I began fitting first-generation ReSound hearing aids in the early 1990s and still remember the look on my patients’ faces when they heard me talking from down the hall for the first time in decades.
For some context, ReSound is an interesting story of innovation and growth. In 1973, famed American inventor Edgar Vilchur conceived of a multi-channel compression amplifier for hearing aids which he published to the public domain.1
In the late 1980s, a group of physicians in Redwood City, CA developed a hearing aid based on Vilchur’s work and began selling it as ReSound. This was one of the first “game changers” in hearing aids since the invention of the transistor in 1947. In 1999, ReSound was purchased by the Great Nordic group and became GNReSound, fueling growth for the company into global markets.2
Today’s ReSound hearing aids come in a wide variety of domes, including its “Tulip” dome, that in my experience fits most ears comfortably and is one of the reasons they are a “go-to” brand in my clinical practice. As you’ll see below, ReSound has a number of different accessories that connect to their hearing aids and was the first to introduce an iPhone app. For this year’s review, I’ll go through all of these options and why I tend to recommend the company when patients are interested in smartphone compatibility or a remote microphone.
Before getting into ReSound’s product line, a little about their technology: In addition to the early use of multichannel compression, ReSound was also the first hearing aid to use the 2.4GHz wireless platform. This tech provides a longer range, and lower power consumption than traditional Bluetooth. It is also the foundation of “made for iPhone” Bluetooth LE (low energy. ReSound offers this in all technology levels and nearly all form factors. This capability not only allows ReSound hearing aids to connect to smartphones and accessories but also for the hearing aids to share information. This “ear to ear” communication synchronizes volume and program changes as well as optimizing directional microphone settings. In the real world, this reduces listening effort in the presence of background noise.
ReSound’s tiers are labeled as 9 (premium) 7 (mid-range) and 5 (entry-level). All of the devices described below are available in mini RIC, RIC, In The ear (from full shell to CIC), and ReSound’s unique Mic-in-Helix design.
In the Mic-in-Helix aid, the main part of this hearing aid hides in your ear canal. The hearing aid microphone is worn within the curved groove of your ear, where it is still out of sight. A small transparent tube sends sound from the microphone to the component in your ear canal. This product, unique to ReSound, and shared with sister company Beltone, places the microphone in the helix of the outer ear. This position has been shown to improve speech understanding in background noise. Resound and Beltone are the only ones to offer this in hearing aids, but this “semi-remote” microphone technology is also found in Advanced Bionics cochlear implant speech processors (called the T-Mic) and works well to give directional microphone benefit in a small space.
ReSound offers standard and “fun” colors for their RIC and BTE hearing aids including three versions of digital camouflage designed specifically for the Veterans Health Administration.
The current premium line for ReSound is the Quattro. This is the third iteration of a design that was first introduced in 2014 as the Linx. This was the first Made for iPhone hearing aid. Since then, ReSound has fine-tuned this proven platform. The Quattro is available in all form factors including a superpower BTE called the Enzo Q for people with severe to profound hearing loss. The Quattro line can use either standard zinc-air batteries or a rechargeable lithium-ion system.
The Linx 3D is the immediate predecessor to the Quattro and is, in my experience, very comparable to the Quattro for the majority of patients. This offers an opportunity to save a few dollars without sacrificing quality or functionality.
The 3D is also the first hearing aid to be able to work as part of a “bimodal” system with Cochlear Americas cochlear implant (Nucleus 7 and higher) and BAHA (Bone Anchored Hearing Aid). The ReSound-Cochlear partnership has allowed the sharing of wireless accessories since the Linx 2, but this version allows both devices to stream to a single iOS device (iPhone, iPad).
The ReSound Enzo 3D has the same tech under the hood as the Linx 3D but is specifically designed for those with severe to profound hearing loss.
ReSound also offers an “essential” or entry-level (read lower cost) device called the Enya. This is essentially a “de-featured” Linx-era hearing aids. It has fewer adjustments and less automatic functionality, but is still a very solid hearing aid, especially if coupled with wireless accessories as part of a “system” approach to hearing in complex settings.
The UP Smart is the pediatric version of the Quattro, but it actually has a lot of features well suited for seniors with memory loss.
The standard battery door can be swapped for a tamper-resistant one and there’s a programmable LED indicator that can alert a caregiver that the hearing aids are not functioning.
Like the other devices in this review, the UP Smart is compatible with all ReSound wireless accessories.
Besides the basic hearing aids, ReSound also offers many accessories for its products. They include:
ReSound offers several accessories and apps to go along with its hearing aids. All these accessories operate within a 2.4GHz wireless. This is a very robust and long-range (about 60 feet in most buildings) way to overcome some of the additional challenges of distance, reverberation, and background noise.
These small portable microphones allow you to hear what people are saying when they speak into it. The sound streams directly into your hearing aid The official range is 80 feet, but realistically, I've found that depending on certain environmental factors, they are very reliable up to 60 feet. These remote microphones operate very similarly with a few differences.
The MicroMic has a directional microphone and accelerometer that senses if the microphone is dropped and mutes it before the “clunk” of the floor happens.
The MultiMic is, in my experience, one of the best values in Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT). In addition to the features above, it also allows for manual adjustment of the microphone sensitivity from omnidirectional to ultra-narrow. The accelerometer automatically switches to “omni” when placed on a flat surface. What makes this device one of my favorite hearing system components is that you can use it as a hub for other technologies.
On the bottom of the MultiMic, there are two sockets: One for a standard 3.5mm audio cable (included) and a 3-hold “Euro” jack. These allow you to connect other audio devices to the MultiMic and then stream to your hearing aids.
I’ve used this feature on ReSound hearing aids to allow folks to listen to Mp3 players, hearing assistive devices in theatres or in the case of students, take advantage of FM systems like the Phonak Roger that uses a Euro plug.
As if all that wasn’t enough, the MultiMic also has a telecoil to allow for connection to wide-area “hearing loops” found in auditoriums and houses of worship (see our hearing aid buyers guide for more about this). This is great because even if you have a smaller hearing aid without a telecoil, you can take advantage of this very effective technology for computing distance, reverberation, and background noise.
This device connects to a television or other audio producing device and streams the sound to your hearing aid. It is very easy to connect and supports both analog and digital inputs.
Streaming reduces the negative effects of distance and reverberation on speech understanding. For those with different TV tastes than their partners, MediaStreamer 2 allows you to hear clearly when the TV speakers are very low or even muted.
The current line of ReSound hearing aids stream to iPhones and iPads. If you use an Android phone or tablet, the Phone Link 2 converts the Bluetooth signal from your phone to the 2.4 GHz signal of your hearing aids. This allows you to hear in both hearing aids, hands-free, and also controls the basic functions of the hearing aid.
With this small remote you can adjust hearing aid volume and switch streaming devices. This is extremely helpful for those with dexterity problems or who require assistance in daily living as it allows a caregiver to easily control the hearing aids.
ReSound offers several very helpful applications for both Android and iOS (Apple) portable devices. They range from very simple remote controls to sophisticated tinnitus treatment programs.
Very similar to the basic functions of the Direct Remote 2 on your smartphone.
This easy to use interface is great for not only those with dexterity limitations but also those who may need assistance with their hearing aids including those with memory loss.
This app is like command central for your hearing aids and accessories. In addition to basic volume and program control, this app allows for fine-tuning of noise reduction and pitch control.
If you enable location services, you can “drop a pin” where you’ve fine-tuned and the app will automatically return the instruments to that optimized setting when you arrive at that place.
One of the reasons I really like the ReSound App is that they provide more than one way to access programs and features (buttons, swipes, etc.) To me, this shows that the development team is plugged into non-hearing aid app user experience. This helps more tech-savvy folks easily begin using the app as well as helping new users find a user interface that works for them.
In my practice, this is one of the best and most effective supportive apps for tinnitus. A trial of this app has been part of my standard protocol for tinnitus patients regardless of their hearing aid brand. It’s logical, easy to use and is based on solid tinnitus research very similar to the Progressive Tinnitus Management program developed by the Veterans Administration.
ReSound offers warranty service all over the world. In addition, your hearing care professional can enable Live Assist. This set of tools allows you to report problems to your fitter who can either send you possible changes or offer a live virtual face-to-face appointment. In the COVID-19 era, this is critical, but for many people, an option for remote care is a huge plus.
ReSound has a long history of innovation, quality, and value. In my clinical practice, they have been in my top 3 “go-to” brands, particularly with patients who also need Hearing Assistive Technologies like media streaming and remote microphones. As the first out of the gate with iPhone compatibility, I tend to recommend ReSound first for people needing or wanting that feature. A few of the physical reasons I like ReSound include a good selection of domes, including a “Tulip” dome which I have found to fit almost every ear. The Tulip is especially good for folks who struggle with feedback or movement using typical round domes. They have always been durable and, in the experience of most of my patients, easy to handle. That said, I would recommend the smartphone app for most folks since the on-board buttons are a bit small and the short-press, long-press system has confused a fair number of my patients.
For patients that require or prefer a custom earmold, the ReSound lab does a very good job in both hard and soft materials.
Looking at all of the above, I’m very comfortable saying that those looking for a good quality device and a supportive company should put ReSound on their research short-list.
As a practicing audiologist since the 1990’s, Brad Ingrao, AuD has fitted thousands of hearing aids to seniors and people of all ages. Brad is the Official Audiologist for the International Committee on Sports for the Deaf and a well-known speaker. Dr…. Learn More About Brad Ingrao
Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt