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Turn your iPhone into a Personal Amplifier

Ever get tired of carrying your assisted listening device with you?  I do!  I often go somewhere thinking, “Oh, I won’t need it in this situation.”  Then I get the dirty look from my husband that says, “Why didn’t you bring a listening device?!”  Well, I think I found a  solution.  I always have my iPhone with me.  Your iPhone can become a personal amplifier.  All you need is an external microphone and a recording or amplifying app.

I bought the “Blue Mikey” by Blue Microphones which comes in two versions.  Check here to see which Blue Mikey is compatible with your iPhone.  The mic is small, easy to carry, and can also be used when recording video.

The Blue Mikey plugs into the charging port of the iPhone.  It retails for $99.99 but sells for about $77.00 on Amazon and less on E-Bay.  I use it with an app called “Sound AMP R” which is actually a recording app, but also amplifies the sound.  Other apps that will work with the Blue Mikey are “EARs” or “U-LISTEN.”  You can try these apps without getting an external mic, but I found the sound much better with the Blue Mikey.

Here are some links to learn more about these apps and the Blue Mikey:

Sound AMP R Live Listening

EARs iPhone App Demo Video

U-Listen Sound Amplifier

Blue Microphones Mikey Digital iOS Microphone Overview

The only drawback is that I have to use earphones.  I can’t get it to work with my Bluetooth Streamer or an inductive neckloop. There are other microphones that are less expensive (VeriCorder Mini Mic and Brando Mini Capsule Mic), but they plug into the headphone jack.  So, unless I figure out how to do this with Bluetooth, those microphones would not be useful.

If anyone is successful in using a Bluetooth or inductive neckloop with these apps, please let me know!

5 Responses

  1. I recently purchased one of these too. The sound quality is great. However, though it is a top of the line microphone, I only learned from Blue Microphones customer support after I purchased it, that the microphone does not work with Bluetooth.

    One other thing to note if you are considering getting one, if you have an iPhone 4 or 4s (or 5), you need to make sure you get the newer Blue Mikey Digital, the original Blue Mikey doesn’t work with newer iphones or later IOS.

    There is a way to use simultaneously use headphones and an external microphone that plugs into the headphone jack. You can buy a $15 “Rockit” splitter that allows the phone to handle both. See https://esdevices.com/. This is very handy when using a mic and neckloop.

    Has anyone had much success using live speech over a bluetooth neckloop? There is a delay that is distracting to me in conversation but not bad when I am just listening but not participating in the conversation.

    John Scaife

    • Thanks for the info, John. “live speech over a bluetooth neckloop”? Not sure how that would work. I know Oticon makes a “mini mic” that is supposed to work with the Bluetooth streamer, but I found the sound quality TERRIBLE and returned it. Is this the system you are referring to? Or are there others? I think the ReSound Alera also makes something similar. Which on are you referring to/have you tried?
      Also, good idea about the splitter, but I can’t get my neckloop to work with the Blue Mikey. Did you?

      • Hi Marilyn – I just bought the Clearsounds Quattro Bluetooth Neckloop (http://tinyurl.com/9zyr79u) after I lost the first (non-Bluetooth) one I had from Clearsounds (http://tinyurl.com/bqprv3q). I use this with my iPhone and SoundAmp R. The Bluetooth does introduce a distracting delay but otherwise the sound quality is decent (though not as goog as the wired neckloop).

        So far I have only used my new Blue Mikey with headphones but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work with a wired neckloop if it works with headphones…

        I enjoy reading about your experiences with this new technology!


  2. From the Field!
    I field tested this Blue Mikey/iPhone set-up recently and it worked very well! That mike is really powerful. I went to a Comedy Club. Loud music was blaring in the background as we waited for the show to start. I slipped the phone into my husband’s shirt pocket and angled the microphone up towards his mouth. Worked great! Of course, it helped that we were seated side-by-side. When someone 2 seats away from me wanted to chat, I just aimed the mike at him and could hear over all that noise! Woo-hoo!
    I did end up getting my neckloop to work, but felt the sound was better with an earphone. I wear BTE/RIE (behind-the-ear/receiver-in-the-ear) hearing aids and can put a mini-earphone into my ear on top of the hearing aid. Just wanted to share the results of my experiment.

  3. Forgot to say that I used it with the app called EARs. I like that better than the others as it is loud and easy to use.

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