Updated: Sep 14, 2021
I'm a hard of hearing millennial, TV producer, and MBA student who has used hearing aids for 12 years. Here's what I think of ReSound's new rechargeables.
TL;DR: The ReSound LiNX Quattro is a good hearing aid! This is my fifth pair of hearing aids and third consecutive pair of ReSounds. They would normally cost more than $6,000 for the pair and aren't covered by insurance. But I was fortunate to get them at a stunning discount because, according to my audiologist, ReSound could no longer access replacement batteries for its previous model, the LiNX 3D, which I'd been running almost daily since October 2017. I traded those in to ReSound for the LiNX Quattro May 6, 2021. Here are my 4 pros and 4 cons:
no batteries to change
The ReSound LiNX Quattro run on lithium-ion batteries, just like a smartphone, and are completely sealed inside the body of the hearing aid. This means fewer cracks for moisture to seep in and damage those magical micro computers.
Older models and other brands have little doors where you insert a battery. My previous hearing aids, the ReSound LiNX 3D, came with rechargeable batteries that lasted about 12 hours. If I didn’t charge them overnight, I could replace them with a drugstore battery. Those tended to last me around 5 days before I heard the warning beep to change them. This meant keeping batteries in my purse and not letting those slippery little jerks bounce out of my fingers!
These battery annoyances are gone, thanks to the LiNX Quattro!
battery life is as long as advertised (maybe longer?)
ReSound promises 30 hours of battery power at full charge, which they say takes about three hours in the charging case. If you don't have that kind of time, you can get up to 8 hours from a 30-minute charge. You can leave the charging case plugged in all the time, or disconnect it from the wall and take it with you. Without the power cable, the charging case carries about three full charges, according to my audiologist.
I proved all of this is true thanks to a bad power cable that initially came with my ReSound LiNX Quattro setup.
The charging case was all juiced up, but not receiving any additional power through the cord. Not realizing this, I placed my hearing aids on the charger overnight, assuming they would charge as expected. And they did - until the charger itself died - and my hearing aids, awhile later.
Bear with me while I do the math. If my hearing aids were fully charged when I brought them home, and my charging case contained three 30-hour charges, that would mean my hearing aids should have died after 120 hours, or five days. But they lasted six days! This tells me that either a) the charging case carries more than three full charges, or b) my ReSound LiNX Quattros don't exert as much power as they might when programmed for someone with more severe hearing loss than I have. Either way, that is some pretty remarkable battery life!
Thankfully, my audiologist's office was kind enough to loan me their demo charger while I waited for a new one to ship. If they hadn't, I would have had to attend my MBA class with my natural hearing. Let's just say I would not have learned as much that night!
Bluetooth syncs faster
Most (if not all) modern hearing aids are Bluetooth-compatible. That means all your iPhone sound goes right into your head! You can listen and talk hands-free via your hearing aids' speakers and microphones. You can also stream music, podcasts, shows, your GPS, or whatever other sound you stream through your iPhone.
I say iPhone in this context because as of today, many hearing aids can't connect directly to Android. The ReSound LiNX Quattro is an exception. If you're in the market for hearing aids, make sure the brand you choose is compatible with your phone!
Every hearing aid I've run since 2009 has worked with various Bluetooth devices. But after a month of using the LiNX Quattro, I've noticed they connect to my iPhone more quickly than previous models.
This is helpful when I'm in a noisy environment, such as a restaurant, and need to quickly change the ReSound app setting to Noise Filter or Speech Focus. The app connection used to take a solid 6-7 seconds, but now it takes about three seconds.
Meanwhile, it takes less than one second for my hearing aids to connect to a phone call, which helps me dodge awkward misunderstandings where I answer the phone and don't hear immediately.
Environmental sound quality has improved incrementally with each of the five pairs of hearing aids I've experienced, but the ReSound LiNX Quattro offer the best yet. The programming to my unique audiogram is flawless. I can tell they are correcting more frequencies along the high-to-low spectrum (for all you audio nerds: check out the sound quality information ReSound markets to hearing professionals). It truly sounds richer and fuller, as ReSound promises.
When it comes to noisy environments, the digital noise reduction (DNR) seems about the same as my previous hearing aids. The ReSound app's Noise Filter and Speech Focus features help (as mentioned above), but aren't perfect. I look forward to seeing how new technology, including artificial intelligence, might improve DNR.
Meanwhile, I am noticing a change in the way these new hearing aids pick up my own sound! My vocal consonants sound less harsh and my breathing is less noticeable. I partially attribute this to my 12 years of experience wearing older models and other brands, so I'm used to hearing myself amplified. Still, it seems like ReSound has done something to take emphasis away from the wearer's own voice.
disappointing Bluetooth range
Long story short, my iPhone has to be at waist level or higher for the ReSound LiNX Quattro to stream properly. It gets crackly, distorted, and cuts out of one or both ears anytime I hold my phone straight down to my side or lower, including in a side pocket or purse. I'm only 5'1" so I could see this being problematic for someone taller.
This is an issue for me when I want to do YouTube yoga with my phone on the floor (a first-world problem, indeed!)
button-press volume change is delayed
Like every hearing aid I've run before, I can turn the pair up or down by pushing the button on one ear or the other. I use it as a discreet "emergency" volume increase mid-conversation if I'm having trouble hearing. The alternative would be to open the ReSound app and change the volume via Bluetooth.
Unlike every hearing aid I've run before, the ReSound LiNX Quattro makes me wait two full seconds between the button press and the volume change taking effect. They actually go dead for one full second before beeping and then changing. It can feel like the longest two seconds ever if I need a boost while actively listening! With my older hearing aids, the volume change happened instantly. I hope ReSound has a bug fix for this at my next hearing aid tune-up appointment with my audiologist.
bad treble-bass balance in-stream
Like all my previous hearing aids, anything I stream sounds very, very treble-y and you can't adjust the balance. This doesn't bother me when I'm on calls or streaming shows or podcasts, but it makes all my beloved face-melting rock and roll sound shallow and glassy.
This is not the case with live music or music played through external speakers. In fact, the ReSound app has a live music setting that optimizes your hearing aids for concerts. This setting lets you select "bass boost" or "treble boost," but it only works with music in the environment, not streaming from a device. I rarely use this music setting because I still have enough hearing intact to take in amplified music, and opt for earplugs when I do so. Check Hearing Habits soon for a review of my very favorite earplugs of all time!
you can't change the batteries
As you might have read in the pros, I think the lithium-ion batteries are a big improvement. But it makes me nervous that the charging case is the only way to charge the ReSound LiNX Quattro! If I forget the case when I go out of town, I can't buy a new one from a store or any audiologist's office. They have to special-order the case from ReSound. And I can't stop at the nearest Walgreens for a pack of batteries like I could with every pair of hearing aids before these.
This issue makes me feel like investing in a backup amplifying device. There are many consumer options, including the Apple AirPods Pro, which now work as hearing aids in iOS14! Check Hearing Habits next year for my review of the rumored AirPods Pro 2 (once I save up to buy a pair!)
I'm really excited and grateful to have access to the ReSound LiNX Quattro - easily the best hearing aid I've run since 2009! While the bells and whistles need some fine tuning, the bread-and-butter features you expect from top-of-the-line hearing aids are excellent.
Do you have questions or comments about my experience with the ReSound LiNX Quattro? Login with Google or Facebook, or create a Hearing Habits account, to leave a comment below. Or email Hearing Habits Founder Erica Jansen at email@example.com
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