In my last blog post, I wrote about using an FM system in a yoga class. Although it can be very effective in some limited situations (and certainly was for me!) in general, it is too cumbersome to use in an exercise class. So, now I want to share with you some information about wireless microphones that send the sound to your hearing aids or streaming device. As far as I know, GN Resound and Starkey are the only brands that send sound directly into the hearing aids. If you know of others, please leave a comment!
All the other wireless microphones need an intermediary device such as a neckloop or FM boot. I recommend buying these devices from an audiologist, as most of them need to be programmed to work with your hearing aids, but I have listed prices I saw online, just to get an idea of the cost.
Phonak is the “King” of wireless! They have developed a new technology called “Roger.” See this website for more information about the Roger technology. http://www.fmhearingsystems.co.uk/phonak-roger-vs-phonak-fm/
Roger uses digital modulation (DM). DM is a type of FM system and according to one company, using DM they “…. can get a much larger dynamic range, which makes the sound quality much better and improves intelligibility.” Phonak claims a 54% improvement in listening in noise with the Roger Pen compared with traditional FM systems.
The Roger Pen is expensive! $1,500 on Amazon but it is both an FM system and a Bluetooth Streamer…and more. This video explains more about the Roger Pen.
In addition to the Roger Pen, Phonak has 2 other wireless microphones: the Roger Clip-on Mic. (≈$420), and the Phonak Remote Mic. (≈$200). Phonak also has a whole line of Roger for Education devices.
The Roger Pen and Roger Clip-on Mic must be used with either small Phonak Roger receivers that attach to the hearing aids or cochlear implants (CI’s) or the Roger MyLink neckloop. Some Roger receivers are designed specifically for Phonak hearing aids, but the Roger X is a universal receiver that will work with most hearing aids and CI’s. The Roger MyLink neckloop is a universal Roger receiver compatible with all hearing aids with t-coils. The Phonak Remote Mic works with the ComPilot (neckloop).
GN Resound Unite Mini Microphone ($260 on E-Bay)
The Unite Mini Microphone is a wireless mic that sends the sound directly into the Resound hearing aids. No neckloop or receiver needed. The Unite Mini Microphone is small and can easily be clipped onto the user’s shirt.
Starkey Surflink Mobile ($550 on Amazon) ($650 on ebay)
The Surflink Mobile is a cell phone transmitter, wireless microphone, media streamer, and hearing aid remote all rolled into one. It has built-in directional and omni-directional microphones that send the sound directly into Starkey hearing aids. The Surflink Mobile can be worn around user’s the neck with a lanyard.
Oticon ConnectLine Microphone ($279.99 on Amazon)
The Oticon ConnectLine Microphone does not send sound directly into the hearing aids. The Streamer Pro (neckloop) must be worn with it. The ConnectLine Microphone is small and can easily be clipped onto the user’s shirt.
Siemens VoiceLink Microphone ($175 – $199 online)
The VoiceLink Microphone does not send sound directly into the hearing aids. The MiniTek Streamer must be worn with it. The VoiceLink Lapel Microphone can be clipped onto the user’s shirt, but the attached transmitter would also need to be clipped to a shirt or belt.
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Now, the real question is………..how well do these devices work? I tried the Oticon ConnectLine Microphone about 2 years ago. I was terribly disappointed and ended up returning it as the sound quality was so poor! I recently decided to order it again and give it another try. Maybe mine was defective…or the technology has improved.
Although I became interested in learning more about these microphones to find a good solution for a yoga class (without having a neckloop flopping around during “Downward Facing Dog”!) my real need (and the need for all hard-of-hearing folks) is to find a good solution for noisy restaurants. So, if you have experience with any of these or other wireless microphones, I would LOVE to hear from you. Please write a comment and share your experience! Thank you!