Price for one - £1695 | Price for a pair - £2895
Bernafon Zerena 9
The latest release from Bernafon is the Zerena range of hearing aids. The range includes the premium Bernafon Zerena 9, which we will discuss below, the Bernafon Zerena 7, which is it's mid-level option, and the Bernafon Zerena 5, which is the entry level model in this range.
With the Zerena range Bernafon have developed what they have termed their Dynamic Environment Control System™ or DECS™. The main aim of this system is for your hearing aid to make seamless adjustments based on a continual assessment of the listening environment, rather than classifying sounds profiles into separate categories and using pre-set profiles for each of these, as is the case with many other hearing aids models. The aim is for the user to experience a seamlessly adaptive listening experience.
Who Is The Bernafon Zerena 9 For?
With the Zerena range, Bernafon have developed a hearing aid that is designed for people who have an active lifestyle and who encounter a range of rapidly changing sonic landscapes. In the space of a day they may meet friends for lunch, spend a quiet hour working, listen to music, go for a walk next to a noisy road or on a windy beach, watch TV, talk on the phone and encounter any number of other listening environments.
Through the development of the DECS™ technology the Zerena 9 can automatically adjust to each of the situations that you find yourself in during the day and also quickly and smoothly react to any unexpected changes. It removes the need for making manual changes and so leaves the user free to simply get on with their life.
Bernafon Zerena 9 Technological Features
The Zerena 9 is packed full of technological features, which makes it what we believe to be one of the best hearing aids that Bernafon have produced to date. As mentioned above, the main technological breakthrough with the Zerena 9 is the development of the Dynamic Environment Control System™ or DECS™, which actually encompasses a suite of new technologies. The power of the DECS™ is that it runs on a newly developed extremely powerful processing chip which enables the DECS™ to make rapid, proactive and almost constant adjustments in response to your current situation.
The Zerena 9 features the Gold level of DECS™ technology. The four main features that make up the DECS™ are:
Continuous Environment Detection - this constantly analyses the environment, possessing the processing power to provide continual updates.
Dynamic Noise Management™ - DNM™ effectively detects and removes background noise, without affecting the amplification of speech. Dynamic Directionality detection works hand-in-hand with Dynamic Noise Reduction, each system either working independently, or in combination as the current environment dictates to achieve the optimum speech to noise ratio. In the Zerena 9 there are 2 Dynamic Directionality settings available and 4 Dynamic Noise Reduction settings.
Dynamic Amplification Control™ - DAC™ continually measures speech to noise ratios and passes this information onto the Dynamic Speech Processing™ feature. This allows the DSP™ to amplify only speech when there are levels of background noise (and not the noise in moments of speech pauses) and also avoids the mistaken amplification of environmental sounds when in quiet situations. In the Zerena 9 there are 6 settings for dealing with Speech in Noise and 4 different settings to provide Comfort in Noise.
Dynamic Speech Processing™ - DSP™ receives information from the DAC™ and adjusts the signal and amplification levels accordingly. It is made up of two further features; ChannelFree and Speech Cue Priority. ChannelFree technology doesn’t analyse sounds based on different frequency channels, but analysys sounds 20,000 times a second and amplifies each phoneme (individual sounds that make up words) of speech individually. Speech Cue Priority allows your hearing aid to be set to respond to how you hear individual speech cues. Depending on your type of hearing loss, Speech Cue Priority can either emphasise each phoneme equally, or can amplify soft sounds more and hard sounds less.
By combining these 4 technologies, the DECS™, as featured in the Zerena 9, removes the need for hearing aids to have numerous different environment classifications and their corresponding settings, or for users to make manual changes. One of the major differences between the DECS™ and traditional systems is that often traditional systems are responding to past environmental information, not to the high level of currently and constantly adapted information as supplied to the DECS™. This provides a more dynamic, seamless and natural listening experience.
The Zerena 9 also features a number of other features, which work alongside the DECS™ to provide a very high level of listening experience.
Dynamic Range Extender - this feature is expressly designed for when you are in loud environments but still want to be able to hear those high volume noises clearly. In some cases loud noise can become distorted or ‘clipped’ when experienced via a hearing aid, however the Zerean 9 has a range of up to 113dB so even loud noises can be heard clearly. There is also a specific Live Music Program to ensure that you even get a great listening experience in gigs and concerts.
Adaptive Feedback Canceller - this technology has been developed to detect feedback signals and mute the sound before it even becomes audible. Feedback can occur from numerous different actions, such as answering the phone, giving someone a hug or even just wearing a hat. The Adaptive Feedback Canceller is able to detect the feedback path in any situation and thus cancel it’s sound production.
Tinnitus SoundSupport - Many hearing aid users suffer from tinnitus, the Zerena 9 encompasses a number of different options to help combat this. Each option can then be further adjusted to help to distract the brain away from the detection of tinnitus noises. These include:
Ocean Sounds - which are relaxing whilst covering a broad sound spectrum.
Shaped To Audiogram Sounds - this is a great starting point for your tinnitus therapy which are based on your audiometric thresholds.
Broadband Sounds - these can be flat white noise or can reduce the high frequencies of the tinnitus sounds by either -3dB or -6dB.
Modulation Sounds - these vary in amplification over time and can be applied to any of the Broadband Sounds to provide an even more personalised tinnitus therapy.
Each of these sounds are also subject to Automatic Level Steering, which will reduce their volume if the levels of outside noise are high enough to compensate and thus avoid levels becoming too high. Sound levels can also be adjusted manually as you prefer.
Frequency Compositionnxt - This is the next generation of Bernafon’s Frequency Composition technology. With most types of hearing loss there are some areas of the cochlear that are irrevocably damaged and thus hearing can not be amplified, especially for high frequency sounds. This feature takes sounds at these ‘dead’ frequencies and transposes them to lower frequencies which can then be successfully amplified. This new generation technology allows sounds to be taken from 10 separate frequency bands and superimposes them into an equally narrow destination range to avoid confusion with other sounds that can be naturally heard in this region.
The Zerena 9 also includes a number of other features that work alongside those mentioned above to ensure that you life is simple and your hearing is great:
2.4 GHZ Wireless Technology - means that your hearing aids can be connected to other listening related devices without any intermediary apparatus.
Adaptation Manager - helps you to get used to your new hearing aids slowly by automatically adjusting the gain based on your preferences.
Binaural Noise Manager - the noise reduction technology can be applied to each ear separately as is required. For example speech could be amplified in one ear whilst noise is cancelled out in the other.
Low Frequency Enhancer - in some cases low frequencies as transmitted from mobile phones or TV streamers can be difficult to hear, however this feature enhances these so that you can hear the whole picture.
Transition Level - this tool allows your hearing aid to be tailored to your preferences, particularly in regards to how quickly directionality and/or noise reduction technologies are applied to the signal that you recieve. In the Zerena 9 there are 3 settings which can mean that noise is either reduced very quickly, at a medium level or left so that you can hear all of the sounds around you until the speech to noise ratio becomes too high.
Near Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) - this allows for fast and seamless communication between your hearing aids without draining your battery power.
Transient Noise Reduction - unexpected loud noises are managed with this feature, which identifies them as background noise, rather than desired sounds and immediately suppresses them. In the Zerena 9 there are 4 different options to manage this.
True Directionality - this feature replicates the way high and low frequency sounds are detect by the ear naturally, allowing you to both sense where sounds are coming from but also to still remain connected to the environmental sounds around you.
Wind Noise Manager - identifies and mutes the sound of wind noise so that you can still enjoy a conversation outside on a windy day.
10 kHz Frequency Bandwidth - this wide bandwidth means that the Zerena 9 can detect and reproduce a higher level of sounds, including those in both the highest and lowest frequencies that many other hearing aids would simply miss out. This provides a much more natural sound and means that you won’t miss a thing.
16 Fitting Bands - this allows sound to be detected by up to 16 channels at once. The DECS™ then prioritises certain sounds so that you always hear what you need to, not annoying background noise.
Bernafon Zerena 9 Accessories
There are a number of additional accessories that can purchased to work in alongside your Zerena 9. These include:
EasyControl-A - this smartphone app allows you to control your hearing aids discreetly and easily. Manage processes such as adjusting volume, changing program, muting your hearing aids, viewing battery level etc from the comfort of your pocket! It also features the handy ‘Find My Hearing Aid’ function and allows you to access and stream internet-connected devices and services.
RC-A - this remote control device performs most of the same control functions as the EasyControl-A app, however is perfect for anyone who would prefer not to use a smartphone.
TV-A - this connects to your TV and allows the sound to be streamed directly to your hearing aids for an optimal hearing experience.
Bernafon Zerena 9 Styles
The Zerena 9 is available in 3 different styles; the miniRITE, which we could call an classic Open/RIC design, the miniRITE T, which is essentially the same as the miniRITE but with on aid volume and telecoil push buttons, and the BTE 105 which is a standard BTE design featuring push buttons controls.
Each of the styles are:
Available in a range of colours
Have a hydrophobic coating to repel liquid
IP68 rated against the ingress of dust and water
Feature the Bernafon S-shape design for high wearing comfort
Available with the miniFIT system which includes a range of dome and tube options for ultimate wearing comfort
To find out more about the Bernafon Zerena 9 or any other hearing aid, contact one of our friendly audiologists today. We can discuss all of your hearing requirements and which options might work for you and then set you up with a fast and free hearing test to get the ball rolling.
Author: David Roberts