Phonak is an uncontested innovator in hearing health. The Zürich-based giant isn't the showiest company in the hearing health space, but their wide-ranging products and technology are worn in more ears every day than any other brand. Founded in 1947, Phonak just topped 75 years in business.
If you are considering the latest Phonak hearing aids or just brushing up on your Swiss history, this article is for you. We'll dig into frequently asked questions about Phonak and spend some time in the weeds with Phonak's latest range of products.
Let's get into it.
Before we wax poetic about Phonak's background noise handling (which is impressive), we should probably tell you who we are. Soundly is an independent consumer education site focused on hearing aid audio products.
Our team of audiologists and hearing aid wearers tests dozens of hearing aids each month to share our research with you. You can read more about us and our review process here.
Quick Phonak Facts
- Phonak is the leader among the six top hearing health brands.
- Phonak is owned by its Swiss holding company, Sonova (the owner of Unitron, Advanced Bionics, and Sennheiser).
- Phonak offers a wide range of hearing aids, from truly invisible to receiver-in-canal and high-powered BTE (more on the latest styles in a minute).
AG für Elektroakustik (later renamed Phonak) launched in 1947 and, after three years of R&D, released the first portable hearing aids, Phonak Alpina. In 1965, businessman Ernst Rihs acquired the company's majority shares and renamed it Phonak AG.
The company steadily grew and innovated through the 70s and 80s.
In 1992, Phonak launched the PICS, the first-ever digital programmable hearing system with an analog signal processor.
In 2007 Phonak's parent company changed its name to Sonova but kept the original Phonak name for its flagship brand.
In 2010 Phonak purchased Lyric, a fully invisible hearing aid meant for 24/7 wear.
Over the last 10 years, Phonak has released a steady line of hearing aids with progressively more advanced technology. Phonak Lumity is the company's current flagship.
The Last 10 Years Of Products
2022: Phonak Audéo Lumity, Phonak Virto Paradise
2021: Phonak Naída Paradise
2020: Phonak Audéo Paradise, Phonak Naída M, Phonak Virto M, Phonak Brio 4
2019: Phonak Bolero M
2018: Phonak Audéo Marvel, Phonak Naída B
2017: Phonak Bolero B, Phonak Virto B
2016: Phonak Audéo B
2015: Phonak Bolero V
2014: Phonak Lyric 4, Phonak Lyric 3, Phonak Audéo V
2013: Phonak Naída Q
Phonak's top products today.
Today Phonak's flagship product is Phonak Lumity which the vast majority of consumers choose. The brand also manufactures custom-in-the-ear products under their Phonak Virto line and higher-powered products for severe and profound hearing loss under the Phonak Naída Paradise line.
Phonak also makes a CROS device for single-sided hearing loss and a pediatrics line under the name Phonak Sky.
If you aren't sure what to make of all these names, here's a way to think about it.
- Around 70%-80% of consumers choose Lumity,
- Approximately 10% choose Virto.
- The remaining 10%-20% select Naída, Lyric, or an older model.
Let's take a closer look at the existing Phonak product range.
Apps and Accessories
Phonak has a few smartphone apps that control Phonak hearing aids and unlock special features like sound quality adjustments, fitness tracking, and more.
Our lead audiologist recently did a deep dive into the myPhonak app here.
Phonak offers a robust (although sometimes pricey) line of accessories. I recently tried out the Roger ON external microphone with some fantastic results. Phonak's accessories include:
A versatile external microphone that can plug into your TV or computer, clip onto a partner or teacher's shirt or sit in the middle of a table. Roger ON streams cleaned-up audio directly to your Phonak hearing aids.
Phonak's TV Connector does what you might imagine. Plug the device into your TV and stream audio directly to your hearing aids.
A simple, handheld remote made to easily control your Phonak hearing aids without reaching for your hearing aid buttons or opening an app.
A small, easy-to-use microphone that attaches to your partner's lapel to improve hearing during one-on-one conversations. This one is incredible in restaurants, sightseeing, or in the car.
How Phonak stacks up against other leaders.
Phonak is the leader among hearing health perennials for a reason. The brand has a broader range of form factors than any other brand and a robust underlying technology base. Phonak's flagship product, Phonak Lumity, has the most versatile Bluetooth connection among hearing aids in 2023, and Phonak does a great job managing background noise.
Phonak notes from our lead audiologist.
Thus far, most of this guide has focused on Phonak from the wearer's point of view, but each brand has its software for programming and adjustment. We asked our lead audiologist, Dr. Amy Sarow, for her thoughts on the "back end" of the Phonak experience. These were some of her thoughts:
Phonak's backend software enables me to make fine-tuned adjustments within hearing aid programs, customizing the device to the sound preferences of individual patients. If you're a golf enthusiast, for instance, we can augment the WindBlock feature of your hearing aid. This adjustment allows you to focus more on your game, reducing the distracting noise of the wind. Additionally, for patients who suffer from persistent tinnitus, I can develop specialized tinnitus programs. These programs are designed to help manage the irritating sounds produced by tinnitus, making it less bothersome during your day-to-day activities.
Phonak's meticulous attention to detail extends to the quality of their custom-made earpieces. Phonak's earmold lab is capable of creating earpieces that fit even the most challenging ear canal geometries. I
've worked with patients with extremely narrow ear canals, often a tricky proposition when it comes to fitting hearing aids. In these instances, Phonak's expertise in creating custom earpieces has proven invaluable.
I can attest to their skill at crafting earpieces that not only fit great but also deliver superb sound quality, even for those with challenging anatomy.
One of my personal favorite features of Phonak hearing aids is the remote care options that are available. Through the myPhonak app, I am able to remotely adjust my patients' hearing aids and provide them with support from anywhere.
This means that patients don't have to come to the office for every adjustment, which is especially helpful for those with mobility constraints or who live in remote areas.
Whether you've worn Phonak in the past or you are just exploring your options, it's safe to say the brand is worthy of your shortlist.
The one major drawback is that Lumity hearing aids have a big price tag ($3,000-$6,500 for a pair). Telehealth leaders like Jabra Enhance Select and Audicus offer a lot of value for significantly less.
Even so, if you are searching for the best option on the market, Phonak is worthy of your shortlist.
You can use our care finder to get up-to-date pricing for your zip code here.
I hope you've found this review helpful. If you have questions or comments, shoot us a note at email@example.com.
Frequently asked questions
Founded in 1947, Phonak has a long history of providing high-quality hearing aids and accessories to individuals with hearing loss. They are known for their advanced technology and commitment to improving the lives of those with hearing impairments. Phonak is owned by a parent company in Switzerland, called Sonova. Under Sonova's ownership, Phonak continues to be a leading provider of innovative hearing care solutions. Among Sonova's product portfolio includes hearing aids, cochlear implants, and personal audio equipment and headphones. Some companies under the Sonova umbrella include Unitron, Sennheiser, Audicus, and Advanced Bionics.
Phonak boasts some of the most popular hearing technology on the market today, with an estimated 24% of the global hearing aid market. Their hearing aids offer technology for individuals with mild to profound hearing loss, and their products are known for being durable and long-lasting. In addition to their commitment to providing high-quality hearing aids, Phonak also offers assistive listening devices for additional support in background noise with their Roger technology. Overall, Phonak is a reputable and well-respected company in the hearing industry.
No, Phonak is not an American company. It was founded in Switzerland and is currently owned by a Swiss parent company, Sonova. However, Phonak has a strong presence globally and their products are available in many countries around the world. So while it may not be an American company, it has a global reach and available widely throughout North America.
Phonak was founded by a group of Swiss entrepreneurs in 1947. It was later acquired by Sonova, a leading Swiss company in the hearing industry. Phonak continues to operate under the ownership of Sonova, who also owns several other notable companies in the field of hearing care and technology.
Phonak's success can be attributed to several factors. They have a long history and strong reputation in the hearing industry, offering high-quality and innovative products. Their commitment to improving the lives of those with hearing loss is evident through their advanced technology and assistive listening devices. Additionally, being part of Sonova's portfolio allows Phonak access to resources and collaborations that contribute to its success. Overall, Phonak's success can be attributed to its dedication to providing top-notch hearing care solutions, field research, and constantly striving for advancements in the field.
The innovative ActiveVent feature is a great option for patients who wear open domes but want some additional support in noise. Designed with open-dome hearing aid users in mind, ActiveVent is a "smart" feature that detects your environment and reacts with either an open or closed setting. This neat trick lets your devices zero in on speech with laser focus, turning a cacophony into clarity by closing the vent and focusing in on speech. And for those moments when you transition to audio streaming, ActiveVent ensures your streamed sounds are rich and full by closing the vent and bringing out bass sounds. This is where Phonak's prowess truly shines—combining form, function, and a touch of acoustic wizardry.