This is an intriguing one. Audio Service is the best hearing aid manufacturer you’ve never heard of. They fall into the Sivantos Group, along with Signia, and they also have strong connections with Widex. It’s like they pool from some of the best resources around, by piggybacking all the best aspects of hearing aid technology, and lead the charge in an extremely satisfying new direction of unchartered territory.
Audio Service are a German manufacturer. This makes sense. Just like Volkswagen means People’s Car, Audio Service is exactly what it says it is — done brilliantly. You won’t find much information on them, even on their website.
Every other manufacturer sets about convincing you of their worth, the minute you come across them. Not Audio Service. They are minimalist, to say the least — almost like they don’t need to brag, or never even considered it, really. Just let people find out for themselves, as we’re sure they will eventually (they seem to say).
It’s hard to imagine a class-leading product without the hype these days. There’s a certain nostalgia about that somehow, but it’s also quite refreshing and actually typical of high-end audio hi-fi equipment. We’re convinced that’s what this is.
This is an exclusive brand. You just won’t find them anywhere. They are picky about who gets to represent them and with the support they receive from the aforementioned WDS Group, they don’t need to be sales-driven, leaving them to focus purely on making a perfect product.
And looking at the results, for what this product is, it truly delivers and we can barely fault it. That’s a pretty big statement.
OK, so we’re not quite comparing like for like here, but we don’t need to. This may be an unconventional thing to do, but let’s list everything the Audio Service quiX hearing aids don’t do, and then see if we actually care.
So they don’t come with Bluetooth connectivity, rechargeable batteries, accessories of any kind, dedicated programs, health-monitoring, language translation, environment classification or any other attention-seeking feature.
They just work.
The sole purpose of a hearing aid is to improve speech, quiX do that. They really do that. Hearing aids should enhance music. They do that too. Stunningly. We’ve broken the mould a bit here, because we’ve said a lot about this brand and product without actually saying anything yet. So let’s get on with it.
quiX hearing aids behave and sound like your normal hearing. Or how it used to be. They look like it too — i.e. invisible. They’re just so small and are unlike anything else on the market, or anything that came before them.
They are fully contained in one unit, with nothing outside, or over the ear. No mouldings are required, because unlike their closest equivalent, Invisible-In-Canal (IIC) aids, they literally morph to the shape of your ear, regardless of how the shape may change over time. There’s no better achievable fit than this.
When inserted, the aid is undetectable, even at close range. A protective layer, called a sleeve-dome, is hypoallergenic and interchangeable, which makes it straight-away more hygienic than its IIC counterparts — but it’s also incredibly comfortable and moves with your jaw and ear canal. This is a detail you don’t hear about much, but can be a make-or-break aspect for some.
As you chew or speak, your jaw has an effect on your ear canals, narrowing and widening them. This can have an uncomfortable consequence relating to moulded hearing aids, as the wearer can feel an abnormal pressure inside, which they cannot abide, quiX hearing aids overcome this issue splendidly, by using their inventive flexible sleeve system.
One of the world’s smallest hearing aids, the quiX sits invisibly in the ear for complete discretion. Super-soft and super-comfortable, it fits immediately and without the need for a specially tailored housing. And despite its amazing size, quiX delivers an outstanding hearing experience that’s clinically proven to reduce listening effort.
So let’s talk about the sound. In essence, it’s a bit of a mystery to us, as Audio Service don’t really divulge their secrets and show us what’s happening, or give us much in the way of explanations.
But the best way to describe the wearer-experience is “pure”. Some describe it as fresh, or revitalised hearing. No one ever describes it as artificial, or echoey, or tinny, like many initial hearing aid descriptions. As audiologists, we get the impression that if Bang and Olufsen made hearing aids, they might well sound like a pair of Audio Service quiX.
So this is where we ask: How the heck did they do this?
There is no aid on the planet this small that can transfer sound across to the other ear. And it does so incredibly effectively. It should hardly even be possible. It has audiologists across the world scratching their heads. If you have single-sided hearing loss, this gives you the first truly invisible cros system. Okay, so they may not have invented the Cros technology, but they now lead it. Wearers receive a pseudo-stereo sound, which instantly allows them to hear from the duller side. They could have had this condition for the longest time, but actually get the tools to combat it in the cutest way. We’re impressed.
This is starting to feel like déjà vu, but how did Audio Service fit tinnitus technology into these products? For anyone who has tinnitus, this feature is fantastic, in the hands of the right audiologist. We can reduce tinnitus if we are given the tools to do so. This is especially useful for our younger patients, who really love the idea of a truly invisible way to combat their torturous tinnitus sound.
Also, the quiX are so comfortable, it’s as though the patient is wearing nothing and hearing nothing (tinnitus, that is). Instead, we simply replace their tinnitus with the natural sounds of life around them. Without the naturalistic sound that Audio Service are renowned for, this would not, in fact, be possible.
There’s a caveat here, which is that we have been testing tinnitus for many years now, so you can’t just expect to insert the product and instantly hear no tinnitus. There’s a procedure that must be followed, in line with our methods, that targets the offending sound, and working together, audiologist and patient can reduce it down. This can take a few visits, but it’s worth it.
After significant experience working with Audio Service products, we never need to even consider mentioning features of any kind. This reinforces the reason for the apparent lack of them. We’re still getting used to the refreshing initial patient feedback, from those just fitted with the quiX products. They report pleasure in simply getting their hearing back, much like the experience people commonly have when they come into our clinics for wax removal — a delightful revelation and revitalised hearing.
There’s a catch to all of this, as this is real life, after all. And it’s a big one.
These hearing aids are all but useless in the hands of the wrong practitioner. You really do need to know what you’re doing to switch them on to each particular hearing loss and unleash their true potential. Sometimes it’s like cracking a code, or searching for the holy grail, such are the challenges with certain ear-size restrictions and hearing-loss data. With the correct processes, though, we can crack it.
quiX take longer to fit, from our perspective, and require a higher level of understanding to achieve success. It can be almost forensic, following a trial-and-error process before the stars align and you see on screen what you were striving for. It’s at that point that you unleash the sound and the fun begins. It’s incredibly satisfying to accomplish these challenging goals — for the good of us and the patients.
For the above reasons, you can see just why Audio Service choose the audiologists they are happy to represent their technology, rather than the other way round. If you can find someone to fit these products, you are in for a treat.
Introducing the incredibly discreet Smart Key.
The ideal solution for anyone who wants discreet, convenient control of their hearing aids without the need for a large remote control or smartphone. Reliable and easy to use, the Smart Key is small enough to carry on a key ring yet powerful enough to control all essential features.
Blue for the left ear, red for the right. Helps you put them in the correct ear, first time round.
One click and you’re done.
Click Sleeves simply click on to quiX hearing aids and sit securely in the ear.
Actually, there is one feature worth a mention, which is called Own-Voice Processing. Hearing aid wearers typically hate their own voice when they hear it through hearing aids. Audio Service created a feature to analyse the patient’s voice and then magically turn it down. We don’t know how this works but we love it.
The only drawback we can think to mention is the size 10 batteries. They last about five days before requiring a replacement. This is quick and easy, though, and they beep in your ears to let you know they need a change. So if this doesn’t trouble you too much, get in touch.
As for overall experience, as we’ve eluded to, Audio Service Qix hearing aids sound fantastic.
If you want to hear:
Telephone — put it to your ear.
TV — switch it on.
Conversation at a restaurant — book a table.
At a wedding reception — good luck! But go, and enjoy anyway.
Audio Service have a range of hearing aid styles that work just as beautifully as the quiX, so please do check them out. We just really love the quiX.