• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 228 other followers

Wireless Microphones for Hearing Aids

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 Wireless Accessories

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.

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

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!

 

Advertisements

15 Responses

  1. Hi Marilyn,

    Good report!

    You would be interested to know that about a month ago my I-com (the Phonak neckloop) failed. It was 5+ years old. Phonak’s offer was to repair it for $190 with a guarantee of 90 days. It turns out that Heather (remember her at the EFCC Seminar) had uncovered one or more brand new, but now out of date, I-Coms hiding somewhere in an upstairs cabinet at their office, so she sold me a brand new one for $190.00! Hopefully it will last another 5 years! Now – if the Zoombrowser (the essential companion) and the hearing aids will just hold out as well!

    I am finding myself using the I-Com and Zoombrowser more and more these days. I’m hoping that they hold out until Android products come on the market to match or outdo Apple.

    See you next Saturday?

    Duke Argabright

    This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it! Psalms 118:24

    • Duke,
      Thanks so much for your comments! What is “Zoombrowser”? I haven’t heard about it and couldn’t find anything about it on the Internet.
      Thanks,
      Marilyn

      • Thank you, Duke for explaining your many assisted listening devices at our HLAA meeting on Saturday. The “Zoombrowser” is the Zoom Link FM system which works with his I-Com. Duke also has a ClearSounds Quattro Bluetooth Neckloop and the Q-Link Bluetooth tranmitter (the original Quattro – not the new 4.0 which I do not recommend!). He plugs the Q-Link into headphone jack of our small, portable PA system. It wirelessly transmits the sound to his neckloop and then to his hearing aids. Love to see someone take advantage of all the devices out there that can help us hear!

  2. I received the following feedback on the Roger system in an email from Al Bowen. Al wears one Phonak hearing aid is awaiting surgery for an Adanced Bionics CI.

    “The Roger receiver on my left hearing aid is not very large at all. It is not any more noticeable than anybody with any BTE H/A. I haven’t seen the size of the Resound or Starkey aids, but I’d have to assume there has to be some kind of receiver incorporated in them that obviously would require space.

    I chose the Advanced Bionics CI over Cochlear America because AB works in conjunction with Phonak, and the Roger system is compatible with the AB CI. Cochlear America will have a system similar to the Phonak roger system, but it is compatible with a different brand hearing aid – Resound. The Cochlear America 2.4 wireless technology is not available for their CI’s yet… they say soon… actually, Phonak has a “generic” Roger receiver that should work in any CI.

    Of course the most important consideration is the quality of sound, and if the device really helps! There is absolutely no doubt that the Roger system is an improvement over the traditional FM system. Without question, I very much prefer the Roger system over the traditional FM. It’s not perfect in noisy situations but, I don’t think there is a solution for high noise levels… it’s better than FM, not perfect. I think the bottom line for me is that I use it much more frequently than I did my FM system. I’m not sure if it’s the ease of use or the quality of sound, but I very much like my Roger system. I’m looking forward to my CI procedure next month. “

    • And here is some more feedback from Al:
      “My son was in town for the past couple of days with his family… we had lunch in a very noisy restaurant yesterday, and my Roger system really worked well… I could carry on a conversation with him and his wife… amazing !!! it doesn’t work as well when it’s a large group of people.. (like 10 sitting having coffee at Starbucks)… I’m anxious to see how it works when I get the second receiver, too !!!! it’s really good right now….

  3. Good information. Thank you for sharing this to us.

    • Should I speak with my daughter’s audiologist about the oticon cinnectline microphone to see if they can order it? My daughter is 4 and I’m wondering if this feature on the device we just received could help when out in noisy areas or at the playground. Im low income so I can’t afford it outright, not unless we wait for tax returns. 😦

      • Valerie, You didn’t mention what “the device we just received” was. I assume your daughter wears Oticon hearing aids and maybe you just received the Streamer (neckloop). No, a wireless microphone would NOT help on the playground! That is for listening to the teacher in the classroom. Sorry, for a noisy playground I don’t have any suggestions. Fortunately, 4 year olds at play manage to communicate with each other despite language differences or hearing problems. Thank you for your question.

  4. […] Resources 1.  My previous blog posts: “T-coil? What’s a T-coil?” “Get Looped” “Get Looped – Part II” “What is a Neckloop?” “Wireless Microphones for Hearing Aids” […]

  5. […] Don’t tell my husband, but I am in love…………..with Roger.  I wrote about “Roger” in a previous post:  Wireless Microphones for Hearing Aids […]

  6. My son is deaf and we have used all three Roger devices: the Remote Mic, the Roger Clip-On Mic, and the Roger Pen. He uses them in school and at restaurants, etc. The power of each of these increases with the price. For instance, the Remote Mic is great for handing to a friend to wear during a personal conversation, on a walk, or in the car. However, as you will notice, it does not have the name “Roger” in front of it, so it is technically not in the Roger family and doesn’t have some of the more robust features that are considered part of the Roger technology. It doesn’t do that well with distance and does not handle background noise that well. That said, though, it is an economical solution if you want to add some clarity to a conversation. The Roger Clip-On Mic incorporates the Roger technology and therefore has a stronger ability to deal with background noise and a better microphone in general. It can be worn on a lanyard or clipped on. It is a very strong mic, however it won’t work through walls or other physical obstacles as does the Roger Pen, the most robust of the three. My son says the Roger Pen can pick up practically anything, is great in the classroom, will work through walls (it’s that strong, similar to the strength of a Roger Inspiro or it’s new sibling, the Roger Touch Screen Mic). If you are new to a cochlear implant, and especially if you have a child with one, these microphones are a real language boost. I noticed with our son that they helped him get over a plateau with one of his later-implanted CIs into more speech recognition and clarity. I think that, just like an FM system, it can add a dB boost of 15-20 decibels which stimulates and stretches the language centers of your brain. If you can hear with more clarity, then you are going to have access to a more robust variety and depth of sounds, which in turn helps impact what you get from your CI. At least, that has been my observation over the last 10 years of using devices like fm systems and these various microphones.

    • A.B. Thank you so much for your comments. Very helpful! I had no idea the Roger Pen could work through walls as an FM system does. And good to know it is working so well for your son in the classroom. It is one thing to read about these devices, but so much better to hear from someone who is actually using them! Many thanks!

      • Thanks, Marilyn – It’s really my pleasure to contribute, especially as your site has shown us such wonderful tips and products that we weren’t aware of :)!
        Also, I forgot to mention that we bought our Roger Pen on the Advanced Bionics Accessories website for $825, so one can find it there for considerably cheaper than Amazon. Here is the link: http://myabaccessories.com/collections/all/products/roger-pen. I don’t believe you have to be an AB customer to order from there, you only have to create an account to place an order (which means supplying a name and email address).
        Also, just to add a little story to my comment about the Roger Pen working through walls — My son had gone to the classroom next door to give a speech to another class. He had left the Roger Pen on the table in his classroom. He had to excuse himself and go back to his classroom to turn it off because he could hear the voices from his classroom through it and he couldn’t concentrate on his speech. We compared this experience to when he has used the Remote Mic, as well as the Roger Clip-On Mic in his dance class and as soon as there was a body or wall in the path of the microphone, the signal would lesson or drop. The instruction manuals actually warn about that potentially happening, and we can verify that it is true. The Roger Clip-On is stronger than the Remote Mic, however neither of them can touch the Roger Pen. I would go so far as to say that it is worth setting up one’s own fundraiser on GoFundMe, and get family & friends to chip in for a collective holiday or birthday present if anyone wants one of these things. 🙂
        Thanks again, Marilyn!

  7. So glad you have found my blog useful! The story about your son leaving the Roger Pen on his desk when going to another classroom reminds me of my “trick” with an FM system. When out to eat with another couple, I like to leave the transmitter on the table and excuse myself to the restroom. When I return and say something like, “Oh, your sister is going to Paris?!” they look at me with wonder! LOL!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: