Looking for affordable hearing aids is a frustrating experience. You can only guess whether the hearing aids is suitable or not based on the specification and numbers. Recently, I have tried a hearing aid called the Sidekick manufactured by the Sound World Solutions. I would share my using experience as well as the specification to you to make your decision-making easier.
About the Sidekick
- Free Customizer App for Android, iPhone, Mac or PC
- Rechargeable – regular battery replacements are unnecessary
- Bluetooth Connectivity – allowing you to make call directly or stream music
- Directional microphones for better noise reduction in different occasions
- Comfortable fitting
Free Customizer App for personalization
The perception of sound is different from people to people. Some prefer a softer sound while the others prefer clarity sound. In order to make the Sidekick fit every single users’ sound preference, the Customizer App is launched for free. After downloading the free app from iTunes or Google play, you can use the smartphone app to adjust the sound. The treble, the mid ranges, and the bass are the attributes that you can change via the smartphone app’s equalizer. It’s very convenient that you are not required to meet an audiologist of a hearing center regularly to adjust the sound.
What are the advantages of using rechargeable batteries instead of the button cells? First, it is not required for you to buy the button cells. You do not need to consider buying the hearing aid battery of which brand. Also, the replacement of batteries is not easy for those whose finger is not agile and big. Inserting the small and tiny battery into the hearing aid seems difficult to them. When using the Sidekick, you just need to plug in the charger to it. It is similar to charging a smartphone.
In the past, most of the hearing aids do not have this function – the Bluetooth connectivity. The lack of this connectivity makes the using experience of hearing aids inconvenient. When you wanted to make a call, you have to put the phone on top of the microphone of your hearing aid. However, the hearing aid does not give you a clear sound. When you want to listen to the music, you have to use the headband-type headphone instead of the earphone. The headphone cannot “stick” to your head as you put it on top of the hearing aid, not on your ear. When walking, you have to use your hands to hold the headphone.
The Sidekick’s Bluetooth connectivity can prevent you from suffering my previous tragedy. You can make call directly from the Sidekick and stream music to your device from the mobile phone. The Bluetooth can stream all the sound to your hearing aid.
In this function, you are presented with tones to modify your Sidekick to fit your sound preference.
If you think that the personalization is too complicated, you can use the 3 presets modes including “everyday”, “restaurant” and “entertainment”.
Here you have more advanced settings. Besides the volume, you can set the bass, mild and treble ranges respectively.
|Hearing Aid Specs||Digital Audio Processing||Customizable||Free Customizer App|
|l Max Gain: 62dB
l Max Output: 126dB SPL
|l 16 channel compressor
l Feedback cancellation
l 16 channel noise reduction
l Dual microphone directionality
|l 3 built-in amplification presets
l Volume control
l Further customization can be done with the free Customizer app
|l iPhone 4s or later (iOS 6 or later)
l Android 4.x or later
l Windows PC with Bluetooth 2.1 or later adapter
l Mac with OS X 10.6 or later
|Adjustable tube length||Bluetooth compatibility||Voice Prompts||Voice Prompt Languages|
|l 1.4mm of travel||l Bluetooth 4.0, HFP1.6, A2DP 1.3, AVRCP 1.5||l Environment Mode Name (Everyday, Restaurant, Entertainment)
l Volume Up
l Volume Down Connected
l Connection Lost
l Power Off
|Battery type||Battery life||Box Contents|
|l Rechargeable lithium-ion||l up to 18 hours per charge||l Companion Hearing Aid
l Charger kit: AC adapter and micro USB cable
l 3 different sized ear tips: small (attached to Companion), medium, and large
l Ear tip cleaning tool
l Zippered carrying case
My Using Experience
Last week, I tried this product. When I unboxed the package and took out the Sidekick, my first impression to this hearing aid was that it is so big (may due to the Bluetooth component). But, the large size allows you to make decoration on it. You can decorate them with Duck tape. However, I didn’t do that because I wanted to try the smartphone app immediately. After installing the app on my android phone, I tried to customization function. The app is quite stable that you don’t have to worry that it will jump back to the home page. The customization is really good. It gives me a softer sound which makes the hearing experience fine.
Feedback is a common problem for hearing aids. The Sidekick has a good performance un this area. The domes of this hearing aid are well-produced. Usually, when you use the plastics domes, the hearing aid would whistle and scream because the domes cannot cover your whole ear canal. But, this dome is very elastic that would change its share according to your ear canal. So, no feedback is created.
Yesterday, I went to a convention where held 300 peoples. The environment was very noisy that everyone was talking loudly. There is a speaker tried to use the microphone to speak in order to override all the noise. The Sidekick, again, did well on this occasion. I selected the restaurant mode. Then, the device automatically reduces the noise level. Otherwise, I would leave the place as soon as possible because of the terrible noise.
Who is the Sidekick for?
I recommend this device to those have mild to moderate hearing loss and cannot afford the hearing aids offered by the hearing centers. Its amplification and noise reduction level are appropriate to them. Besides, the smartphone app provides you a flexibility on advanced settings. Listening to the music or making a call are no longer a problem to you because of the Sidekick. It streams all the audio sound directly to your hearing aid from your mobile phone. It is truly a useful and helpful device.
How can I buy the Sidekick?