Bernafon is a Swiss hearing aid manufacturer founded in 1946. They are highly committed to producing outstanding hearing aids. Bernafon became the sister company of Oticon after being bought by William and Demant. Bernafon has representatives in over 70 countries. Because they are owned by the same company they share the same hardware but differ in their features and sound processing strategies.
Bernafon Sound Strategy
Bernafon uses a unique system called DECS™ at its core to adapt readily to changing acoustic environment to deliver optimal amplification.
Continuous Environment Detection
It is as it sounds, the system analyzes the sound environment continuously, Bernafon says it does so with high-speed and precision.
Dynamic Speech Processing™ (DSP™)
Accurately amplifies the speech signal based on level and the dynamic environment information received from DAC™. The system strives to ensure the speech signal is kept clear.
Dynamic Noise Management™ (DNM™)
Effectively removes noise without adversely affecting speech. The system continuously strives to reduce noise while preserving the speech signal.
Dynamic Amplification Control™ (DAC™)
This feature continuously measures the speech to noise ratio’s and directs the information to Dynamic Speech Processing™. So the system continuously analyses the speech in noise signal and passes that information onto the speech processor.
Bernafon Alpha Hearing Aids
The latest generation of hearing aids released in 2021 by Bernafon are called the Alpha. They feature the same latest chip platform as Oticon More delivering super-fast sound detection and processing. This provides users with precise information about their environment in real-time.
Four Hybrid Technologies
Bernafon explains that their Alpha hearing aids are the first devices to use hybrid technology to offer outstanding performance. The four hybrid categories are:
- Hybrid Balancing
- Personalised and balanced speech audibility and listening comfort.
- Independent attenuation customisation for speech in noise and solely noise situations.
- Hybrid Noise Management
- Smart Directionality and Smart Noise Reduction to reduce noise in 24 bands.
- Optimised Smart Noise Reduction algorithm.
- Hybrid Sound Processing
- Parallel sound processing in the time and frequency domains.
- Phonemic broadband compression in real-time is combined with high precision compression in 24 frequency bands
- Hybrid Feedback Canceller
- Combines phase cancellation and spectral-temporal modulation to get rid of feedback within milliseconds.
- Increased fitting range and a more beneficial target match due to higher feedback threshold.
Bernafon Alpha Rechargeable Hearing Aids
The Alpha range have only been released as a rechargeable hearing aids in a receiver in the canal style (RIC) this stage.
Alpha’s super-fast and powerful chip includes smart dual-radio wireless technology with 2.4 GHz direct-to-hearing-aid and NFMI ear-to-ear technology. Clients can enjoy direct-to-ear streaming without the need for an intermediate device when using an iPhone, some Android devices and can enjoy seamless communication between the two hearing instruments.
Made for Android Hearing Aids & Made for iPhone Hearing Aids
The Alpha range can pair and stream audio from both select Android and Apple iOS smart phones and devices.
Mobile Phone Compatibility
Alpha hearing aids are compatible with Apple devices running iOS 13 or later. Direct audio streaming for Android devices requires Android 10 or later, Bluetooth 5.0 and implementation of Audio Streaming for Hearing Aids (ASHA) on the Android device.
Three Levels of Technology
Alpha hearing aids have been released in three technology levels, the Bernafon Alpha 9, Bernafon Alpha 7 and the Bernafon Alpha 5.
Alpha Rechargeable Hearing Aid
So far Apha has only been released as a rechargeable hearing aid. The excellent Lithium ion battery designed by Demant provides close to 24 hours of wear time after 3 hours charging.
Ultra-fast Chip platform with Adaptive Sound Processing
According to Bernafon the new chipset can detect the sound environment with
32,000 data points a second and adjust the amplification 20,000 times a second. They avoid using a sound classification system like other brands to maximise the speed at which their hearing aids can adapt to a changing acoustic environment and provide a natural and balanced sound quality.
Dynamic Feedback Canceller
A new feedback system analyses the input signal up to 126,000 times per second which enables it to recognise and eliminate feedback within milliseconds. It makes feedback issues a thing of the past.
The benefits include:
- Allowing more open fittings, therefore less occlusion effect without risk of feedback.
- Ability to fit more severe hearing losses by being able to use the full amplification of the hearing aid.
- Minimal risk of feedback with provocative movement around the ears such as hugging or the removal of glasses or hats that alter the signal path.