto B Titanium is a good choice. If you are looking for a Bluetooth-enabled device that streams audio and can connect directly to an app, and the size and shape of the hearing aid is less important, then there are better options. The important thing is to take into account what you are looking for in a hearing aid and make your decision based on that.