Price for one - £1695 | Price for a pair - £2795
Released in October 2015. This replaces the previous Dream range.
July 2016 update - The Widex Unique range has now been fully reviewed. Please scroll down to "Widex Unique - reviews by audiologists" for further details.
The Widex Unique 440 is the most expensive hearing aid in Widex's new "Unique" range. From what we have seen of this aid so far we can say that this current range probably improves on the now ageing Dream range in most aspects.
To quote from their brochure "With the WIDEX UNIQUE™ family, we don’t claim to do anything different. We just do it better." This seems like it might have been written by a different person to whoever looked up the definition of unique.
The Unique 440 uses Widex's new U-platform chip which processes sounds across 15 channels. Using "Sound Class Technology" the hearing aid classifies what kind of environment you are currently in out of a choice of nine possible and adjusts itself accordingly to maximise your ability to hear speech sounds clearly. The 440 has the most channels in the range and also has a "High Frequency Boost" feature that isn't available in the lower models to give additional clarity when needed.
Wind noise attenuation
One claim that Widex can make is to have industry leading wind noise reduction. The Unique 440 can attenuate more wind noise than any other hearing aid out there, no matter the direction the wind is coming from, even from directly ahead. Sadly this feature is only available on the top model so the Unique 330 and below do not have this feature, which we feel is a shame.
Background noise reduction
Current technology hearing aids from all manufacturers all have good background noise reduction features as standard these days. One additional feature that these aids have is extra emphasis on reducing softer, low level background noise that may be annoying. The reason they will have added this feature is because of the next part;
Wider dynamic range of hearing
What? Ok what this means is that most hearing aids take the whole range of sounds from quiet to loud and compress them into what hearing you have remaining to provide you with the full range of sounds for you to hear. What the Widex Unique hearing aids are doing is extending that range slightly so that very very quiet sounds (5dB) that aren't picked up by normal hearing aids will now be caught by these hearing aids enabling you to hear the low sounds that most hearing aids ignore.
For communicating with other devices there is the COM-DEX accessory, which is a bluetooth enabled pendant you hang around your neck. This will pair to your phone so that you can stream audio to your hearing aids from your phone, via the COM-DEX. You can also download an app for your smartphone (Apple or Android) which lets you use it to remotely control the hearing aids. Also available are the usual range of extra accessories for TV or audio equipment streaming.
Widex aids have the option to use Zen fractal soundscapes to help to reduce the effects of tinnitus. For tinnitus sufferers these predictable yet non-repetitive sounds are used in combination with counselling and relaxation techniques to achieve tinnitus relief.
Sizes and shapes
There are three sizes of behind the ear model and three in the ear models available. The Passion is the slim, attractive behind the ear receiver-in-canal model and is suitable for most hearing losses. It has no manual controls so can only be adjusted by remote control or app. The Fusion is the larger, more powerful behind the ear model which also features a push button for program changing. The Fashion is the largest of the over the ear models and is mainly for people who want or need a full earmold.
Of the three in the ear models, one is the standard sized in-the-ear, one is the CIC or completely-in-the-canal. The smallest is the CIC-M which is Widex's equivalent of an IIC or invisible-in-the-canal. Being so small, some features had to be cut from this model, mainly anything requiring wireless communication which this aid cannot fit in.
This is what they look like;
Author: David Roberts