Hearing aids are designed to improve the aural “world” around a person. But for a hearing aid to be truly useful it needs to do three things. The first thing it must do is become a part of the person’s life, similar in the manner in which eyeglasses are worn and ignored by those wearing them nearly constantly. The second thing is that the hearing aid must be able to be modified “on the fly” to accommodate different listening circumstances that can occur. And the third thing is that the end result must be a better listening experience for the user. The MDHearingAid Volt does all three and justifies its $549.99 retail price.
Preparing the VOLT for use requires a few steps, none of which are onerous, especially as it comes with full documentation and is fully assembled.The earpiece is stored in a small semi-rigid pouch as if it were a pair of earbuds and must first be charged via a USB input using an included wall charger. Once powered, the VOLT can be turned on and then affixed behind the ear (right or left depending on which model is purchased). An anatomically designed ear tip then makes contact with the inside of the ear. The design adds a stabilizer bar and so makes for a better and more comfortable fit for the person — sensible since it will most likely be in use for hours at a time. The design is also such so that the dual directional microphones that are picking up the sounds have a more direct path towards directing that sound to the person. The microphones also possess embedded noise cancelling technology to bat away extraneous surface noise. This works in concert with digital compression technology to tamp down sudden sounds and also moderate soft/loud so as to create an even level of audio that’s being supplied to the listener.
Also sensible is the rechargeable battery’s working life, which is to function up to 18-22 hours per charge. That’s better than many smart watches and obviously provides a much more important service to the user.
The VOLT modifies how it receives sound through a series of controls on its body; these can be activated while the unit is in use and includes 4 distinct programs that range from being focused on use in a home or being in a group/crowd of people, to watching a television or engaging in a one-on-one discussion. Beeps accompany changing between programs and the user will be able to discover just which program works the most effectively in a given situation through trial and error (i.e., “real world”). Simple volume adjustments are made through an easily accessible dial on the unit’s body.
A hearing aid must function in varied environments and deal with situations both expected and unexpected. The MDHearingAid VOLT makes a concentrated effort to provide an even listening experience to the user through a combination of technologies that modulate, modify and moderate the sound, along with the ability to adjust the manner in which audio is processed and “heard. And all the while maintaining itself unobtrusively to the world at large.