Phonak Belong B90 Audeo / Virto / Bolero Hearing Aids | Phonak Hearing aid Review

 What is B-Direct?

The same as the regular Phonak Belong Audeo B90 only with additional wireless streaming capabilities. This is the first “made for any smartphone” hearing aid that can do fully wireless streaming without an extra device. It works with any smartphone that has Bluetooth. In addition, they have a new improved TV streamer box to go along with it.

The Phonak Audeo Belong 90 or B90 is the top of the range launched in September 2016. It supersedes the older January 2015 model, the Venture 90 or V90.  So far the Belong aids are only available in the receiver in canal shape, the Audeo. The BTE, ITE and CIC versions will be called the Bolero B90, Virto B90 and Nano B90 respectively and we will let you know here as soon as they become available.

The Phonak Belong has a number of new features described below and there is a chart at the bottom of the page so that you can compare features between the different models of the aid, the B90, B70, B50 and B30. If there’s anything you don’t understand then give us a call, we’re not a call centre and almost always have an audiologist answering the phone.

They called it the “Phonak Belong platform” because, to quote Phonak “As the name suggests, we want clients to have hearing aids that allow them to feel at one with their environment, regardless of where they are.” They are talking here about their improved automatic functionality (called AutoSense OS) which is better able to smoothly adapt to your surroundings.

We would have preferred it if their marketing department had thought through the similarity in the names.  This conversation has been happening frequently since this aid came out, an unforeseen complication I think, though not quite as bad as the Siemens Binax/Primax confusion.  Some common scenarios:

“Can you tell me about the Phonak V90”

“Did you say B90 or V90?”


Rechargeable version - The Audeo B90-R

Phonak Audéo B90-R is the first aid to contain a built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery, though not for long as other manufacturers are hot on their heels with similar recharging systems coming out later in 2016. This aid has 24 hours worth of hearing from one full charge.

The lithium-ion battery provides 40% more power than previous generations of aids which is finally enough to make them useful. They will now last right through the day rather than only part of the day like rechargeable aids from the past have done. Additionally, they are faster charging and lithium-ion batteries last longer and won’t degrade even after years of charge cycles. About four years until the battery will start to underperform is what has been predicted. Three hours charge will get you 24 hours of wear. 30 minutes charging will get you about 6 hours of wear time.

Improved automatic program - Auto sense OS

Understanding in noise

60% better speech understanding. They zoom in on single voices in a noisy environment – 60% improvement is compared to without hearing aids.

Hearing in car

37% reduction in listening effort in cars – compared to previous technology.

Hear quiet voices

10% improvement in understanding of soft speech with the Audeo B90.

How it works

It analyses sounds every 0.4 seconds and then blends the various pre-programmed settings to create over 200 variations of how the aids can sound, depending on exactly what type of environment you’re in. All done automatically, without manual adjustments being made.

Two ears are better than one – Binaural VoiceStream Technology

The noisier it is, the greater the challenge. AutoSense OS utilises “Binaural VoiceStream Technology” It streams all incoming sounds in real-time to both hearing aids, thereby tackling tricky listening situations by simulating what your brain does with sounds from both ears. This linking of the hearing aids brings you the benefit of hearing speech in both ears, especially in a noisier environment.