Phonak Roger On™ – Microphone Transmitter – Review
I own a pair of Phonak Marvel M90 which I purchased in Nov 2019 from RJD Hearing Care at Cleckheaton. At a…
Oticon and Android
Can the Oticon More (and Oticon Real) be used with an android phone? Well, yes, they can. A good Bluetooth connection to a phone is important to many people for steaming audio generally and for clarity of hearing during phone conversations. All this works fine on an Android phone with Oticon More. As an Android user I went ahead and chose Oticon More knowing they are “made for iPhone” hearing aids but I did so because after trying others these were by far the best at improving my hearing. The quality of hearing comes first for me.
The Oticon App – Oticon Companion
The Companion app is the same on both Android and iPhone. The first Bluetooth pairing of the aids with your phone must be done through the Companion app.
At first glance, it may seem a rather limited app. I moved over to Oticon from Phonak so my first impression was that the Oticon companion seems to offer far less functionality and control over the hearing aids than the Phonak app does. But because the Oticon hearing aids themselves are so very clever I found that I no longer needed to switch programs and settings in the way the Phonak app allows, settings such as for in a restaurant, or a car, or a crowded environment, etc. I came to realize the Oticon app simply doesn’t need all that level of control. Those settings and that functionality is just not needed in the app. Oticon More does so much automatically.
Android and iPhone – the difference
There is a big difference between how the aids integrate with Android and iPhone. Firstly, the Companion app works on Android phone in pretty much the same way it does on an iPhone. Once the aids are paired you must load or launch the app each time you want to use it, It will connect with the aids at each launch (might be a bit of a wait) and it will run in the background. On Android, as it’s running in the background, you will be offered a very small letterbox menu that you can get to by swiping down from the top of the screen. There you may choose from volume levels and the programs in your aids. It is a very minimal menu. When the Companion app is closed, and stops running, this very small letterbox shortcut is gone too.
Although he Companion app works pretty much the same way in iPhone as in Android there is a huge difference in iPhone because even without launching the Companion app the hearing aids, once paired, are integrated and controls are always available whenever the aids are switched on. When users swipe down on the top right of an iPhone screen a menu of shortcuts is available. Here a shortcut for hearing aid controls is added. It is a box with the symbol of an ear in it (see the screenshot). This shortcut is always running without the Companion app needing to be launched.
Tapping the ear box opens up a full display of options for the hearing aids. There is information, background sounds and also of course the fantastic Listen Live function which only available on iPhone. None of that is available with the android phone. Listen Live turns the phone in to a remote microphone that can be placed at the centre of a table or held by somebody in a car when travelling in car or other noisy environment. So many uses!
To answer phone calls on an iPhone without taking the phone out of pocket of bag (not likely to get snatched then) a short press on any of the buttons on the aids does it and a longer press ends the call. To enable this function you to into the settings. See the screenshot. It is Setting/Accessibility/Touch/Call Audio Routing and in there you select Bluetooth headset” as that is what your aids are acting as then.
GH (product tester), Jan. 2024
Oticon Real 1 R & Phonak Audeo Lumity 90 R
Day one – 11th July
Phonak Audeo Lumity 90: At start sounded a little tinny compared with Oticon Real. However…
Phonak Paradise hearing aids can connect directly to Bluetooth-enabled devices, giving them the ability to receive and play streamed audio. They behave in the same manner as Bluetooth-enabled headphones.
Report on Starkey Livio Edge AI 2400, November 2021
Sometimes the memories/programs would change spontaneously. Sometimes only one side changed and I would need to change programs to get them both back to normal.
Every 5-10 minutes they have a 3 second cut out. I have wondered if it is when they are adapting to changing situations when in auto (what they call “Normal”).
I run, and when running they sometimes think the vibration (I have touch sensitivity set to min) is a double tap so I hear the voice repeatedly telling me that they have gone back to the normal program as they switch between Edge and Normal.
After streaming sometimes only one side goes back to normal. I would need to change programs to get them both back to normal.
Bluetooth connection is generally hit and miss. I lost count of the times I had to get it back by rebooting the phone after switching Bluetooth off and on did not solve the problem.
Eventually the stopped streaming phone calls. I have switched Bluetooth on and off, restarted phone, unpaired and repaired (twice). Uninstalled app then reinstalled. They continue to stream radio, YouTube, Google maps satnav, etc, but no phone calls. On the phone screen during a phone call the symbol tells me the phone is streaming the call to the hearing aids but nothing is coming through.
Eventually, all the problems undermined my confidence in the Livio Edge AI 2400 generally and especially on aids that are so reliant on an app.
Comfort and Fit
The body of the P30 re-chargeable aids is compact, but wider than 312 battery aids. The difference in size isn’t large, but it is significant when the aids are vying for space with spectacles and facemask loops.
The size S domes on M receivers were easy to insert in my ear canals. My LH ear canal is narrow, and the dome on that side feels a bit uncomfortable at times. Phonak don’t make domes smaller than size S.
Ease of use
Full control of the aids is possible using the smartphone app. It is easy to use and has a comprehensive set of functions.
Volume and program changes can be made using the up/down buttons on the aids. It is easy to get it wrong, because the buttons are small and fiddly to use.
Notification of changes made is by a series of beeps. The volume change beeps are logical. Program identification is made by remembering how many beeps are associated with each program, which is confusing.
I did not find it easy to control the Phonak aids without using the smartphone app. The design intention seems to be that the aids would normally be controlled using the app, the assumption being that everybody is in possession of a smartphone and would want to use it to control their hearing aids. That isn’t the case with me and there must be other people who don’t expect, or want, to use a phone to control their aids. The ability to control hearing aids without using a smartphone shouldn’t be overlooked.
Phonak P30s are bright sounding aids. I think that the brightness enhances understanding of speech.
The aids amplify head sounds such as breathing and chewing. I found it disconcerting at first, but I quickly got used to it.
I noticed that the head sound amplification was reduced when I removed my spectacles. I think that the wider, slightly resonant, body of the aids, contacts the arms of my spectacles, transferring head sounds to the microphones.
The Feedback Manager is very effective. Its operation is audible on higher frequency sounds, but it is not an issue in most listening situations.
I used the Universal program most of the time, but I also used Music with Feedback Manager and Music without Feedback Manager.
The Universal program worked well. My understanding of speech was good, including TV dialogue. Some sounds, such as those generated by cutlery on crockery, or running water, were accentuated, whereas others, such as the sound from a car engine, were subdued.
I did not find the Universal program to be good for listening to music. The operation of the Feedback Manager interferes with notes in the higher register adding an unpleasant tremolo effect to single notes. Chordal sounds are smeared in the treble. The effect was also present to a lesser extent with the Music with Feedback Manager program. The effect was not there with the Music without Feedback Manager program, which sounded quite good. Feedback was an issue, but the problem was reduced by lowering the volume of the aids.
Phonak Paradise aids will stream from any Bluetooth 4 or 5 enabled sending device, not just phones. There is a low level of background hiss. Sound quality is very good, and treble sounds aren’t affected by the Feedback manager.
I paired the aids with my Android phone, my Windows tablet, and a desktop PC. Pairing was simple enough.
The streaming feature was useful for taking calls, but I was particularly interested in how the aids would sound with streamed music. The track that I used for testing was Madeleine Peyroux’s version of Careless Love
I played an 835kbps FLAC CD rip and a 262kbps m4a version of the track, using both the phone and the tablet. There was little or no difference in sound quality between the phone and the tablet.
Background hiss was audible, but it wasn’t intrusive. The sound of both versions of the track was good, the better quality of the uncompressed version of the track being detectable. The drums and Hammond Organ came across particularly strongly, but the double bass sound lacked body and resonance. Madeleine Peyroux’s voice sounded good, but lacked some of its timbre.
Listening to streamed music through aids is a different experience from listening through Hi-Fi speakers. Bass notes are clear and well defined through aids, but lack body and resonance. Treble sounds are bright and clear. The overall sound is lively and listenable.
Charger and Charging
The charger unit is a rounded clamshell design with a shiny finish. A degree of dexterity is required to open the charger and insert the aids, but different from that required to insert a new battery in non-rechargeable aids. Insertion and removal of the aids is easy enough.
The Cambridge dictionary defines paradise as:
A place or condition of great happiness where everything is exactly as you would like it to be.
P30s are excellent hearing aids, but Phonak have got a fair bit of development work to do if their Paradise range of hearing aids is to live up to its name.
The Phonak P30 Hearing aids were lent to me for testing by Mr Robert Donnan, of RJD Hearing Care, Cleckheaton.