Dr. Cliff Olson, Audiologist and Founder of Applied Hearing Solutions in Anthem AZ, reviews the Starkey Muse IQ-R Rechargeable Hearing Aids.
My Clinic Website: http://www.AppliedHearingAZ.com
In February 2018, Starkey announced the release of their Muse IQ-R lithium rechargeable hearing aids. They have had rechargeable options for a while, utilizing the ZPower technology, but this is their first foray into Lithium. The Muse IQ-R hearing aids have some really impressive features.
Pro #1. They obviously have Lithium batteries – Lithium batteries charge fast and give you all day battery life. A 3.5 hour charge will give you 30 hours of battery life even while wireless streaming.
Pro #2. The Charger Case – The charger has two great features. First, it has a space for a dessicant so you can dehydrate your hearing aids while they charge. Second, it can act as a travel charger. It holds 3 complete charges without plugging it into the wall.
Pro #3. The hearing aids turn on upon removal from the charger case. One of the best features of rechargeable aids is that you don’t need to fuss with batteries or turning on the hearing aids.
Pro #4. It has a Telecoil. Telecoils are a terrific way to hear better in facilities with a Tele-loop. Movie theaters, churches, and other public venues are often looped which make Telecoils extremely valuable.
Not everything about the Muse IQ-Rs is terrific.
Con #1 – You can’t interchange disposable batteries. While I do love Lithium technology. The best part about the ZPower Starkey devices is that if you do accidentally run out of battery, you can use a disposable battery instead. You cant do this with the lithium Starkey hearing aids.
Con #2 – I’m not a fan of the CROS rechargeable device. While it is nice that there is a Rechargeable CROS/BiCROS option, I’m not a huge fan of the Starkey CROS technology. There are other rechargeable CROS devices from companies who have been around longer and do a better job in my opinion.
Con #3. No direct Bluetooth compatibility with a Smartphone. It’s easy to get long battery life if you never stream direct from a smartphone. I really wanted to see Starkey make their Halo hearing aids rechargeable. Unfortunately, the 900 mHz signal used in the Muse and the Bluetooth Low Energy used in the Halo remain mutually exclusive.
What makes the Muse IQ devices so special? Basically the new feature called Acuity Immersion. AI is designed to restore natural directionality of your ear and give you a more natural listening experience. Starkey has a white paper discussing the benefits of the Muse IQ Acuity Immersion technology that can be found here: https://starkeypro.com/pdfs/technical-papers/Development_and_Implementation_of_Acuity_Immersion_Directionality.pdf
Overall, it is important that you understand that the hearing aid is only good if you program it correctly. This requires the use of Real Ear Measures. REMs are the only way to ensure that your hearing aids are programmed to your hearing loss prescription. Want to learn more? Watch my Real Ear Measurement Video here: https://youtu.be/cHR0Oa6I-wY